Constructor: Nate Cardin
Editor: Anna Gundlach
Note about puzzle access: I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but at the time I'm writing this, today's puzzle is once again not available on the USA Today crossword app or online. We know the puzzles exist (!) because they are available on The Puzzle Society site (subscription required). Continuing to hope this issue gets resolved soon.
QUILTING BEE (19A: Sewing social event)
QUINTA BRUNSON (36A: Creator and star of "Abbott Elementary")
QUESO BLANCO (52A: Latin American white cheese dip)
Theme synopsis: Today we have 3 theme answers, each with the initials QB3.
Things I learned:
- WADE (42A: Zaya ___, Daughter of NBA star Dwayne) Zaya WADE, as the clue tells us, is the daughter of Dwayne WADE, a former professional basketball player who played for NBA's Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavaliers. Zaya WADE, who is 15 years old, came out as transgender in 2020. She is an advocate for queer rights. Dwayne WADE recently filed a petition to legally change his daughter's name and gender markers. In this video posted on Twitter in 2020 introducing Zaya WADE, she says, "Be yourself...What's the point of being on this Earth if you're going to try to be someone you're not." Good advice.
- MACROS (47D: Grams of protein or carbs counted by bodybuilders, for example) MACROS here is short for macronutrients, and refers to the chemical compounds that provide bulk energy: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- AOC (16A: NY member of "The Squad" in Congress, for short) "The Squad" is a group of progressive Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who were all under the age of 50 when they were elected. The original members of "The Squad" were elected in 2018: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC, for short, NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13). Two additional members of "The Squad" were elected in 2020: Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) and Cori Bush (MO-1). AOC coined the term "Squad" in a 2018 Instagram post.
- QUILTING BEE (19A: Sewing social event) This answer brought back fond memories. My dad was a minister, and the summer before I entered eighth grade, we moved to a parsonage that was next door to the church my dad was assigned to serve. (Behind the house and the church was a cemetery, but that brings up other memories!) Some of the (primarily older) women of the church met once a week to quilt together. My mom and my younger sister and I joined them, and the women taught us how to quilt. I received the quilt I learned to quilt on as a Christmas present that year. For many years I used that quilt, first on my bed, and then as my family's designated "picnic blanket," until it finally fell apart. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, puzzle!
- ARCHIVE (23A: Collection such as the one at the GLBT Historical Society) The GLBT Historical Society, founded in 1985, "collects, preserves, exhibits and makes accessible to the public materials and knowledge to support and promote understanding of LGBTQ history, culture and arts in all their diversity." The organization, which has been referred to as the "Queer Smithsonian," has an ARCHIVE containing photographs, posters, manuscripts, and a variety of other items related to LGBTQ history. The Society has a museum, The GLBT Historical Society Museum, in San Francisco. I love that instead of using a dictionary definition to clue ARCHIVE, the clue was used to lift up a particular organization.
- QUINTA BRUNSON (36A: Creator and star of "Abbott Elementary") This is not QUINTA BRUNSON's first time as a theme answer. We saw her as a theme answer on April 5, 2022. I've written about QUINTA BRUNSON, the creator of Abbott Elementary and author of She Memes Well, a number of times.
- QUESO BLANCO (52A: Latin American white cheese dip) In Spanish, "QUESO BLANCO" means "white cheese." In Latin America, QUESO BLANCO is traditionally made at home and aged for one to three days. The soft cheese makes a smooth and creamy dip.
- HINDU (56A: Diwali celebrant) Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated during the Hindu month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). During Diwali, diyas, oil lamps made from clay, are lit throughout the home and outside.
- TRU (61A: Play about Capote) TRU is a 1989 play by Jay Presson Allen. The play is adapted from the words and works of novelist, playwright, and actor, Truman Capote (1924-1984).
- TERI (5D: "Desperate Housewives" star Hatcher) TERI Hatcher won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her depiction of Susan Mayer on the TV series, Desperate Housewives.
- YES (11D: With 10-Down, improv comedy rule of thumb) and AND (10D: See 11-Down) This is a fun linked pair of clues. Neat to see the answers appearing together nestled into the corner of the grid. Although I've put them in order here, it's funny to see them as AND YES... The improvisational comedy rule of thumb, "YES, AND..." is the idea that a participant accepts what someone else has said - YES - before expanding on that line of thinking - AND.
- ALEC (15D: Guinness of "Star Wars") ALEC Guinness (1914-2000) played the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy.
- URN (39D: Big vase for "Survivor" votes) Thank you to my daughter, who has exposed me to a few episodes of Survivor, the reality TV series that places a group of strangers in an isolated location to survive and compete in challenges. During sessions referred to as the Tribal Council, contestants vote on a participant to be ousted from the show. The votes are placed into a large URN.
- SAND (53D: Material used to make glass and silicon) Isn't it fascinating that glass and silicon are both made from sand. Science is fascinating! Sand is mostly made of silicon dioxide, which when mixed with soda ash and limestone and heated to extremely high temperatures (over 3,090 ℉), makes glass. Silicon can be made from sand by adding magnesium powder.
- OREO (54D: Cookie whose Double Stuf variety is closer to 1.86-times Stuf) The accuracy of this clue made me chuckle! It was a group of high school students (with a smart, creative, and innovative teacher!) that did the original 2013 study producing the 1.86 number.
One more thing I learned today is that QB3 refers to the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. The puzzle delightfully reinterprets QB3 to give us 3 things with the initials QB. Other answers I enjoyed: EDAMAME, OPAQUE, and HOT SALSA. Thank you, Nate, for this puzzle that was a wonderful way to start my Monday.