June 21, 2022


Constructors: Rafael Musa & Brooke Husic

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
SAUCY SANTANA (17A: "Material Girl" rapper)
CHEEKY UNDERWEAR (34A: Bottoms style in between a thong and full-coverage)
FRESH PRODUCE (47A: Fruits and veggies at a farmers market)

Theme synopsis: The FRONT (first) word of each theme answer is a synonym for FLIP: SAUCY, CHEEKY, FRESH.

And now a word from our constructors:
Rafa: I’ve been trying to get 17-Across into a puzzle for a while, and I’m so glad I brought Brooke on board to develop this theme set!! I love every single long answer in this puzzle and Brooke’s incredible clue for 36-Down.
Brooke: I absolutely adore this puzzle for all the reasons Rafa mentioned (and because we made it together)! We packed so much stuff we were excited about into the grid and had an extremely fun time cluing -- my other favorite clues are 13a, 41a, 5d, 26d, and Rafa's amazing 22d fill+clue pair.

Things I learned:
  • SAUCY SANTANA (17A: "Material Girl" rapper) SAUCY SANTANA has been a recurring guest on the reality TV series, Love & Hip Hop: Miami. His song, "Material Girl" went viral on TikTok last year. People used the song to highlight their luxurious lifestyle (or sometimes their lack of such lifestyle). Feeling a little old today, as my first thought here was Madonna, which obviously didn't fit. Madonna's "Material Girl" was released my sophomore year of college (1984). Of his version of "Material Girl," SAUCY SANTANA says, "I want to show everybody that they can be how they want to be."
  • INS (41A: The Biloxi wade-___) The Biloxi wade-INS were civil rights protests held between 1959 and 1963 on the beaches of Biloxi, Mississippi. The wade-INS were aimed at desegregating the city's Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches, and were led by Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. The beaches were not desegregated until 1968.
  • K-DRAMA (53A: Show such as "Where Your Eyes Linger") A K-DRAMA, or Korean DRAMA, is a TV series made in South Korea, with dialogue in the Korean language. Where Your Eyes Linger is a K-DRAMA that was released on Netflix and other streaming services in 2020.
  • KAT (63A: Actress Graham) KAT Graham's film debut was in the 1998 remake, The Parent Trap. She played the role of Jackie (a friend of Annie's at camp). In the TV series, The Vampire Diaries, she played the role of Bonnie Bennett, a role that won her a Teen Choice Award for "Choice TV Female Scene Stealer." In the 2017 biographical movie about Tupac Shakur, All Eyez on Me, KAT Graham played the role of Jada Pinkett Smith.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • BAKER (13A: Person making alfajores) Alfajores are sweets made of flour, honey, dulce de leche (caramelized milk), and nuts. The treat originated in Spain, and is popular in many South American countries. If you'd like to be a home BAKER and make these sandwich cookies, here's one recipe for alfajores.
  • AERO (15A: Prefix with "mexico" or "space") AEROMéxico is an airline carrier based in Mexico City, Mexico. My son studied AEROspace engineering in college, and I never get tired of jokes such as "AEROspace engineering - it's not rocket science. Oh, wait, yes it is."
  • ABBY (25A: CNN anchor Phillip) I have previously written about ABBY Phillip.
  • CHEEKY UNDERWEAR (34A: Bottoms style in between a thong and full-coverage) Not being up on undergarment terminology, this answer took some uncovering... 
  • POEM (59A: "___ in Praise of Menstruation" (Clifton work)) Lucille Clifton's "POEM in Praise of Menstruation" appeared in The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton. The POEM begins with the line, "if there is a river / more beautiful than this."
  • ACE UMBRELLA (3D: A gray sexual person falls under it) If you're interested in learning more about gray sexuality and the ACE UMBRELLA, here's a resource from The Trevor Project
  • AKA (8D: Sorority symbolized by the ivy leaf) Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) was the first historically Black American sorority. AKA was founded in 1908 at Howard University. As the clue informs us, the sorority's symbol is the ivy leaf.
  • EEL (36D: The Abaia is a giant magical one that protects lakes) Abaia is a magical EEL in Melanesian mythology. (Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania that includes the countries of Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea, as well as parts of Indonesia.) According to the myths, Abaia lives at the bottom of freshwater lakes, where it protects the fish and other creatures living there by using its tail to create huge waves when the creatures are threatened.
  • ROE (55D: Tobiko or caviar) Tobiko refers to ROE that comes from flying fish. Caviar traditionally refers to ROE from wild sturgeon, though the term may also be used to describe ROE from other fish such as salmon, trout, or carp.
At the risk of being FLIP, what a SAUCY, CHEEKY, FRESH puzzle serving up a synonym theme today! I enjoyed this a lot. MAKE IT QUICK and PRAY FOR ME are delightful long answers. Thank you, Rafa and Brooke for this breezy puzzle that was a playful way to begin my Tuesday.