August 29, 2022


Constructor: Ada Nicolle

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
WITH TIME TO SPARE (18A: Earlier than required)
MIXED METAPHOR (32A: "You can put all your eggs in one basket, but you can't make them drink," e.g.)
SHIVER ME TIMBERS (48A: Pirate's "Holy Smokes!")

Theme synopsis: The word MET is found IN THE MIDDLE of each theme answer (and IN THE MIDDLE columns of the puzzle.

Things I learned:
  • CBS (9A: "Young Sheldon" network) Young Sheldon is a CBS TV series that premiered in 2017. It is a spin-off prequel to The Big Bang Theory. Set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the show follows Sheldon Cooper (who has a genius level IQ of 187, but a lack of social skills) as he grows up. In the first season of Young Sheldon, the title character is nine years old and in high school. I rarely know which network shows are on; these types of clues have me relying on crossing answers.
  • EZRA (56A: "Girl Baby" singer Michel) EZRA Michel's 2021 song, "Girl Baby," is about a child assigned female at birth who grows into their nonbinary identity and is accepted by their parents. EZRA Michel is a trans man, and his music explores the subjects of gender and expression. The music video for "Girl Baby" (which was directed by Bob the Drag Queen whom I wrote about in July) features an all transgender cast.
  • IEL (19D: Gender-neutral French pronoun) The gender-neutral pronoun "IEL" (pronounced like "yell") is a combination of the French words "il" (he) and "elle" (she). Though the use of IEL dates back to the 2010s, the word was just added to a major French dictionary, Le Robert, in 2021. This article has some interesting information about the evolution of language and what drives the decision to include words in a dictionary.
  • ARI (40D: Journalist Drennen) Since January of this year, ARI Drennen has been the LGBTQ Program Director for the nonprofit organization and media watchdog group, Media Matters for America.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • PANE (12A: Window part that might be made of sugar glass) Sugar glass is a transparent form of sugar that looks like glass (thus the name...) that can be formed to resemble a window PANE. It has been used to simulate glass in movies. It made me laugh when I read on Wikipedia that sugar glass is also used in professional wrestling, but I suppose it is much safer than having wrestlers fall through actual glass!
  • INCA (13A: ___ Empire aka the Realm of the Four Parts) In the late 1400s and early 1500s, the INCA Empire incorporated a large part of western South America, including portions of the modern-day countries of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. The official language of the INCA Empire was Quechua. In Quechua, the INCA Empire is referred to as Tawantinsuyu, which translates to "Realm of the Four Parts."
  • ALEC (14A: "Let Me Down Slowly" artist Benjamin) "Let Me Down Slowly" is a 2018 song by singer-songwriter, ALEC Benjamin, and is considered his breakout hit. ALEC Benjamin wrote the song about an experience with an ex-girlfriend. The song reached the top 40 in over 25 countries.
  • RIED (22A: Tara of "Sharknado") In the 2013 TV movie, Sharknado, Tara RIED played the role of April Wexler, ex-wife of Fin Shepherd (an ex-surfer and bar owner played by Ian Ziering). She reprised the role in the movies five sequels.
  • NED (28A: Peter Parker's bestie) NED Leeds, who is played by Jacob Batalon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is the best friend of Peter Parker - aka Spiderman - and one of the first people to discover Peter's secret identity.
  • MIXED METAPHOR (32A: "You can put all your eggs in one basket, but you can't make them drink," e.g.) What a great answer and a fun (and funny!) clue.
  • VETS (36A: Docs for kitties) Willow has mixed feelings about this clue.
    Cat in the box
    She's happy about the cat reference, but not thrilled about the subject. 
  • HALO (8D: Ring of light that's the title of a Beyonce hit) "HALO" is a song from BeyoncĂ©'s 2008 album, I Am...Sasha Fierce. I was in St. Louis this past weekend, and at one point my husband, son, and I were in our car and stopped at a traffic light. My husband, who was driving, noticed that the five young people in the car next to us were jamming to some music and definitely enjoying themselves. At one point my husband made eye contact with the person in the passenger seat of the other car, and they exchanged "thumbs up." This led to my husband and that person rolling down their windows, and the person in the other car said, "Have you heard BeyoncĂ©'s new album?!" When I replied with an emphatic, "Yes!" (I think they were a little surprised...), she went on to say "It's so good!" and we all shared a moment of car dancing.
  • APPA (14D: Mr. Kim, to Janet and Jung in "Kim's Convenience") I learned the term APPA from the March 18, 2021 puzzle, and it was that same puzzle that led to me learning about the TV series, Kim's Convenience.
  • SHIP (31D: "That ___ has sailed") and MOLEHILL (32D: Make a mountain out of a ___) Did these two consecutive clues inspire you to create a MIXED METAPHOR? Or was that just me? That SHIP is out of a MOLEHILL...

    Geography review:

    • SPAIN (1D: Barcelona's country) Barcelona is a city in northeastern SPAIN along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second most populous city in SPAIN, following Madrid, the nation's capital.
    • MIAMI (5D: Florida city that hosts Ultra Music Festival) Ultra Music Festival is an annual celebration of electronic music. The festival is held in March in MIAMI, Florida, along with the Winter Music Conference (which focuses on the electronic music industry) and MIAMI Music Week (a series of electronic music concerts and parties).
    • SCOT (7D: Person from Glasgow) Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland. 
    • BALI (51D: Indonesian island) The Southeast Asian archipelagic country of Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands, one of which is BALI.
    This is an absolutely delightful theme with three fabulous theme answers. I also enjoyed the answers TEST RIDE, CLEAN ROOM, and NINE-SIDED. Thank you, Ada, for this puzzle that was a fantastic way to begin my Monday.
    Thanks also, to Erica Hsiung Wojcik and Mollie Cowger for guest blogging this weekend while I enjoyed some family time. 


    1. If you are interested in how words are included or excluded, I recommend the book, dictionary Of Lost Words. Author Pip Williams.

      1. This made me smile, because this happens to be the book I'm reading right now! I almost talked about it, but I'm not very far into it yet.


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