July 11, 2022


Constructor: Sara Cantor

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
SECOND HONEYMOON (17A: Sequel to a romantic getaway)
FOURTH WALL (26A: What a character breaks when they talk directly to the audience)
SIXTH SENSE (44A: Special intuition)
EIGHTH GRADE (59A: 2018 coming-of-age film starring Elsie Fisher)

Theme synopsis: The first words of the theme answers are EVEN ordinal numbers: SECOND, FOURTH, SIXTH, and EIGHTH.

Things I learned:
  • DEAN (21A: Sylvia Rivera Law Project founder Spade) The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) seeks "to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming." DEAN Spade founded SRLP in 2002. DEAN Spade is a trans activist, writer, lawyer, and Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law. The SRLP is named for Sylvia Rivera, who I have written about previously.
  • TAKE TEA (25D: Have an Earl Grey break) Although TEA is my beverage of choice, I was unfamiliar with this phrase, and originally tried "TAKE ten." The phrase, "TAKE TEA," is commonly used in Britain, and may refer not only to drinking TEA, but to sharing afternoon TEA or high TEA with someone. 
  • ROE (30D: Key ingredient in taramasalata) Taramasalata is a dish made from salted and cured ROE (from cod or carp) mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, and a base of potatoes, bread, or almonds. It is often served as a spread on bread. Taramasalata originated from Greece.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • SALEH (1A: "Sex Education" actor Dua) Sex Education is a Netflix TV series following the happenings at the fictional Moordale Secondary School. Beginning in the third season, Dua SALEH has appeared in a recurring role, playing the character Cal Bowman, a non-binary student at Moordale who moved from Minneapolis. (Dua SALEH grew up in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.) I first learned about Dua SALEH from the July 27, 2021 puzzle. Dua SALEH is non-binary and uses HE/THEY (46D: Pronoun pair) pronouns.
  • GATO (53A: Cat, in Spanish) Mi GATO, Willow, tiene sueƱo. (My cat, Willow, is sleepy.)
    Mi GATO
  • EIGHTH GRADE (59A: 2018 coming-of-age film starring Elsie Fisher) In the movie, EIGHTH GRADE, Elsie Fisher plays Kayla Day, a middle school student who struggles with anxiety.
  • ELIE (63A: Designer Saab) I have previously written about ELIE Saab.
  • LOCS (3D: Hairstyle that might be freeform) LOCS are a style of braided or twisted hair. Freeform LOCS refer to LOCS that have formed naturally.
  • EMO (4D: Sleeping With Sirens genre) There are a limited number of three-letter music genres (EMO and rap), so even if you are unfamiliar with the band Sleeping With Sirens, your chances of finding the right answer are pretty good. The latest album from Sleeping With Sirens is titled How It Feels to Be Lost
  • OSHA (6D: Workplace watchdog org.) On a recent trip to St. Louis, I visited the Gateway Arch with a couple of friends, and we watched a documentary about the Arch's construction (1963-1965). The Arch is quite a construction feat, and the film was fascinating, but we all commented that this was obviously before OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). There was not a safety harness in sight, and workers were smoking while standing on the scaffolding hundreds of feet off the ground. Amazingly, no construction workers died during the building of the Arch. OSHA, in its current form, was formed in 1971, after President Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law the previous year.
  • MAMMALS (10D: What humans, horses and hamsters all are) Humans, horses, and hamsters...oh my! I enjoyed the choice of alliterative examples for this clue.
  • OBOES (11D: Instruments used for tuning) At the beginning of an orchestra or concert, one of the OBOES will play a long, sustained A, and the rest of the orchestra will tune to that note. The oboist will use an electronic tuner in order to give the correct pitch. There are many theories about why OBOES are the instrument of choice for orchestral tuning, but the most likely explanation is that it's tradition.
  • Y'ALL (19D: Word similar to yinz) Yinz and Y'ALL are second-person plural pronouns. Their usage tends to be regional. Yinz, which may have derived from "yous ones," is prominently used in Pittsburgh. Y'ALL, derived from "you all," is ubiquitous in the southern United States.
  • DOS (35D: Uno + uno) and OCTET (48D: Group four times the size of a duo) A lovely pair of EVEN bonuses.
  • LEE (57D: "The Try Guys" member Eugene ___ Yang) I have previously written about The Try Guys, a group consisting of Eugene LEE Yang, Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, and Zach Kornfeld. (A quartet...appropriate for today's theme!) As their name suggest, The Try Guys attempt various things, and make videos about their experiences.
As I was writing about this puzzle, I had the thought that it would have been amazing if the puzzle had run yesterday...on the tenth. However, this puzzle is a great one for any day. Fabulous theme answers, and nice that there were four of them. In addition to the answers I've already highlighted, I enjoyed ROUGH and BAGGY side-by-side, HOUSE SIT, and REHASH. Thank you, Sara, for this puzzle that was a great way to begin my Monday.


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