Title: TOP GENRES
Constructor: Brooke Husic
Editor: Amanda Rafkin
POP AND LOCK (2D: Breakdance style)
ROCK SOLID (16D: Super reliable)
SOUL MATES (23D: Ideal matches)
BLUES CLUES (29D: Educational show with a trail of pawprints)
Theme synopsis: The first (TOP) word of each vertical theme answer is a music GENRE. Today's TOP GENRES are POP, ROCK, SOUL, and BLUES.
And now a word from our constructor:
Brooke: I love music in crossword puzzles and I'm happy to have a musical theme as well as some musical references in the fill, like at 52A, 25D, and 59D. Hope you enjoy it!
Things I learned:
- THE (4D: McGowan collection "I am ___ Rage") Martina McGowan describes herself as "Physician. Poet. Writer. Artist. Speaker. Lifelong learner." I am THE Rage is her debut poetry collection, published in 2021. An excerpt: "I am THE rage, roiling just beneath the surface / I am the dream deferred / Again / I am the promises kneaded and repeated / But never kept."
- TLINGIT (5D: Elizabeth Peratrovich's nation) Elizabeth Peratrovich (1911-1958) was a civil rights activist whose testimony is credited as a key factor in the passage of the Alaska Equal Rights Act of 1945. As the clue informs us, Elizabeth Peratrovich was a member of the TLINGIT nation. She has been honored for her work for equality for Alaska native people: February 16 is Elizabeth Peratrovich Day in Alaska, the U.S. Mint has released a one dollar gold coin with her likeness, and she has been the subject of a Google Doodle.
- TRE (59D: Choreographer Armstrong) TRÉ Armstrong is an actress, choreographer, and dancer. She has worked with Rihanna, Missy Elliot, and Hilary Duff, as well as other celebrities. TRÉ Armstrong was a judge on So You think You Can Dance Canada.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- TWO (5A: Number that's "dos" in Spanish) and ONE (63A: Number that's "yi" in Mandarin) I liked the echoing of the clue pattern in these TWO number clues.
- SRS (23A: Tone tag that's an abbreviation of "serious") A tone tag, or tone indicator, is used in text messaging to explicitly indicate the intent of the message.
- ALTOS (32A: Anita Baker and Sade, range-wise) Anita Baker's hits include the Grammy-award winning R&B hit, "Sweet Love." Sade's hits include the Grammy-award winning song, "Soldier of Love."
- CLOSURE (37A: Sense of resolution) This wasn't clued as a musical clue, but after I solved this puzzle, I had Taylor Swift's song, "CLOSURE," going through my head. All it took was one word! "Yes, I got your letter / Yes, I'm doing better / I know that it's over / I don't need your CLOSURE (your CLOSURE)."
- QIXI (44A: ___ Festival (annual romantic celebration)) The QIXI Festival is sometimes referred to as Chinese Valentine's Day. I learned about the QIXI Festival from a crossword puzzle a few months ago.
- I CAN'T (52A: "___ Get Next to You" (Temptations hit)) The Temptations released "I CAN'T Get Next to You" in 1969. The song became the group's second number one single on the Billboard charts. (Their first number-one hit was "My Girl.")
- POP AND LOCK (2D: Breakdance style) I was able to fill this answer in immediately, having just learned about POP AND LOCK when it was a theme answer a couple of weeks ago.
- NYE (14D: Poet Naomi Shihab ___) Naomi Shihab NYE was the Young People's Poet Laureate (a designation of the Poetry Foundation) from 2019-2021. I first learned about Naomi Shihab NYE from the December 22, 2020 puzzle.
- IT'S (25D: "Lay back, ___ all been done before") This lyric is from Avril Lavigne's 2002 song, "Complicated."
- EARS (30D: Long features of Gulabi goats) Gulabi goats, also called Pateri goats, are a popular breed of goat in the Middle East. They are also kept as pets in the United States. Gulabi goats are known for their long, droopy EARS.
- MONTREAL (50A: Quebec city home to the Canadiens) The MONTREAL Canadiens, whose official name is le Club de hockey Canadien, are a professional ice hockey team. The team was founded in 1909, and became part of the National Hockey League (NHL) in its inaugural season in 1917. The MONTREAL Canadiens are the longest continuously operating professional ice hockey team.
- QATAR (44A: Arabian country with the newspaper The Peninsula) QATAR is a country located on the QATAR Peninsula. The QATAR peninsula is in Western Asia on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Most of QATAR is surrounded by the Persian Gulf; the country shares its sole land border with Saudi Arabia. The capital of QATAR is Doha.
So many delightful music references today, both in the theme and the fill, made this an enjoyable solve. The two grid-spanning Across entries were also great: PEPPERMINT CANDY and SOCIAL CONSTRUCT. Thank you, Brooke, for this puzzle that was a great way to begin my Saturday.