Title: FAMILY FIRST
Constructors: Elizabeth Goodney & Hoang-Kim Vu
Editor: Erik Agard
GRANULATED SUGAR (16A: Refined baking ingredient)
PATATAS BRAVAS (24A: Dish that may be served alongside tortilla espanola)
SISTINE CHAPEL (40A: Its chimney is watched for papal news)
BROKE INTO A SWEAT (53A: Started to perspire)
Theme synopsis: A nickname for a FAMILY member appears at the start (FIRST) of each theme answer. Our puzzle FAMILY includes GRAN, PA, SIS, and BRO.
And now a word from our constructors:
Beth: This is my first crossword puzzle ever! I signed up for the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory mentorship on a little bit of a whim after solving crossword puzzles for years. As a queer woman it felt really welcoming and was super easy as a process - I think it’s such a great model for taking action to diversify a field. Kim has been wildly patient and helpful and it was super fun working together on this. A fave clue is 5-Down since snowcation is a fun word in and of itself to me. Also, into 42-Down since it reminds me of reading to my kiddo.
Kim: Beth is being very modest. This was one of the first theme ideas she came to me with, and she was a real natural in terms of finding really fun fill for this grid. A pleasure to bring you the first of hopefully many Beth Goodney puzzles!
Things I learned:
- OLE (32A: Cheer after a nutmeg) In soccer, a nutmeg refers to kicking the ball through an opponent's legs, either as a pass to your teammate, or maintaining possession of the ball yourself. Although the exact origin of the use of the term nutmeg isn't known, the Diary of a Word Nerd blog provides several theories. Add the term nutmeg to the list of sports information I've learned from crosswords!
- RAP (44A: Cakes da Killa genre) RAP artist, Cakes da Killa's music contains elements of hip hop, house, and electronic dance music. According to his website, Cakes da Killa "is a leading figure of the queer hip-hop explosion of 2011."
- TPED (60A: Teleported, for short) In online gaming, the abbreviation TP is used to refer to a character's ability to teleport instantaneously from one location to another. This meaning of the abbreviation TPED was new to me.
- ALAN (27D: Radiology pioneer ___ L. Hart) Dr. ALAN L. Hart (1890-1962) was a pioneer in the field of radiology, specifically in the use of chest x-rays to detect tuberculosis. He was also one of the first trans men in the U.S. to undergo a hysterectomy as gender-confirming surgery. This Scientific American article provides an overview of his life, and the challenges he faced.
- SPAS (29D: Jjimjibangs, for example) Jjimjibangs are public bathhouses, or SPAS, in South Korea.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- UCLA (13A: Abdul-Jabbar's alma mater) Former professional basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attended UCLA from 1966-1969. Here's a fun story I learned about his college career: During his freshman year, he played on UCLA's freshman basketball team rather than on the varsity team. (Freshman weren't eligible to play varsity until 1972.) That year, for the first time in UCLA history, during the annual freshman-varsity exhibition game, the freshman won 75-60. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. at the time) scored 31 points and made 21 rebounds during the game.
- GRANULATED SUGAR (16A: Refined baking ingredient) GRANULATED SUGAR is cane or beet SUGAR that has been refined to remove the molasses.
- PATATAS BRAVAS (24A: Dish that may be served alongside tortilla espanola) PATATAS BRAVAS is a dish of fried potatoes served in a spicy sauce. Tortilla espanola, also known as a Spanish omelette, is made with eggs and potatoes. Both of these dishes are often served as tapas. This clue/answer made me smile, because when it comes to tapas, PATATAS BRAVAS is my favorite, and tortilla espanola is my daughter's favorite.
- ANT (37A: Bug in a supercolony) In the realm of ANT colonies, a supercolony occurs when many separate ANT colonies unite over a large area. One supercolony of ANTS, discovered in Japan, had underground passages covering an area of 670 acres, and was estimated to contain over 300 million ANTs.
- DACA (38A: Immigration policy introduced in 2012, for short) DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an immigration policy that allows some undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to receive deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
- SISTINE CHAPEL (40A: Its chimney is watched for papal news) During a papal conclave convened to elect a pope, after each election the ballots are burned. Black smoke emerging from a temporary chimney on the roof of the SISTINE CHAPEL indicates a failed election. The emergence of white smoke indicates a new pope has been elected.
- MUGS (1D: Hot cocoa holders) I am a collector of MUGS. It brings me joy
- ABUELA (9D: Alma, to Mirabel, in "Encanto") ABUELA is the Spanish word for "grandmother." Fun to see the Spanish version of GRAN as a bonus to today's FAMILY FIRST theme. Also, I recommend the animated movie, Encanto, if you haven't seen it yet.
- HAROLD (42D: Purple crayon user in kidlit) HAROLD and the Purple Crayon is a 1955 children's book by Crockett Johnson. The four-year-old HAROLD creates his world by drawing it with a purple crayon. There are several books in this series, and it has been adapted to a TV series. Movie and musical adaptations of HAROLD and the Purple Crayon are in the works.
- ERIE (47D: Southernmost of the Great Lakes) In addition to being the southernmost of the Great Lakes, Lake ERIE is also the shallowest and the smallest by volume. It's been a slow month for our crossword-friend ERIE; this is only its second appearance this month. We saw ERIE five times last month.
I enjoyed this FAMILY FIRST theme in which the theme uses only part of the first word of each theme answer. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that at first I tried to shorten PATATAS BRAVAS to "PATA" and couldn't figure out what family member that was a nickname for...oh, wait. I then had an "AHA moment." (See yesterday's write-up.) Other answers I especially liked: CAN I TALK, CHALET, SAD FACE, and TWEENS. Congratulations to Beth Goodney on her crossword puzzle debut! This puzzle was a delightful way to begin my Monday.