September 16, 2022


Constructor: Hoang-Kim Vu

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
WORLD RECORD (17A: An Olympic athlete might set one)
GRAND OPENING (27A: Ribbon-cutting event)
FILM PREMIERE (43A: Event at the TCL Chinese Theatre)
MAIDEN VOYAGE (53A: Inaugural trip for a ship)

Theme synopsis: Each of the theme answers refers to something that is happening for the FIRST time.

Things I learned:
  • ROMANCE (36A: Brittainy Cherry genre) According to her website, Brittainy Cherry writes "Angsty Slow Burn ROMANCE Novels." (That's a great description!) Brittainy Cherry has written over 20 novels, many of them bestsellers. The website describes her book, The Air He Breathes, as "perfect for those looking for a grumpy hero and sunshine heroine. Angst galore!"
  • PHASES (44D: Passes through a solid object, like X-Men's Shadowcat) Shadowcat, aka Kitty Pryde, is a Marvel Comics superhero, and a member of the X-Men (humans born with a genetic mutation that confers superhuman abilities). Shadowcat's superpower is the ability to become intangible and PHASE through objects. My cat, Willow, does not have the ability
    Willow longing to PHASE through the window screen

    to pass through objects, but I'm sure she wishes she could. (I so wish I had a picture of a cat named Shadow to share with you today!)
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • I DOS (12A: Grooms exchange them after vows) and I DON'T (2D: Possible response to "Have a sec?") This was a delightful pair of crossing answers. Make up your mind, puzzle, DO you or DON'T you?
  • ONIONY (14A: Like the flavor of Funyuns) Funyuns are rings of cornmeal with an ONIONY flavor. Funyuns were invented in 1969, and are now under PepsiCo's umbrella, as they are made by Frito-Lay.
  • FILM PREMIERE (43A: Event at the TCL Chinese Theatre) TCL Chinese Theatre, aka Grauman's Chinese Theatre, is an elaborately decorated movie theatre located on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California. It was built in 1926. The forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre (TCL Corporation purchased naming rights for the theater in 2013) features concrete blocks sporting the handprints and footprints of many celebrities. The TCL Chinese Theatre has been the site for numerous FILM PREMIEREs
  • GERE (50A: "Shall We Dance?" actor Richard) The 2004 movie, Shall We Dance? is a remake of a 1996 Japanese movie of the same name. Richard GERE plays an attorney who impulsively signs up for ballroom dancing lessons, and discovers a passion for dancing.
  • SONS (63A: Some children) and NINO (54D: Spanish for "boy") This is another delightful pair of related crossing answers.
  • ENT (67A: Docs that treat vertigo) A person experiencing vertigo has the sensation of movement even when they are still. If you are experiencing vertigo, you might need to consult an otorhinolaryngologist, aka an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor. 
  • ANNE (24D: ___ Boleyn) ANNE Boleyn was the second of King Henry VIII's six wives. She was the Queen consort of England from 1533-1536. ANNE Boleyn was charged with treason and executed in 1536. Her daughter, Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth I, and reigned from 1558-1603.
  • TDS (25D: D.C. Divas' scores) TDS here stands for touchdowns. The D.C. Divas are a Women's Football Alliance team.
  • ROSIE (32D: "The Flight Attendant" actress Perez) The Flight Attendant is a TV series based on Chris Bohjalian's 2018 novel of the same name. ROSIE Perez plays Megan Briscoe on the show, which is in its second season.
  • APT (57D: Like the name Reed for a book lover) This clue is a great example of a way to make a three-letter word much more than simply routine fill.

    Geography review:

    • ERIE (60A: Great Lake with the shortest name) Hello to ERIE making its third appearance this month. There are many possible ways to sort the Great Lakes. Here they are in order from the shortest to longest name: ERIE, HURON, ONTARIO, and then MICHIGAN and SUPERIOR which are the same length.
    • EGYPT (52D: Country that Mohamed Salah is from) Mohamed Salah is a professional soccer player (footballer). He plays for the Liverpool Football Club in the Premier Club, and is the captain of the EGYPT national team.
    In today's puzzle, the theme mechanic involves not just part of each theme answer, but the whole answers. This is a wonderful set of theme answers describing four different types of FIRSTs. I also enjoyed the answers ARTHRITIS (though not a fan of ARTHRITIS itself), GUARANTEE, DRY RUN, EMBARGO, and EEYORE. Thank you, Kim, for this puzzle that was an excellent way to begin my Friday.