September 27, 2022


Constructor: Enrique Henestroza Anguiano

Editors: Anna Gundlach & Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
BORED STIFF (20A: Doodling during a lecture, for example)
BRANCHES OFF (37A: Continues onto a new path)
BARREL CUFF (58A: Dress shirt part with wrist buttons)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer is surrounded by (AMONG) the letters BFF (Best FRIENDS Forever).

Things I learned:
  • SEA (24A: Bendito ___ Dios) "Bendito SEA Dios" is a Spanish phrase that means "Good heavens," or "Good Lord."
  • TRY (26A: Rugby scoring attempt) As I have said many times before, "(Almost) everything I know about sports I've learned from crossword puzzles." Today I learned that a rugby scoring attempt is called a TRY. In rugby, a touchdown, called a TRY scores 5 points. A TRY is scored when a player runs into the end zone carrying the ball and "touches it down" to score the TRY.
  • BARREL CUFF (58A: Dress shirt part with wrist buttons) I know what this is, but the term BARREL CUFF was new to me. To be honest, I don't think I've ever thought about what this part of a dress shirt is called. 
  • DIABLO (1D: Video game with a devilish final boss) DIABLO is a series of action role-playing video games. The first in the series, DIABLO, was released in 1997. The game is known for having a difficult final boss, named, incidentally, DIABLO, and also known as the Dark Lord. I learned about the use of the word boss in video games from the January 21, 2021 puzzle
  • YAHYA (32D: Actor ___ Abdul-Mateen II) YAHYA Abdul-Mateen II played the role of Black Manta in the DC Comics Aquaman movies. In the HBO superhero series, Watchmen, he played the role of Cal Abar, a role for which he won a Primetime Emmy.
  • OTS (62A: "Golden goal" periods, for short) Here I am learning more about sports from crosswords! The "golden goal" is a rule used in some sports when the game ends in a tie. Under the "golden goal" rule, the game enters a sudden death situation, and the game ends when either team scores.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ADAM (17A: Figure skater Rippon with a namesake lutz) ADAM Rippon is a retired professional figure skater. The Rippon Lutz is his signature move. It involves a triple lutz completed with both hands above his head. 
  • TOM (51A: Hiddleston or Holland) Actor TOM Hiddleston portrays the character of Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Actor TOM Holland has played the role of Spider-Man in six MCU movies.
  • BTS (56A: "Yet to Come" K-pop band) BTS released the song, "Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)" in June of this year. The song is a reflection on the band's past nine years. 
  • ORBIT (63A: Satellite's trajectory) This clue/answer pair reminded me of yesterday's exciting news from NASA. In case you missed it, yesterday NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft slammed into an asteroid...on purpose. I watched the event live, and it was incredible! And then I discovered that my friend's, sister worked on this project. How cool is that?! (Hi, Bethany!)
  • SHE'S (57D: "I'll have what ___ having) We saw this great clue earlier this month, and I wrote about it then. As far as I'm concerned, if this clue was used every time SHE'S is an answer in a puzzle, it would still make me smile.

    Geography review:

    • YEN (43A: Konbini currency) A konbini is a convenience store in Japan, where the currency is the YEN. 
    • ROUGE (44A: Baton ___, Louisiana) Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. Its name is French for "red stick."

    It's so nice to be AMONG FRIENDS! I enjoyed this fun theme. In addition to the answers I've highlighted above, I also liked HOME TURF, FRUGAL, and AD FREE. Also, congratulations to Anna Gundlach on her USA Today editorial debut today! Thank you, Enrique, for this puzzle that was a great solve following a day of hiking. Thanks, all for being patient for my blog post. Although I have been blogging about the USA Today crossword for over two years now, I still occasionally encounter new challenges, and today was one of those days when I couldn't access the puzzle this morning. I'm glad the tech issues got solved fairly quickly.

    Here's what I posted this morning when I was unable to access the puzzle:

    Hello wonderful readers!

    As you also may have encountered, there appears to be a glitch with the USA Today puzzle today. At the time I went to solve and blog about it, today's puzzle wasn't available either online or on the app. Hopefully this issue will get fixed, and when it does, I'll update this blog post. This will likely be later in the afternoon, as I am on vacation. I have been posting from the road the last few days, and am currently in Grand Teton National Park. Since I can't post about the puzzle at the moment, here are a couple of photos I took yesterday. Here's hoping for a quick fix of the puzzle!

    This is my favorite photo I took yesterday. These are the Grand Tetons. The reflection of the mountains is seen in the Snake River just below a beaver dam that stretches across it.

    Grand Tetons
    This photo is taken at the same site, but is my attempt to be artsy by placing a thistle plant in the foreground.
    Artsy photo of Grand Tetons


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