March 2, 2022


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
VELCRO STRAP (17A: Adaptive clothing fastener)
VICIOUS GOSSIP (34A: Spiteful rumors)
VEGETABLE SOUP (57A: Gazpacho or minestrone, for example)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer begins with the letter V and ends with the letter P. Therefore, each answer PARTs a VP (SECOND in command).

Things I learned:
  • OPERA (15A: "Song From the Uproar" is one) Song From the Uproar is a one-ACT (60D: Part of a play) OPERA by Missy Mazzoli. It premiered in 2012 at The Kitchen in New York City. The OPERA is a multimedia production based on the life of early-20th-century explorer Isabelle Eberhardt. 
  • FAST (26A: Like Shinkansen trains) The Shinkansen is a network of high-speed railways in Japan. Some of the Shinkansen trains travel at speeds of 200 mph. That's FAST! 
  • SONS (37D: MLK, Malcolm X and James Baldwin, in "The Three Mothers") The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation is a 2021 book by Anna Malaika Tubbs. The book takes a look at the lives of three Black women whose SONS have been written about extensively, while they have remained largely unknown. Although I was not familiar with this book, its title provided the hint I needed to fill in the answer. (See yesterday's discussion about clues that provide hints to help solvers be successful.)
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • CAPER (6A: Tartar sauce ingredient) A CAPER is an edible flower bud of the CAPER bush, also known as Flinders rose. The fruits of the bush are referred to as CAPER berries. CAPERs are added to mayonnaise, along with pickles and herbs, to make Tartar sauce.
  • NET (11A: Lobster hoop attachment) Lobster hoop NETs are often used from piers and jetties. The hoops lay at the bottom of the ocean, with bait in the middle. They are then pulled up quickly, trapping the lobsters in the NET.
  • IBIS (33A: Bird associated with Thoth) I have previously written about the IBIS and its association with Thoth.
  • RINDS (40A: Yuzu parts) Yuzu is a citrus fruit cultivated mainly in East Asia. Yuzu is rarely eaten as a fruit, but its RINDS and juice are used in ways similar to lemon juice and RINDS.
  • TILDA (3D: "I Am Love" actress Swinton) I Am Love is a 2009 film set in Milan. The movie is the story of the wealthy Recchi family, a family based on the Castellini Baldissera family. The Castellini Baldissera's family properties were used as the movie's set, and some of the family make cameo appearances. TILDA Swinton played the role of Emma Recchi.
  • OKRA (5D: Pods paired well with natto) Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soy beans. The pairing of OKRA and natto may be eaten as a topping for rice, noodles, or tofu.
  • ARE (47D: "How ___ you doing today?") I am hanging in there, puzzle. Thanks for asking.
  • HE'S (49D: ___ Just Not That Into You") HE'S Just Not That Into You is a 2009 movie based on a 2004 self-help book of the same name by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. 
  • OGRE (52D: Fergus, Farkle or Felicia, e.g.) In the Shrek movie franchise, Fergus, Farkle, and Felicia are the OGRE triplets of Shrek and Fiona. The triplets appear in the movies Shrek the Third (2007) and Shrek Forever After (2010), and in the TV specials Shrek the Halls (2007) and Scared Shrekless (2010).

    Geography review:

    • COSTA (6D: ___ Rican) COSTA Rica is a country in Central America. Its neighboring countries are Nicaragua and Panama, and it has coastline on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The capital of COSTA Rica is San José.
    • NAIROBI (11D: Capital city with a Maasai name) NAIROBI is the capital of Kenya, and its largest city. The NAIROBI River flows through the city, and the city's name is from the Massai phrase "Enkare NAIROBI," which translates to "cool water." Massai is the language of the Massai people, an ethnic group in Kenya and northern Tanzania.
    • BOLOGNA (43D: Deli meat named for an Italian city) BOLOGNA is a city in Northern Italy. It is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna administrative region of Italy. BOLOGNA is also the name of the  deli meat made of seasoned pork sausage that originated in the city. When I was a kid, there was a commercial that taught us all how to spell BOLOGNA. I put that knowledge to good use today.
    I appreciate the creative title of this puzzle. I like how SECOND PART describes the role of a VP, and also describes what happens in each theme answer. When I filled in VELCRO STRAP, I thought we might have an anagram theme, as coincidentally, the last PART of that theme answer is an anagram of PART. When I uncovered VICIOUS GOSSIP, I knew I was on the wrong track, but then noticed the common beginning and ending letters of the theme answers. Clever. In addition to those answers I've already highlighted, I also liked EGO TRIP, DEEP RED, PILATES, and I'M NERVOUS. This puzzle was a great way to begin my Wednesday.