September 17, 2022


Constructor: Matthew Stock

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
BANANA SPLIT (15A: Fruit-based ice cream parlor order)
DOUBLE BOUNCE (34A: Two-person trampoline trick)
CHIPS AND DIP (55A: Snack combo often served in two nesting bowls)

Theme synopsis: The LAST word of each theme answer can be used as a synonym for LEAVE: SPLIT, BOUNCE, DIP.

Things I learned:
  • PUMA (13A:Shoe brand repped by Skylar Diggins-Smith) Skylar Diggins-Smith plays basketball for WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. The WNBA All-Star signed an endorsement deal with PUMA in 2017, the first basketball player to sign with PUMA in nearly two decades. Earlier this year, PUMA launched a Skylar Diggins-Smith collection titled Desert Sky.
  • APPLE (5D: Tufahije fruit) Tufahije is a dessert made by stuffing an APPLE with walnuts and poaching it in sugar water. It is topped with glazed syrup and whipped cream. (That sounds delicious!) Tufahije originated in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • BANANA SPLIT (15A: Fruit-based ice cream parlor order) Ah, the BANANA SPLIT - three scoops of ice cream served between a peeled BANANA, SPLIT lengthwise and topped with sauces. Although the origin of the BANANA SPLIT is disputed, the National Ice Cream Retailers Association has certified Latrobe, Pennsylvania as its birthplace. An optometrist from Latrobe, David "Doc" Strickler, created the BANANA SPLIT in 1904, inspired by the fruit-laden desserts he'd eaten while visiting Atlantic City. (Fun fact: Latrobe, Pennsylvania is also the birthplace of Mister Rogers.)
  • HER (24A: "Back of My Mind" singer) Back of My Mind is the title of H.E.R.'s 2021 debut album, and the title of a song on the album.
  • STRANGE (26A: "Dr. ___ in the Multiverse of Madness") Dr. STRANGE in the Multiverse of Madness is a Marvel Comics superhero movie released in May of this year. It is a sequel to the 2016 movie, Dr. STRANGE. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the title character, a neurosurgeon who experienced a career-ending car accident and then became a Master of the Mystic Arts.
  • GINS (29A: Spirits made with juniper berries) GINS were originally produced - as long ago as the 11th century - for medicinal purposes, thus the addition of the medicinal herb, juniper. GIN has come a long way since the 11th century, and there are hundreds of varieties of GIN. If you're interested in learning more, here's "A Simply History of Gin...For You Skeptics Out There."
  • QUARTZ (30A: Amethyst is a purple form of it) QUARTZ is a hard mineral composed of crystals of silicon dioxide. On the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness in which talc is number 1 and diamond is number 10, QUARTZ is number 7. There are many varieties of QUARTZ, and they are often named, as amethyst is, based on their color.
  • DOUBLE BOUNCE (34A: Two-person trampoline trick) A DOUBLE BOUNCE occurs when two people jumping on a trampoline results in one of the jumpers jumping higher than they would when jumping solo. Here's a video explaining the science of the DOUBLE BOUNCE (of course, I went the science route). A word of warning, many trampoline injuries occur as a result of a DOUBLE BOUNCE.
  • STONES (38A: Skipping ___ (lakeside activity)) and TBT (31D: Hashtag for a blast-from-the past pic) The combination of these two clues/answers reminded me of this
    #TBT: Skipping STONES
    photo of my husband and kids skipping STONES at Schoolhouse Beach in Door County, Wisconsin in 2004. This photo is definitely a #TBT (Throwback Thursday) candidate, even though today is Saturday.
  • PANEER (1D: Cheese in butter masala) PANEER is a fresh cheese made from cow or buffalo milk. Butter masala is a creamy dish in Indian cuisine with a gravy made from butter, tomatoes, cashews, and spices.
  • GODDESS (11D: Bharat Mata or Guanyin, e.g.) Last month I wrote about Bharat, the Hindi name for India. Bharat Mata is the personification of India as a mother GODDESS. Guanyin is a Buddhist GODDESS associated with compassion and mercy.
  • TAQUERIA (23D: Restaurant with carnitas and elote)  A TAQUERIA is a restaurant or food stall that specializes in Mexican dishes. Carnitas is a dish in Mexican cuisine made by simmering pork for several hours, until it is tender and juicy. The word "carnitas" means "little meats." Elote is the term used in Central America and Mexico for an ear of corn.
  • ZOOMIES (32D: Pet's burst of energy) Isn't it interesting how pets sleep for hours, seeming to store up energy, and then release it through a case of the ZOOMIES? ZOOMIES are also known as "frenetic random activity periods," or FRAPs, but ZOOMIES is definitely a more interesting term, isn't it? There are multiple theories behind why animals (the behavior has been observed in wild animals as well as pets) get the ZOOMIES. They may be letting off excess energy, practicing hunting and chasing skills, or simply having fun. Willow occasionally gets the ZOOMIES,
    Willow sleeping in a box
    but not often. She's much more commonly seen experiencing the "sleepies".
  • K'NEX (33D: Construction toy brand) Fortunately, I had the K already filled in when I encountered this clue, so I was not tempted to answer "lego." K'NEX sets consist of plastic rods, blocks, wheels, gears, and connectors, that can be used to build models, machines, and architectural structures. K'NEX has a fun origin story. Joel Glickman got the idea for K'NEX while he was attending a wedding reception and wondering what he could build while connecting his straw to other straws. 

    After Thursday's DECENT START, and yesterday's THAT'S A FIRST, now we've moved on to the LAST TO LEAVE. I was glad BANANA SPLIT was the first theme answer, because I readily filled it in and that tipped me off to the theme. I'm not as familiar with the use of DIP as a synonym for LEAVE, but Merriam-Webster assures me it is used this way in U.S. slang, and provides some entertaining examples of its usage. We are treated to a lot of great bonuses today with DOBERMAN, OPERETTA, LIFELINE, and MAGIC SET. I also liked seeing DOODLE - I am a doodler! Thank you, Matthew, for this puzzle that was a delightful way to begin my Saturday. Now it's time for me to SPLIT/BOUNCE/DIP (out).