Title: STAR FRUIT
Constructor: Enrique Henestroza Anguiano
Editors: Anna Gundlach & Erik Agard
HALLE BERRY (24A: Academy Award winner for "Monster's Ball")
TOMMY ORANGE (37A: American Book Award winner for "There There")
FIONA APPLE (53A: Grammy Award winner for "Fetch the Bolt Cutters")
Theme synopsis: Each theme answer is the name of a STAR whose last name is also the name of a FRUIT.
Things I learned:
- TOMMY ORANGE (37A: American Book Award winner for "There There") There There is TOMMY ORANGE's debut novel. The book contains essays on Native American history and identity told through a cast of characters living in and around Oakland, California. TOMMY ORANGE is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. There There won the 2019 American Book Award.
- SOCCER (59A: Raul Jimenez's sport) and GOL (44D: "Raul Jimenez scored!") Raul Jimenez is a professional SOCCER player for the Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Mexico national team. "GOL" is the Spanish word for "goal."
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- KIWI (1A: Fuzzy fruit) A perfect first answer for a FRUIT-themed puzzle.
- CHE (16A: Sara Ramirez's character on "And Just Like That...) The TV series, And Just Like That..., is a sequel to Sex and the City, and is set 11 years following the events of the 2010 movie, Sex and the City 2. Sara Ramirez plays the role of CHE Diaz, a new character introduced in the revival.
- HALLE BERRY (24A: Academy Award winner for "Monster's Ball") Monster's Ball is a 2001 movie in which HALLE BERRY plays the role of Leticia Musgrove, a woman who unknowingly gets in a relationship with a former corrections officer who oversaw the execution of her husband. HALLE BERRY won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002, becoming the first Black woman to receive that honor. Twenty years later, she remains the only Black woman who has won that award.
- MIO (30A: "Lo ___ es tuyo") "Lo MIO es tuyo" is Spanish for "what's mine is yours."
- PUN (35A: "I'm no cheetah, you're lion!" is one) When I'm constructing crosswords, if I have the chance to use the word PUN as an answer, I do it. I will never tire of PUN clues, either solving them, or writing them.
- FIONA APPLE (53A: Grammy Award winner for "Fetch the Bolt Cutters") Fetch the Bolt Cutters is FIONA APPLE's fifth studio album, released in 2020. Fetch the Bolt Cutters was the title of the November 19, 2020 crossword, and from that puzzle I learned that the album received a perfect ten rating from Pitchfork. In 2021, FIONA APPLE won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album for Fetch the Bolt Cutters. As soon as I saw the title of today's puzzle, I thought of FIONA APPLE, so it was rewarding to fill in her name as a theme answer.
- IDLI (57A: Savory rice cake) The savory rice cakes known as IDLI originated in South India.
- SYD (68A: Singer in The Internet) I have previously written about the band named The Internet, and their vocalist, SYD.
- KID (1D: "Here's looking at you, ___") "Here's looking at you, KID," is a classic line spoken by Humphrey Bogart in the 1942 movie, Casablanca.
- RON (6D: ___ Cephas Jones ("This Is Us" actor)) The TV series, This Is Us, follows the lives of a family of two parents and their three children, telling their stories in several time frames. RON Cephas Jones plays the role of William "Shakespeare" Hill, the biological father of one of the children.
- EMORY (9D: Atlanta university) EMORY University was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1936 by the Methodist Episcopal Church. (It was named Emory College until 1915.) I have a soft spot for EMORY University, because my dad attended seminary there. This feels especially poignant today, as tomorrow it will have been five years since my dad died. Time is an interesting thing, five years can simultaneously feel like an age and an instant.
- SHRINE (12D: Shinto structure that houses kami) Kami are deities in Shintoism, a religion that originated in Japan. A Shinto SHRINE is built to house one or more kami.
- BLING (23D: "The ___ Ring" (satirical crime movie)) I originally marked this answer as something I'd learned today, but when I began to read about the 2013 movie, The BLING Ring, I realized I had written about it before, almost two years ago. The BLING Ring tells the story of a group of fame-obsessed teenagers who burglarize the homes of celebrities. The movie is based on a 2010 Vanity Fair article written by Nancy Jo Sales titled "The Suspects Wore Louboutins."
- UNDEAD (36D: Like some zom-com characters) The term "zom-com" was new to me, but its meaning was inferable. Zombie comedy, or zom-com, is a movie genre blending zombie motifs (the UNDEAD) with aspects of comedy. A couple of examples of zom-com are Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016), and Zombieland (2009).
- CAT (60D: Purring pet) As you can see, Willow scanned today's grid, and
approves of the inclusion of the word CAT.
Willow giving today's grid a CAT scan
- IRAN (14A: Asghar Farhadi's country) Asghar Farhadi is movie director and screenwriter from IRAN. He has won two Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, for A Separation (2011), and The Salesman (2016).
- EUROS (50A: Money in Spain and Portugal) Spain and Portugal are neighboring countries in Europe. Both countries are located on the Iberian Peninsula, which has coastline on the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Spain and Portugal use EUROS as their currency.
It's good to start off the morning with a helping of FRUIT. I liked the consistency of the clues for the theme answers mentioning an award, and the fact that each award is different. WAITLIST, CRAB DIP, and VELCRO are fun answers, and I liked the zodiac pair of LEO and PISCES. Thank you, Enrique, for this puzzle that was a great way to begin my Tuesday.
One more thing: As promised, the hidden message that was the answer to the first ever Sally's Take Contest was "ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS."