December 6, 2022


Constructor: Brooke Husic

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
FOOD DRIVE (17A: Event to combat hunger)
MUSIC TO MY EARS (26A: Something I love to hear)
SEARCH HISTORY (42A: List of visited webpages)
TRAIN RIDE (57A: Journey from Union Station)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer can follow the word SOUL to give us SOUL FOOD, SOUL MUSIC, SOUL SEARCH, and SOUL TRAIN.

And now a word from our constructor:
Brooke: - i recommend listening to this slam poem by Taylor Steele about the appropriation of AAVE
Cannoli the guinea pig

- shoutout to natan and hannah's guinea pigs for the inspiration for 64a and 65a -- the one in the photo is cannoli (photo credit: hannah)

Things I learned:
  • PUSH PRESENT (24D: Gift given for giving birth) I had never heard of a PUSH PRESENT before. Although the idea of a PUSH PRESENT - a gift to a new parent, often from their partner - has been a tradition in India for a couple of hundred years, only in the last couple of decades has the idea gained traction in the United States. (Well, that explains why I have never received a PUSH PRESENT, even though I've given birth twice!) A PUSH PRESENT is often jewelry, though it can be anything. This Insider article gives examples of some extravagant PUSH PRESENTS received by celebrities, such as a $12,000 necklace or a custom motorcycle. (I am just fine with not knowing about PUSH PRESENTs at the time my kids were born.)
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • PTO (24A: Workplace abbreviation whose P stands for "paid") PTO = paid time off 
  • TRIO (33A: The Fugees, for example) and RAP (59D: Fugees genre) The members of the RAP TRIO, the Fugees, are Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel. The Fugees have won two Grammy Awards: Best Rap Album for their 1997 album, The Score, and Best R&B Vocal Performance for their version of "Killing Me Softly."
  • OF A (40A: Four ___ kind) Fun that four OF A kind was a theme answer yesterday and a clue today. 
  • ELIUD (47A: Kipchoge who broke his own world record at the 2022 Berlin Marathon) When I first learned about ELIUD Kipchoge from the July 6, 2020 puzzle, I wrote that he held the world record for the marathon with a time of 2:01:39. As the clue tells us, at this year's Berlin Marathon, ELIUD Kipchoge broke his own record, running the marathon in a time of 2:01:09. In fact, of the six fastest official marathon times, ELIUD Kipchoge holds four of them.
  • ARE (52A: The r in "hru?") hru? = how are you?
  • EYES (64A: Ruby-colored parts of some guinea pigs) and PETS (65A: Guinea pigs, for example) This was a fun pair of consecutive clues. My family has had a few different guinea pigs as PETS over the years, though I honestly don't remember what color their EYES were. (I will have to go looking through some photos.) Guinea pig EYES may be black brown, dark ruby, ruby, blue, or pink. Regardless of the color of their EYES, apparently the vision of guinea pigs is not very good. Guinea pigs can make good PETS, as they are social animals. Welcome to Natan and Hannah's guinea pig, Cannoli, who is the first guinea pig to join the PETS of Sally's Take. Thank you, Brooke, for sharing Cannoli's photo.
  • MAGMA (26D: Lava's underground counterpart) In September, I wrote about the difference between lava and MAGMA. 
  • AAVE (52D: Language often misrepresented as "Gen Z-speak") I learned the term AAVE, which stands for African American Vernacular English, earlier this year. AAVE is a dialect of English spoken by many Black people in urban U.S. communities. Here's an article that takes a look at the misidentification of AAVE. I also second Brooke's recommendation of Taylor Steele's slam poem about the appropriation of AAVE. Listening to it is a worthy way to spend two minutes of your day.

    Geography review:

    • AKRON (19A: Ohio city) AKRON, Ohio is located in the northeastern part of the state, about 40 miles south of Cleveland. The city's nickname is the "Rubber Capital of the World," as it is home to the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
    • ASIA (62A: Korea's continent) Korea is a region in East Asia. The countries of North Korea and South Korea are located on the Korean peninsula. It's been a few months since we've seen our crossword-friend, ASIA. The last time it appeared was August 31.
    • OSLO (50D: Capital city on a fjord) On the other hand, we have seen our crossword-friend, OSLO, quite recently - yesterday, in fact. OSLO is the capital of Norway.
    An enjoyable theme today presented in a beautiful and striking grid. My favorite theme answer is MUSIC TO MY EARS. I also smiled at the appearance of HTTP (38A: URL letters before ://) just above SEARCH HISTORY. Another fun thing: TAKE ME THERE with its relatable clue (10D: "Ugh, that looks like the perfect destination"). Thank you, Brooke, for this puzzle, that was a terrific way to start my Tuesday.