November 23, 2022


Constructor: Rebecca Goldstein

Editor: Anna Gundlach

Theme Answers:
WORK LIFE BALANCE (20A: Prioritization of personal and professional responsibilities)
ROCKFORD PEACHES (40A: "A League of Their Own Team")
DRIVE THRU WINDOW (58A: Fast food pickup convenience)

Theme synopsis: The first part (the HEAD) of each theme answer can follow the word HARD, giving us HARD WORK, HARD ROCK, and a HARD DRIVE.

Things I learned:
  • ATONE (17A: Perform Maimonides' steps of repentance) Maimonides was a Jewish philosopher and Torah Scholar in the Middle Ages. His writings on repentance are still used as a guide for Jews engaging in the process of teshuvah (repentance) to ATONE (make amends).
  • TED (25A: ___ Leo and the Pharmacists (punk band)) The punk rock band, TED Leo and the Pharmacists formed in 1999 in Washington, D.C. In 2018, TED Leo explained the origin of the band's name in a tweet: Literally started using the band name The Pharmacists because in '94 ... our band Chisel was at WHFS in Md. discussing what a better band name could have been, and, thinking of The Fall's version of "Mr. Pharmacist," landed on "The Pharmacists."
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • OLAY (15A: Cosmetics company with brand ambassador Quinta Brunson) Quinta Brunson is the creator and star of the TV series, Abbot Elementary, and we just saw her as a theme answer on Monday. Earlier this year Quinta Brunson became an an ambassador for OLAY
  • ASMR (18A: Whispery YouTube genre) I have previously written about autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).
  • ACA (24A: Obamacare law initials) Obamacare is officially known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • CASS (36A: Mama ___ Elliot) Mama CASS Elliot (1941-1974) was a member of the folk rock group, The Mamas & the Papas, and also had a successful solo career before she died of heart failure at the age of 32. Mama CASS Elliot now has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • ROCKFORD PEACHES (40A: "A League of Their Own Team") A League of Their Own is a TV series that premiered in August of this year. It is an adaptation of the 1992 movie of the same name. Set in 1943, the TV show follows the formation of the ROCKFORD PEACHES, a team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
  • ANO (54A: "Feliz ___ novo!") "Feliz ANO novo!" is Portugese for "Happy New Year!" 
  • IGOR (3D: Rangers goalie Shesterkin) I just learned about IGOR Shesterkin last month.
  • SAMBA (7D: Brazilian ballroom dance) SAMBA is a dance that originated in the Afro-Brazilian communities of Rio de Janeiro. This article provides a history of SAMBA as well as some video showing examples of SAMBA. 
  • OPEN TABS (41D: They might accrue at a bar or in a browser) This is a fun clue! Even though I try to be good about closing them, OPEN TABS accumulate, particularly when I'm writing the blog. I currently have 15 OPEN my browser, not at a bar.

    Geography review:

    • SLC (23A: Utah's capital, for short) Named for its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City (SLC, for short) is the capital of Utah.
    • ATL (52A: City home to the CDC (Abbr.)) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has its headquarters in Atlanta (ATL), Georgia. The CDC, established in 1946, is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The current director of the CDC is Rochelle Walensky
    • SYRACUSE (8D: City that hosts the New York State Fair) Located in central New York, SYRACUSE is the fifth-largest city in the state. The New York State Fair was first held in SYRACUSE in 1841. The following eight years the fair was held in other locations around New York, until it was decided SYRACUSE would be the fair's permanent home. The New York State Fair begins in August each year and runs for 13 days, ending on Labor Day.
    • CUBA (9D: Havana's home) Havana is the capital and largest city of CUBA. The city is comprised of 15 boroughs, one of which, Old Havana, is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
    • OSLO (63D: Capital with the Norsk Folkemuseum) OSLO is the capital of Norway, and the home of the Norsk Folkemuseum, also known as the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. The museum's collection of artifacts includes Norwegian folk costumes, folk art, and church art. The Norsk Folkemuseum has a large open-air museum with over 150 buildings, including Gol Stave Church dating from 1200, that have been relocated from towns and rural districts in Norway.
    Though you normally might TELL OFF someone for being HARD-HEADED, it's a good thing in today's puzzle with its three great grid-spanning theme answers. AMEN TO THAT! AM I RITE? Thank you, Rebecca, for this puzzle that was a delightful way to start my Wednesday.
    One more thing: Since the USA Today tech issues seem to be fixed (knock on wood, fingers crossed...) I encourage you to go into the archives and solve any puzzles you missed.