March 16, 2022


Constructor: Malaika Handa

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
ETSY SHOPS (17A: Where some artists sell their goods online)
FANTASY SUITE (38A: Romantic room in "The Bachelorette)
BUSY SEASON (64A: Time of year with increased sales)

Theme synopsis: EMBEDDED in each theme answer is the abbreviation for SYSTEM (SYS).

Things I learned:
  • LSD (17A: "Flying Over Sunset" drug) Flying Over Sunset is a musical that premiered on Broadway in 2021. The show is an imagined account of a meeting between Aldous Huxley, Clare Boothe Luce, and Cary Grant, who all used LSD.
  • SOUPS (43A: Three grand ___ (term that includes borscht and tom yum)) Although I hadn't heard of three grand SOUPS, it was easy to infer from the hint of "borscht and tom yum." My first thought on reading this clue was, "Oh, c'mon puzzle, it's not fair to tell me about three grand SOUPS and only tell me two of them!" Well, funny thing about that... "Three grand SOUPS" is a common term in Japan that refers to types of SOUPS thought to be the best in the world. However, three grand SOUPS is a misleading term, because there are actually four SOUPS on this list. This is because borscht and tom yum are considered to be tied for third place. The other two SOUPS on the list are bouillabaisse and shark fin soup.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • SCAR (1A: "Be Prepared" singer in "The Lion King") Elton John and Tim Rice wrote the music and lyrics, respectively, for "Be Prepared." In the 1994 animated movie, The Lion King, SCAR, the narcissistic antagonist (and Simba's uncle), sings "Be Prepared" as he recruits the hyenas to assist him with his evil plans. 
  • ETSY SHOPS (17A: Where some artists sell their goods online) We often see ETSY in the puzzles, so I paused for a moment when I saw that the answer was longer than four letters. It didn't take long to come up with the answer though. Fun to see the expanded version for a change.
  • FANTASY SUITE (38A: Romantic room in "The Bachelorette) I'm not sure I've actually seen an episode of The Bachelorette (or The Bachelor), but I've listened to it from the other room as my husband and daughter watched it together. I've also seen plenty of comments and articles about the show online over the years. Therefore, it was pretty easy to come up with FANTASY SUITE once I had a few letters filled in from crossing answers. The FANTASY SUITE on The Bachelorette is the one opportunity for the show's lead to spend time with contestants off-camera. (Apparently, though, the producers are never far away.)
  • PEEPS (41A: Marshmallow chicks that were recreated on "Gourmet Makes") Gourmet Makes is a Bon App├ętit YouTube series in which chef Claire Saffitz attempts to recreate popular snack foods. In addition to the PEEPS episode, there are episodes featuring Sour Patch Kids, Twix, Doritos, and many other popular snack foods.
  • LAVA (62A: "Floor is ___") I have previously written about Floor is LAVA, a Netflix show based on the children's game of pretending the floor is LAVA. 
  • EVE (10D: "Killing ___" (Sandra Oh show)) Killing EVE is a British TV series about investigator EVE Polastri, who is tracking the psychopathic assassin, Villanelle. Sandra Oh plays the role of EVE, and Jodie Comer plays Villanelle.
  • GOD (22D: "Are You There ___? It's Me, Margaret.") Are You There, GOD? It's Me, Margaret. is a 1970 book by Judy Blume. The title character is a sixth-grade girl exploring religion, puberty, buying bras, and her first period. Somewhere on my bookshelves, I have my copy of this book, purchased with my own money from a Scholastic book order when I was in elementary school. Good memories.
  • MESSI (33D: Soccer star Lionel) Lionel MESSI captains the Argentina national soccer team, and since 2021, plays for the French team, Paris Saint-Germain. Interestingly, being European, Lionel MESSI would refer to himself as a footballer, rather than a soccer player.
  • FESTIVAL (38D: Holi or Diwali, e.g.) HOLI is a Hindu FESTIVAL celebrating the end of winter and the arrival of spring, as well as the divine love of Radha Krishna. This year Holi will be celebrated in just a couple of days, on March 18. Diwali is the Hindu FESTIVAL of lights celebrated during the Hindu month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).
  • PARSLEY (41D: Chimichurri herb) Chimichurri is a condiment made of oregano, PARSLEY, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.
  • ALISON (49D: "Community" actress Brie) Community is a TV sitcom about life at a community college. ALISON Brie plays the role of student Annie Edison.
  • GET OUT (50D: 2017 Kaluuya horror film) I first learned about the horror movie, GET OUT, from the June 27, 2020 puzzle. Directed by Jordan Peele, the movie is about Black people trapped in a trance-like state when their bodies are taken over by white hosts. Daniel Kaluuya plays the role of Chris Washington, a Black photographer invited to meet the family of his white girlfriend.
  • ALL (63D: "Y'all means ___" (rhyming campaign)) "Y'all means ALL" is a campaign launched by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) during Pride Month in 2020. 

    Geography review:

    • PISA (14A: Leaning tower city) PISA, Italy is home to the famous leaning bell tower.
    • STL (18D: Missouri city, for short) St. Louis, Missouri, STL for short, is located on the eastern edge of Missouri along the Mississippi River. Appropriate to have a clue about Missouri today, as I'm headed there (though not to STL) right after I finish writing this to visit family for a couple of days.
    Today's title let me know just what to expect theme-wise. Filling in ETSY SHOPS confirmed my guess. In addition to the theme, I enjoyed the upper right and lower left corners of the puzzle with columns of nice long down answers such as LATTE ART, LIME TREE, FESTIVAL, and EDUCATE. The clue for YELL (70A: TALK LIKE THIS) made me smile. This puzzle was a great way to begin my Wednesday.