December 29, 2022


Constructor: Brooke Husic

Editor: Anna Gundlach

Theme Answers:
KANSAS CITY STAR (19A: Midwest newspaper that ran Melinda Henneberger's Pulitzer Prize-winning work)
BERLIN MARATHON (34A: Race through Germany's capital)
THAT'S THE TICKET (51A: "Exactly!")

Theme synopsis: The ENDING word of each theme answer can also be an ENDING for the word MOVIE, giving us MOVIE STAR, MOVIE MARATHON, and MOVIE TICKET.

And now a word from our constructor:
Brooke: i really enjoyed erik's 2022 in sports puzzle, which shares an answer with this one
i also love "i'm that girl" and "church girl" by beyoncé, rihanna's "pon de replay," and jj jackson's "but it's alright"

Things I learned:
  • WAWA (1D: Convenience store chain with an Ojibwe name) The WAWA convenience stores are located in the east coast area of the United States. According to the company's store locator, the closest WAWA to me is located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The company takes its name from the location of its headquarters, WAWA, Pennsylvania. The town of WAWA's name is derived from the Ojibwe word for snow goose.
  • KISS CURLS (3D: Flattened baby hair designs) I've seen this hair design before, but the term KISS CURLS is new to me. A KISS CURL is a lock of hair curled onto the face and plastered down with soap or lotion. Another name for a KISS CURL is a spit CURL, as saliva was sometimes used to hold the lock of hair in place. KISS CURLS were popular in the 1920s, thanks in large part to Josephine Baker. The style has made a comeback in the last few years.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • KANSAS CITY STAR (19A: Midwest newspaper that ran Melinda Henneberger's Pulitzer Prize-winning work) Melinda Henneberger joined the KANSAS CITY STAR's Editorial Board in 2017. This year, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for a series of columns demanding justice for alleged victims of a retired KANSAS CITY police detective accused of sexual abuse. You can read Melinda Henneberger's award-winning columns here. The former police detective who was the focus of Melinda Henneberger's columns was indicted in September of this year, and again in November.
  • GIRL (30A: Follower of "Church" or "I'm The" in Beyonce song titles) "Church GIRL" and "I'm That GIRL" are songs from BeyoncĂ©'s album, Renaissance, which was released in July of this year.
  • BUN (38A: Tofu dog holder) I think I wasn't quite awake when I was solving the puzzle this morning, because my brain had difficulty parsing this clue correctly. I initially read it as [Tofu / dog holder], and was extremely confused. "A leash made out of tofu? What in the world?" After rereading the clue several times, it finally clicked that it is [Tofu dog / holder], and I laughed at myself.
  • ASH (40A: Tree with "helicopter seeds") Today I learned (when I looked it up) that the term for a "helicopter seed" is  "samara." Multiple kinds of trees produce samara, the papery winged seeds that I simply cannot resist picking up and tossing in the air when I see them on the ground. I generally associate helicopter seeds with maple trees, but they are also produced by ASH trees and elm trees.
  • DAHI (42A: Lassi yogurt) DAHI is a yogurt product that originated from the Indian subcontinent. Lassi is a blend of DAHI, water, and spices. Fruit is sometimes added.
  • RIRI (58A: "Pon de Replay" singer, to fans) Rihanna - known as RIRI to fans - released her debut single, "Pon de Replay" in 2005. The song reached the top of Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.
  • LATS (60A: Back muscles stretched in eagle pose) Eagle pose (garudasana) is a standing pose in modern yoga as exercise.
  • J. J. JACKSON (8D: "But It's Alright" singer) J. J. JACKSON's single, "But It's Alright," was released in 1966. As I was solving the across answers in the puzzle, I saw those Js stack up and thought, "Can that possibly be right?" Delightful to discover that it was.
  • ODE (24D: "___ to my Right Knee" (Rita Dove poem)) Rita Dove is a former United States Poet Laureate (1993-1995). Her poem, "ODE to My Right Knee," was written in response to an assignment she gave herself to write a poem in which each word in each line begins with the same letter. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch Rita Dove read "ODE to My Right Knee" and explain how the poem came to be written.

    Geography review:

    • JFK (8A: NYC airport named for a president) John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is located in the New York City (NYC) borough of Queens. It opened in 1948 as New York International Airport, and was renamed in 1963 to honor John F. Kennedy. Two other major airports serve the NYC area: Laguardia Airport (LGA), also in Queens, is named after former NYC mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The oldest of the airports in the NYC area is Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). It is located between two cities in New Jersey, Newark and Elizabeth, and is nine miles from the NYC borough of Manhattan.
    • BERLIN MARATHON (34A: Race through Germany's capital) BERLIN is the capital and largest city of Germany. The BERLIN MARATHON is run annually on the last weekend of September. At this year's BERLIN MARATHON, Eliud Kipchoge - who I wrote about earlier this month - set the current world record of 2:01:09 (breaking his own record to do so).
    • IOWA (56A: State with the only two-vowel postal code) Hello from IOWA, where our postal code is IA.
    "THAT'S THE TICKET!" is my favorite answer in this puzzle full of delightful answers. OH WOW, I also liked BIRTH CHART, HAIR CLAW, and TRUSTY. I appreciate that the meaning of STAR, MARATHON, and TICKET is different when used in the theme answers and when paired with MOVIE. Thank you, Brooke, for this puzzle of ENDINGS that was a nice beginning to my Thursday.