March 22, 2022


Constructor: Claire Rimkus

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
CASASIDE (15A: Discard)
FAST FASHION (28A: Inexpensive, trendy clothing industry)
WASTE BASKET (44A: Trash receptacle)
EASY PEASY (61A: "Piece of cake!")

Theme synopsis: The word AS is found hidden in both of the words of each theme answer, making the theme answers TWICE AS FUN.

Things I learned:
  • THAI (18A: Like Krabi-Krabong) Krabi-Krabong is a THAI weapon-based martial art. It is named for its main weapons, the THAI sword (krabi) and staff (krabong).
  • SWING (51A: Dance style for Norma Miller) Norma Miller was known as the "Queen of SWING." When she was 14 years old (in 1934), she became the youngest member of the professional SWING dancing group, Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. Norma Miller died in 2019, at the age of 99.
  • SEA (4D: Nudibranch's habitat) The Nudibranch is a variety of SEA slug, a boneless, soft-bodied mollusk. Nudibranchs are often brightly colored and patterned. Their color is a defense mechanism, warning predators that they taste terrible. Many nudibranchs emit toxic compounds they extract from their prey. These creatures come in many different shapes, and they range in size from 0.16 inch to over 23 inches. Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites, each individual produces both sperm and eggs. I am happy to learn about the nudibranch, and I could probably write about this fascinating creature - whose name means "naked gill" - all day! Instead, I recommend this Hakai magazine article that includes lots of pictures. 
  • KELSEY (46D: Plum of the WNBA) KELSEY Plum is a professional basketball player for WNBA's Las Vegas Aces. She represented Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics (held in 2021), winning a gold medal in Women's 3x3 basketball. In 2021, KELSEY Plum won WNBA's Sixth Woman of the Year Award, an honor given to the league's most valuable player coming off the bench as a substitute.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ARE (5A: "We ___ Never Meeting in Real Life" (Samantha Irby book)) I have previously written about comedian and author Samantha Irby, who I thought I was learning about for the first time, and while researching her realized I'd purchased one of her books! This time, I remembered that I know who she is. We ARE Never Meeting in Real Life is Samantha Irby's 2017 book of essays. (This is not the book I bought; that was Wow, No Thank You.) I like this clue because even if a solver is unfamiliar with this book and/or author, the answer is inferable. 
  • TEEN (19A: Many a "Never Have I Ever" character) Never Have I Ever is a TEEN drama. The TV series, which debuted on Netflix in 2020, centers on the life of 15-year-old Devi Vishwakumar, played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. Devi is dealing with grief after the sudden death of her father, her Indian-American identity, and high school. The character of Devi is based on Mindy Kaling, who created the series with Lang Fisher.
  • FAST FASHION (28A: Inexpensive, trendy clothing industry) The term FAST FASHION refers to a business model in the clothing industry that replicates high-FASHION designs seen on the catwalk, and mass-produces them at low cost, usually from low-quality materials. FAST FASHION became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The popularity of FAST FASHION has raised concerns about its sustainability and long-term effects on the environment.
  • RUN (35A: Compete like Sha'Carri Richardson) Sha'Carri Richardson is a track and field sprinter. She RUNs the 100 and 200 meters, and is currently the sixth fastest woman. 
  • PETE (39A: Name hidden in "puppeteer") This is the first of two hidden word clues. I like these types of clues. Maybe someday I'll make a super easy crossword with all hidden word clues.
  • ALY (41A: ___ & AJ (pop duo)) I learned about the pop duo ALY & AJ (sisters Alyson and Amanda Michalka) from the May 19, 2021 puzzle. Today I learned that in 2009, ALY & AJ renamed themselves 78violet, but in 2015 they returned to using the name ALY & AJ.
  • EWES (49A: Animals hidden backward in "cheese wedge") Where are the EWES? Oh no, they're back in the cheese wedge! (I assume the cheese is feta...)
  • ROSA (2D: "On the Bus With ___ Parks" (Rita Dove book)) On the Bus with ROSA Parks is a book of poems by Pulitzer-Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Rita Dove. 
  • HEALTH APP (8D: Flo or Headspace, e.g.) The HEALTH APP Flo is a period tracker and ovulation and pregnancy calendar. Headspace is a meditation and sleep APP.
  • CHER (10D: "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" actress) In the 2018 jukebox musical movie, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, CHER plays the grandmother of Amanda Seyfried's character, Sophie. 
  • NEEDY (32D: Like pets that demand every second of your attention)
    This definitely describes Willow! In fact, my husband and I have nicknamed Willow, "NEEDY kitty." Willow's favorite place is on my lap, but often if she thinks I'm not paying enough attention to her, she'll climb behind my back, lean up against me and rest her head on my shoulder.

    Geography review:

    • DELHI (14A: Indian metropolis) The official name of this metropolis is the National Capital Territory of DELHI. It is a city, but also a territory that contains the capital of India, New DELHI.
    A tricky theme, highlighting the two-letter word in the title. After I had two theme answers filled in - CAST ASIDE and FAST FASHION - I paused and stared at them, trying to figure out the theme. A nice "Aha!" moment AS I spotted it. I liked a lot of the clues today, though my favorite may be SENTENCES (34D: They're separated by periods). Well, I also liked the clue for PUN (62D: "Math is as easy as pi!" e.g.) I do enjoy a good PUN clue. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Tuesday.