October 10, 2022


Constructors: Rachel Fabi & Amanda Rafkin

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
BY A WHISKER (16A: Just barely)
DON'T SAY A WORD (26A: "Please keep this between us")
STAY AWHILE (59A: "Pull up a chair!")

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer contains the letter string YAW, which when looking BACK, reads as WAY.

Things I learned:
  • TEEN (22A: Many a "First Kill" character, age-wise) First Kill is a Netflix TV series that premiered in June of this year. The show is a supernatural TEEN drama. It stars Sarah Catherine Hook as Juliette Fairmont, a TEEN vampire, and Imani Lewis as Calliope "Cal" Burns, a TEEN member of a monster-hunting family.
  • I AM (44D: "Hey, Mr. Arnstein, here ___!") "Hey, Mr. Arnstein, here I AM!" is a lyric from the song, "Don't Rain on My Parade," from the musical, Funny Girl
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • STUD (1A: "Tell me about it, ___") "Tell me about it, STUD," is a line from Grease. In the 1978 movie based on the musical, the line was spoken by Olivia Newton-John, who played the role of Sandy.
  • SARI (15A: Garment that may be draped in the Nivi style) There are various styles of draping a SARI, and the Nivi style is the most common.
  • BY A WHISKER (16A: Just barely) Willow (who is currently on my lap helping my type)
    Willow and her WHISKERs
    approves of this answer! Willow has stayed close to me ever since my husband and I returned home from vacation last night. 
  • ATE (30A: Enjoyed some spanakopita) Spanakopita is a spinach pie of Greek origin. A filling - traditionally spinach, eggs, feta cheese, and onions - is layered in phyllo pastry. Yum!
  • REEKS (33A: Has a truly foul smell) and ODOR (58A: Truly foul smell) Do you smell that?
  • SITAR (54A: Instruments that have up to 21 strings) A SITAR is an instrument with 18, 19, 20, or 21 strings. It is played by plucking the six or seven strings that run over raised frets. The remainder of a SITAR's strings are under the frets, and are "sympathetic strings" which resonate with the played strings. 
  • FOND (63A: "Rubber Duckie, I'm awfully ___ of you") Ernie has been a character on Sesame Street since the test pilot in 1969. It was during the first season of Sesame Street in 1970, that Ernie appeared in a bathtub singing about the friend of whom he is "awfully FOND of," his rubber duckie. I have previously shared the story of the rubber duckie my husband and I leave for each other to find. (As well as the story of the tiny rubber duckies our daughter hid in our house...that we are still finding!) Most recently, I hid rubber duckie in my husband's hiking boots, which he discovered while we were on vacation and getting ready to hike in Grand Teton National Park. As a result, rubber duckie ended up getting a dashboard view of the mountains as we toured the park. 
    Rubber duckie enjoying the Grand Tetons
  • LEE (8D: Olympic gymnast Suni) Suni Lee was the all-around gymnastics gold medalist at the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021). We saw Sunisa LEE as a theme answer a year ago
  • RUMI (28A: Persian poet who wrote "The Guest House") RUMI's poem, "The Guest House," begins with the lines, "This being human is a guest house. / Every morning a new arrival." You can read the entire poem at The Poetry Exchange
  • EMMA STONE (32D: Actress who played Abigail Masham in "The Favorite") The Favorite is a 2018 movie set in 18th century Great Britain. Cousins Abigail  Masham (EMMA STONE) and Sarah Churchill (Rachel Wiesz) vie to be the favorite of Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman). 
  • ERR (47D: Make a mistake) and MESS UP (48D: Make a mistake) I hope you didn't make a mistake on these answers.

    Geography review:

    • STL (36A: Cardinals' city (Abbr.)) Ah, St. Louis (STL), Missouri, home St. Louis Cardinals baseball. I wish I was telling you that I was traveling to St. Louis this week to watch the Cardinals in post-season play, but alas, their season ended on Saturday. Oh, well, there's always next year.
    • YAK (62D: Domestic animal of Tibet) Tibet, located in East Asia, is the highest region on Earth; its average elevation is 14,000 feet. Mount Everest, Earth's highest peak, is located in Tibet. Domesticated YAKs, descendants of wild YAKs, are an integral part of life in Tibet. YAKs are used as beasts of burden, and for their milk, fiber (produced from their hair), and meat. Additionally, YAK droppings are used as a fuel source.
    I have found my WAY BACK home after a lovely vacation, and this was a delightful puzzle to help me get back into my regular routine of blogging. After two and a half weeks of blogging on the road, I had to remind myself what that routine was! This is a great set of theme answers, and I liked the consistency of the backward WAY breaking across two words in the same manner each time. I TELL YA, in addition to the answers I've already highlighted, I liked GAME ROOMS and CASHEWS. I especially liked the clue for DISHES (49D: They're often done after dinner). Thank you, Rachel and Amanda, for this puzzle that was a wonderful way to begin my Monday.
    One more thing: Thank you to all who sent me answers to the first ever Sally's Take Contest. I appreciate all of you who took the time to play my little game. I've randomly selected a name from all of the correct answers, and Neville Fogarty will be receiving a Sally's Take mug. Congratulations, Neville! Here's how to find the hidden message: You may (or may not) have noticed that the grid images I post each day have one word highlighted in light blue, with one letter highlighted in dark blue. This is simply the way the puzzle appears in the USA Today App when you finish the puzzle, and I use a screenshot of that image. I decided to take advantage of this shading to hide a message. If you note the letter shaded in dark blue in each puzzle image from September 1 to September 30 (in order), you will discover my message. I'll tell you what the message is tomorrow, but decided I'd give you another day if you'd like to look for the message yourself. If you took the time to look for the message, I hope it brought you a few moments of joy. Thanks again to all who participated. Who knows, maybe this will be the only contest I ever do...or maybe I'll think up another one!