February 25, 2022


Constructor: Claire Rimkus

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
WATERY EYED (17A: Teary)
WYNONNA EARP (39A: WayHaught's TV show)
WIND ENERGY (62A: Alternative to solar power)

Theme synopsis: In each theme answer, the first word begins with a W, and the second word begins with an E, meaning WE STARTED THIS.

And now a word from our constructor: 
Claire: I'm excited to be back in the USA Today, and I had a lot of fun making this. My favorite clue is 43-Down, and I always love being able to fit a 39-Across reference into a puzzle.
I've spent the past few months working on These Puzzles Fund Abortion Too, a puzzle pack (featuring many names that will be familiar to regular solvers of the USA Today crossword!) that will raise money for seven different abortion funds. Please check out our website for more info. Our donation page is going live very soon, and I can't wait to for you to solve these fantastic reproductive-justice-themed puzzles while we fundraise for much-needed access to safe, affordable abortion.

Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • REN (23A: ___ Faire) A REN Faire is a festival that loosely recreates a historical setting. If you are interested in finding a REN Faire near you, check out The RENlist.
  • EVE (29A: Nochebuena, for example) Nochebuena, meaning "good night," is the Spanish word used to refer to Christmas EVE.
  • AEIOU (36A: Sequence contained by the word "facetious") A word or phrase that contains all five vowels, exactly one time each, is referred to as supervocalic. The word facetious is an especially nice supervocalic, because the vowels AEIOU appear in order.
  • WYNONNA EARP (39A: WayHaught's TV show) WYNONNA EARP is a TV show described as a supernatural Western horror series. (I haven't seen the show, but that's a heck of a genre description!) The title character, WYNONNA EARP, (Melanie Scrofano) is the great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt EARP. She inherits a special power to send revenants (animated corpses) back to the dead. WayHaught is the relationship name for two of the characters on the show. Waverly EARP (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) is WYNONNA EARP's younger half-sister. Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell) is a deputy sheriff of Ghost River County. Together they are Wayhaught. The show has been praised for its portrayal of Wayhaught
  • OPERA (59A: "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" is one) I have previously written about Fire Shut Up in My Bones, an OPERA based on a 2014 memoir of the same name by Charles M. Blow.
  • WIND ENERGY (62A: Alternative to solar power) WIND ENERGY is a major source of energy in Iowa, accounting for over 57% of the state's total generated electricity. The five U.S. states with the most WIND ENERGY capacity are Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois.
  • SNOWS (69A: Winter precipitations) Well, this is a timely answer, since my next activity after blogging is shoveling SNOW. I'm excited about that, actually. SNOWS are pretty, and I'm a fan.
  • HOWARD (1D: University in D.C.) HOWARD University, an HBCU (historically black college and university) in Washington, D.C. was founded 1867. HOWARD alumni include Vice President Kamala Harris, and authors Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison.
  • LATINO (3D: Like many telenovela actors) A telenovela is a type of TV soap drama produced primarily in Latin America.
  • ICE AGE (8D: Animated movie franchise with a weasel named Buck) Although I have never seen the 2002 animated movie ICE AGE, or any of the sequels, I have learned from previous crosswords that they feature a squirrel named Scrat (Chris Wedge), an aging sloth named Granny (Wanda Sykes), and a wooly mammoth named Manny (Ray Romano). I now know about the one-eyed weasel named Buck, voiced by Simon Pegg. Buck is the title character of the latest movie in the ICE AGE franchise, released in January of this year, The ICE AGE Adventures of Buck Wild.
  • MULAN (28D: Legendary warrior Hua ___) Hua MULAN is a legendary folk heroine of Chinese history. Disney's 1998 animated movie, MULAN, is based on the legend of Hua MULAN.
  • WHODUNIT (39D: "Clue" genre) The WHODUNIT is my favorite genre of movie, and the 1985 movie Clue, based on my favorite board game and featuring three possible endings, is a classic.
  • SHARKS (43D: Animals that have existed longer than trees) This is a fun fact and a great clue! SHARKS have existed for over 455 million years! I have mentioned before that our family has not had a TV for many years. Therefore, most of our TV viewing occurs when we are on vacation. This was a treat when our kids were growing up. For several years, our family vacations coincidentally happened to be during Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Our family has, therefore, watched a lot of shows about SHARKS, and it's a bit of a family joke. "We're going on vacation. Is it SHARK Week?"

    Geography review:

    • RENO (61A: City near Lake Tahoe) Located in the northwest part of Nevada, near Lake Tahoe and the Nevada-California border, RENO is known for its casino and tourism industry, and is nicknamed "The Biggest Little City in the World."
    • NORTH (35D: Part of Philly that Jill Scott is from) Although the exact boundaries of the area are somewhat vague, NORTH Philly, as you would expect, refers to an area in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Singer, songwriter, and actress Jill Scott grew up in NORTH Philly. Speaking of Jill Scott, she now hosts a podcast titled Jill Scott Presents: J.ill the Podcast.
    • PERU (60D: Country where ceviche originated) Ceviche, a dish that originated in PERU, as the clue tells us, is fish marinated in citrus juice. The citrus juice - usually lemon or lime - denatures the protein in the seafood, making it appear cooked. Mark your calendars to celebrate National Ceviche Day on June 28. 
    Well, I for one am glad WE STARTED THIS. A fun initial theme here with interesting theme answers. In addition to the theme and the answers I've already highlighted, I liked the answers, CALLED UP, IT'S OVER, and SCALENE. This puzzle did not induce YAWNS; it was a fabulous way to begin my Friday.
    I am glad Claire mentioned the puzzle pack, These Puzzles Fund Abortion Too, which will be available in a few days. Through this project, you can support reproductive rights and enjoy fantastic puzzles - that's a win/win. I solved last year's puzzle pack in one enjoyable afternoon, and am looking forward to this year's puzzles!