April 25, 2022


Constructor: Rafael Musa

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
GENDER EUPHORIA (20A: Feeling of joy that might be caused by a haircut or new pronouns)
GENERAL ELECTION (35A: Political contest after a primary)
GENTLE REMINDER (49A: Way to kindly jog someone's memory)

Theme synopsis: The FIRST three letters of each theme answer are GEN.

Things I learned:
  • ANNE (13A: Actress Curtis) ANNE Curtis is a Filipina-Australian actress. She is also a recording artist, and has hosted the Philippine reality music competition shows, I Love OPM and We Love OPM. ANNE Curtis is one of the top Instagram users in the Philippines; her account has over 17 million followers.
  • HARRY (41A: Actress Jackee) Jackée HARRY played the roles of Sandra Clark on the sitcom, 227, and Lisa Landry on the TV series, Sister, Sister. Since March 2021, she has played the role of Paulina Price on the soap opera, Days of Our Lives.
  • LAY (37D: "(___ Your Head on My) Pillow" "(LAY Your Head on My) Pillow" is a 1994 song by the R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné! The music video for the song featured the group's members appearing nude. The group said the video was a response to criticism of male actors for sexually objectifying women in music videos. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • GENDER EUPHORIA (20A: Feeling of joy that might be caused by a haircut or new pronouns) GENDER EUPHORIA is defined as a happy feeling experienced when one is referred to, or seen as, a GENDER that matches their GENDER identity. 
  • SERIES (23A: World ___ of Poker) The World SERIES of Poker is held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. 
  • CHER (61A: "Believe" pop star) "Believe" is the title-track of CHER's 1998 album. The song is one of the top-selling singles of all time. 
  • TEXAS (47D: Black Trans ___ Connection (Houston-based org.)) Black Trans TEXAS Connection is a grass roots organization based in Houston. Through emergency relief grants and support services, they assist Black Trans women experiencing displacement. They also operate a safe house for Black Trans Women called The Thrive House.
  • HRT (22D: Part of some transitions) HRT stands for hormone replacement therapy, which is a part of transitioning for some transgender people. I thought the intersection of HRT with GENDER EUPHORIA was especially appropriate.
  • AMOR (28D: "Te quiero, me ___") "Te quiero, me AMOR," is Spanish for, "I love you, my love." Anyone else have a warm fuzzy feeling from this clue/answer?
  • REPO (31D: Directory where coding projects live, for short) REPO in this usage stands for repository. I learned this usage of the word from the March 8, 2021 puzzle
  • GUAC (49D: Dip made with a molcajete, for short) A molcajete and tejolote are stone tools similar to a mortar and pestle. They are used for grinding and preparing food, such as guacamole, or GUAC, for short.
  • RAIN (53D: "Drop everything now / Meet me in the pouring ___" (Taylor Swift lyric)) This lyric is from Taylor Swift's 2011 song, "Sparks Fly," from her Speak Now album. I was grateful to encounter this clue/answer, as it usurped the earworm that ensued after filling in KNEES (7D: "Head, Shoulders, ___ and Toes").

    Geography review:

    • OSLO (1A: Norway's capital) OSLO, Norway has been a city since 1040, but has been known by a variety of names: Ánslo (initially), Christiania (after being rebuilt following a 1624 fire), Kristiania, and OSLO (since 1925).
    • UTAH (54A: Zion National Park's state) Zion National Park is located in the southwest corner of UTAH. Zion is one of the five National Parks my husband and I visited on our recent vacation.
      Zion National Park

      It was a return visit for me, although it had been 44 years since I had last been there! A prominent feature of the park is Zion Canyon with its reddish and tan sandstone walls. There's also an amazing 1.1 mile tunnel in the park that was constructed in 1930. Cars were narrower then, so traffic is monitored now to allow only one direction of traffic to travel through the tunnel at a time. This is a great opportunity for a Geography Quiz! (It's actually one we've done before, so if you're a regular reader, it will test your memory...) Zion National Park is one of five National Parks in UTAH. Can you name the other four? The answer will be at the bottom of this post.
    • OLAF (56A: St. ___, Minnesota) I'm not sure whether this should be in the "Geography Review" section, because St. OLAF, Minnesota is not a real place! St. OLAF, Minnesota is a fictional town often referred to on the TV series, The Golden Girls, as the hometown of Betty White's character, Rose Nylund. There is a St. OLAF township in Minnesota, and a St. OLAF College in Northfield, Minnesota. I initially fell into this clue's trap and filled in "Paul" as the answer, leading to quite a bit of confusion in that lower right corner.
    • DRIER (21D: Like Nevada as compared to Louisiana) The second state in this clue could have been any state, and the clue would still be accurate. Nevada is the driest state in the United States, mostly consisting of desert and regions with a semi-arid climate.
    • DELHI (48D: Home to Jawaharial Nehru University) Jawaharial Nehru University, located in New DELHI, India, was established in 1969, and named after India's first Prime Minister. 
    When I saw the puzzles title, I thought the theme answers might be related to Generations, and it was fun to discover I was wrong. A delightful set of FIRST GEN answers here. I like the grid shape as well, with those "steps" of black squares. Also enjoyable: OPEN ENDED, STARE DOWN, and EXISTS. This puzzle was a fabulous way to begin my Monday.

    Geography Quiz Answer: The five National Parks in UTAH are Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. I have visited them all. They each have their own unique features making them amazing places to explore.