April 1, 2022


Constructors: Erik Agard & Jasmine Lim

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
BRING IT ON (16A: 2000 movie with a "Brr! It's cold in here!" routine)
MAURITANIA (27A: Birthplace of Mamoudou Athie)
PARTISAN DISPUTE (46A: Political squabble)
HARMONICA MUSIC (60A: Tunes played with a mouth organ)

Theme synopsis: I don't know. *Edited on April 2: Each theme answer contains the last name of an author. The authors are: Celeste NG, Amy TAN, George SAND, and Albert CAMUS. *Edited on April 3: Each author's name has the letter I as BOOKENDS. (See below for more thoughts.)

Things I learned:
  • BRING IT ON (16A: 2000 movie with a "Brr! It's cold in here!" routine) BRING IT ON is a 2000 movie centered on a high school cheerleading team preparing for a national competition. Here's a video clip of the "Brr! It's cold in here!" routine.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • DUPED (1A: Deceived) I can't decide if DUPED is an auspicious or an ominous start to a puzzle on April Fool's Day.
  • GRAY (13A: Actor Matthew ___ Gubler) Matthew GRAY Gubler played the role of Dr. Spencer Reid in the TV series, Criminal Minds. He also voiced the role of Simon in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. 
  • CANOE (35A: Boat such as a Maori waka) Waka is the Polynesian word for CANOE. The Māori, the indigenous people of mainland New Zealand, made wakas of varying sizes - small CANOEs for fishing, and large decorated was CANOEs, known as waka taua.
  • SHOUT (64A: "You know you make me wanna ___" (Isley Brothers lyric)) The song, "SHOUT," recorded by the Isley Brothers in 1959, and including the lyrics, "You know you make me wanna SHOUT," was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Thanks for the earworm, puzzle!
  • PAGE TURNER (3D: Exciting book) I originally thought that PAGE TURNER was a nice bonus in a puzzle titled BOOKENDS, but since I was unable to discover the puzzle's theme, I have no idea whether that's true!
  • GREEN (13D: Middle color on the agender pride flag) The agender pride flag has seven horizontal stripes: two black stripes, two gray stripes, two white stripes, and a GREEN stripe in the center.
  • I'VE (28D: "___ Been to the Mountaintop" (MLK speech)) I'VE Been to the Mountaintop was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last speech. It was delivered at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968, the day before MLK was assassinated.
  • MAPO (39D: ___ tofu) MAPO tofu is a spicy dish made of tofu, doubt (fermented broad bean and chili paste), and douchi (fermented black beans).
  • ASA (41D: "Sex Education" star Butterfield) Sex Education is a Netflix TV series centered on the lives of the students, staff, and parents at Moordale Secondary School. ASA Butterfield plays the role of Otis Milburn, a teenager that gives sex advice to other students.
  • TRUMAN (47D: ___ the Tiger (Mizzou mascot)) I had a moment of panic when I read this clue, and couldn't immediately think of the answer. I went to high school in Columbia, Missouri, home of the University of Missouri, aka Mizzou. And my daughter is a Mizzou alum, as are my sister and her husband, and my brother. I should know this answer! And I did...it just took me a moment to remember. Whew! TRUMAN the Tiger is named after President Harry S. TRUMAN, who was from Missouri. 
  • INTO (48D: "___ the Thick of It") "INTO the Thick of It" is a song from the animated children's TV series, The Backyardigans, a fact I learned the last time we saw this clue.
  • SHE'S (54D: "___ the Man" (2006 movie)) SHE'S the Man is a teen comedy about a teenager that attends her brother's boarding school in his place, pretending to be a boy so she can play soccer. Amanda Byrnes plays the role of Viola Hastings.

    Geography review:

    • MAURITANIA (27A: Birthplace of Mamoudou Athie) Mauritania is a country in Northwest Africa with coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. Its neighbors are Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali, and Senegal. The capital of MAURITANIA is Nouakchott. As the clue tells us, MAURITANIA is the birthplace of Mamoudou Athie. The actor's film credits include The Circle, The Frontrunner, and the upcoming Jurassic World Dominion. When Mamoudou Athie was six months old, his father, who was a diplomat, received political asylum in the United States.
    • DURHAM (1D: Duke University's city) Duke University is located in DURHAM, North Carolina. Duke University was founded 70 miles west of DURHAM, in present-day Trinity, North Carolina. The school, which has had multiple names over the years, was moved to DURHAM in 1894; it was named Trinity College at the time. In 1924, the school was renamed Duke University when James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment to honor his father, Washington Duke.
    • ALA (36D: State west of Georgia (Abbr.)) In addition to ALAbama, Georgia's other neighbors are Tennessee and North Carolina (to the north), South Carolina (to the southeast), and Florida (to the south). Georgia also has coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
    • KENTUCKY (38D: The Bourbon Trail's state) The KENTUCKY Bourbon Trail is a program that promotes the Bourbon whiskey industry in KENTUCKY. 
    Well, I admit to being stumped on today's theme. I have alternated between feeling we've been DUPED, and in honor of April Fool's Day there is no theme, and thinking there must be something extremely clever I'm overlooking. If you have discovered the theme, please let me know and I'll update this post! Other than that minor detail, there was plenty to enjoy in the puzzle. I liked SKYCAM, SURMISE, and CONTEST. It's also Jasmine Lim's debut, so congratulations! This puzzle was an interesting way to begin my Friday. I believe I'll go have an OREO. CIAO!

    Edited on April 2: Thank you to Kate Chin Park who alerted me to the theme, which she learned from Alex Boisvert. In hindsight I see it easily, though yesterday, the only author I saw was CAMUS, and so I was unable to make it into a theme! As I admitted to Kate, I’m a little bit embarrassed, since I’ve read some of these authors. So it appears that there is a theme, and the April Fool’s joke was simply my inability to see it. Nice to have this mystery solved.

    Edited on April 3: Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, it suddenly occurred to me that each author's name has the letter I on each side of it...like BOOKENDS. Now I'm wondering if there's some other aspect of the theme that I'm missing? The theme that keeps on giving!


    1. I don't get it either. The April Fools thing crossed my mind too, but why call it "Bookends"? I'm about to give up thinking about it. :/


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