Title: JOKE AROUND
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Erik Agard
JESSICA RABBIT (18A: Toon who said "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.")
JUST TRY YOUR BEST (35A: "Don't worry if it's not perfect")
JEWELRY HEIST (52A: Doris Payne job)
Theme synopsis: The word JEST is found AROUND (on the outer edges of) each theme answer.
Things I learned:
- JEWELRY HEIST (52A: Doris Payne job) Doris Payne is currently 91 years old; she has been stealing JEWELRY for over seven decades. She tells of her life and JEWELRY HEISTs in her 2019 memoir, Diamond Doris. A 2013 documentary, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne, also tells her story. This History article gives an overview of Doris Payne's life.
- JADE (35D: Gua sha material) Gua sha is a traditional Chinese therapy in which a trained professional uses smooth-edged tools, often made of JADE, to scrape and rub your skin to improve circulation.
- URL (37D: www.forthegworls.party is one) For the Gworls is a Black, trans-led collective that hosts monthly parties to raise money to help "Black trans people pay for their rent and gender-affirming surgeries."
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- CHARD (14A: Veggie rich in vitamin K) In humans, vitamin K plays an important role in the process of blood clotting. It is also helps with bone metabolism and regulating blood calcium levels. Green leafy vegetables, such as CHARD, kale, or spinach tend to be vitamin K-rich.
- JESSICA RABBIT (18A: Toon who said "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.") JESSICA RABBIT is a character from the 1988 live-action/animated movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In the movie, toons and people co-exist in a 1947 version of Hollywood. I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit when it first came out, and easily filled in this answer. I imagine people younger than me might have needed some help from crossing answers.
- ROLE (40A: Maria Vasquez, for Rachel Zegler) Rachel Zegler plays the role of Maria Vasquez in the 2021 musical movie West Side Story.
- MAE (48A: Comedian Martin) MAE Martin co-wrote and stars in the semi-autobiographical TV series, Feel Good. MAE Martin stars as themself in the romantic comedy, and Charlotte Ritchie stars as MAE's girlfriend, George.
- LIVES (63A: A cat is said to have nine) Hopefully Willow still has most of her nine LIVES. As she does most mornings, she helped me write the blog this morning, including
- WOMEN (1D: The main characters in "Her Story," for example) Her Story is a 2016 web series that tells the story of two transgender WOMEN living in Los Angeles.
- EYESIGHT (3D: What glasses correct) This answer is timely, as I have an appointment to get my EYESIGHT checked today.
- LISA (5D: Actress Lu) LISA Lu played the role of Shang Su Yi, the matriarch of the family (Nick's grandmother), in the 2018 movie, Crazy Rich Asians. She also played the role of An-Mei Hsu in the 1993 movie, The Joy Luck Club.
- PBS (34D: "American Masters" network) American Masters is a PBS series producing biographies of writers, artists, musicians, dramatists, and filmmakers. The first American Masters show was a special that aired in 1985 titled, Aaron Copland: A Self Portrait.
- FLA (44A: Tampa's state (Abbr.) Tampa is located on the western edge of Florida (FLA), with coastline on the Gulf of Mexico.
- CST (50A: Wichita time zone) Wichita is the largest city in Kansas. It is on Central Standard Time (CST). Coincidentally, I was in Wichita, Kansas just a few days ago; my husband and I spent the night there as we were traveling home from our vacation.
- OPERA (60A: Shanghai ___ House) The Shanghai OPERA House is a western-style OPERA company in Shanghai, China.
- THAIS (8D: Chiang Mai residents) Chiang Mai is a province in northern Thailand, and also the name of a city in the province. The city of Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand.
- EAST (9D: Oregon-to-Idaho direction) If you travel EAST from Oregon you will find yourself in Idaho. If you travel north from Oregon, you will find yourself in Washington (with the exception of the far northeast corner of Oregon, where traveling north will take you into Idaho). Traveling south from Oregon will take you to California or Nevada. If you travel west from Oregon, you will end up in the Pacific Ocean.
- BAJA (12D: Tijuana, ___ California) BAJA California is the northernmost and westernmost of Mexico's 32 states. Tijuana, BAJA California is across the United States-Mexico border from San Diego, California. Many years ago when I was in college, I was visiting some friends in San Diego, and we took a day trip to Tijuana. That trip has the distinction of being my first time traveling outside of the United States.
- HURON (30D: One of the Great Lakes) Look at this, a Great Lake other than Lake Erie in the crossword! (We have seen Lake HURON in the puzzle before.) Lake HURON, the second largest of the Great Lakes by surface area, lies between the U.S. state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario.
I'd say this puzzle doesn't JOKE AROUND, but it actually does. A fun theme, and I also found it interesting that we just saw JEST clued as [Joke around] in yesterday's puzzle. I liked the long down answers of KEY LIME PIE, PLEASE DO, and SLEEP TIGHT. All kidding aside, this puzzle was a lovely way to begin my Wednesday.