February 24, 2022


Constructors: Emily Sharp & Kunal Nabar

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
CENSUS BUREAU (20A: Agency whose data determines a state's representative count)
BUS BOYCOTTS (37A: Civil rights campaigns in Montgomery (1955-56) and Tallahassee (1956))
STIMULUS BILL (54A: Piece of legislation intended to spur the economy)

Theme synopsis: The two words of each theme answer have a USB CONNECTION.

Things I learned:
  • VIET (9A: Novelist ___ Thanh Nguyen) VIET Thanh Nguyen's debut novel, The Sympathizer, was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2016 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. The sequel to The Sympathizer, titled The Committed, was released in March 2021. VIET Thanh Nguyen was born in South Vietnam. He and his family came to the United States as refugees in 1975. VIET Thanh Nguyen is a professor at the University of Southern California.
  • HALL (64A: Jazz singer Adelaide) Adelaide HALL's musical career spanned eight decades, which earned her an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records as "the most durable recording artist."  She was influential in the Harlem Renaissance, and performed with Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, and Lena Horne, as well as other well-known artists. In 1927 she recorded the song, "Creole Love Call," with Duke Ellington. The song has become a jazz standard. Adelaide HALL died in 1993 at the age of 92.
  • DOUG (35D: Cartoon character who had a crush on Patti Mayonnaise) This is a reference to the animated TV series, DOUG, which originally aired on Nickelodeon (seasons 1-4) and then ABC (seasons 5-7) from 1991-1999. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • CENSUS BUREAU (20A: Agency whose data determines a state's representative count) The U.S. CENSUS BUREAU is part of the Department of Commerce. The BUREAU conducts a CENSUS every ten years. As the clue indicates, the result of the CENSUS determine the allocation of the seats of the House of Representatives.
  • ROSE MILK (31A: Floral dairy drink) Pink in color, ROSE MILK is made by flavoring MILK with ROSE syrup. The drink may be sweetened by the addition of sugar. 
  • DONOR (35A: Bone marrow offerer) I liked this take on cluing DONOR. Be the Match is one organization working to match bone marrow DONORs and recipients. 
  • BUS BOYCOTTS (37A: Civil rights campaigns in Montgomery (1955-56) and Tallahassee (1956)) The BUS BOYCOTTS in Montgomery, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida were protests against racial segregation policies. I've provided links if you'd like to refresh your memory about the details of these events.
  • TRUCE (43A: Ideal result of a peace talk) This is a poignant answer today. My thoughts are with the people in the Ukraine. It's hard to read/watch the news, and feel helpless.
  • POE (52A: BB-8's owner Dameron) BB-8 is a Star Wars droid who first appeared, along with POE Dameron (played by Oscar Isaac) in the 2015 movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • NASCAR (1D: Danica Patrick's org.) Danica Patrick is a former professional racing driver, and the only woman to have won an IndyCar Series race. It might surprise you that I knew this sports answer. I learned about Danica Patrick when she was a guest on NPR's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me in 2019. Her interview is delightful, and I recommend listening to it.
  • TOFU (7D: Douhua ingredient) Douhua is a snack originating in China. It is made with tender TOFU. Softer than silken TOFU, douhua is sometimes referred to as TOFU pudding.
  • LSU (30D: Sch. in Baton Rouge) Louisiana State University (LSU) is a public land-grant university in Baton Rouge. In a link to another answer in today's puzzle, the main LSU campus is located on the banks of the MISSISSIPPI River.
  • SOO (33D: Phillipa of "Over the Moon") Over the Moon is a 2020 animated musical movie. Phillipa SOO voices Chang'e, a mythical Moon goddess. Over the Moon was written by Audrey Wells, and it was the last movie she worked on before her death; the movie is dedicated to her memory. In addition to her work on Over the Moon, Phillipa SOO is known for originating the role of Eliza Hamilton in the Broadway musical, Hamilton
  • TAO (40D: ___ Te Ching) The TAO Te Ching is a fundamental text for Taoism.

    Geography review:

    • DAKAR (51A: Capital of Senegal) DAKAR, is located on the western edge of Senegal, along the Atlantic coast, and is the westernmost city on the African mainland.
    • MISSISSIPPI (26D: State whose name comes from the Ojibwe word for "Great River") Appropriately, the "Great River," the MISSISSIPPI River, defines the western border of the state of MISSISSIPPI. The capital of MISSISSIPPI is Jackson.
    • LAX (60D: SoCal airport) The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) serves Los Angeles, California and the surrounding area. It is the second busiest airport in the United States. The busiest U.S. airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
    Unlike my real-life experience with USB CONNECTIONs, I managed to get the USB placed correctly in each theme answer on the first try! A delightful theme today with a solid and interesting set of theme answers. The long vertical answers of BOUNCED BACK and MISSISSIPPI are delightful bonuses. I laughed at the great clue for VACUUM (9D: Sucky appliance). This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Thursday.


    1. I agree about "TRUCE (43A: Ideal result of a peace talk)" in today's puzzle. It's a very difficult and sad day indeed. Thank you for mentioning it in your Take.

      But, I too LOL'd at "VACUUM (9D: Sucky appliance)" - one of the funniest clues I've seen. :)


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