January 31, 2023


Constructor: Amanda Rafkin

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
WANT TO TRY IT (17A: "Care for a taste?")
WARM-UP SUIT (37A: Exercise outfit)
WATER SPIRIT (61A: Mami Wata, for example)

Theme synopsis: The word WAIT is found AROUND each theme answer.

Things I learned:
  • WATER SPIRIT (61A: Mami Wata, for example) Mami Wata, whose name may be derived from "Mother WATER" is a WATER SPIRIT celebrated in much of Africa as well as in the African diaspora. Mami Wata is often depicted as a mermaid or a snake charmer.
  • MAESTRO (12D: Gustavo Dudamel, for one) Gustavo Dudamel is an eminent conductor, and the subject of the 2022 documentary ¡Viva MAESTRO! Originally from Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel is currently the Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Music Director of the Opéra National de Paris and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Gustavo Dudamel believes "music has the power to transform lives, to inspire, and to change the world."
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • TIANA (15A: Disney princess voiced by Anika Noni Rose) TIANA is the princess in the Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog (which happens to be my daughter's favorite animated Disney movie). As the clue informs us, TIANA - who was Disney's first Black princess - is voiced by Anika Noni Rose.
  • RASTA (28A: Worshipper of Jah) The religion known as Rastafari or Rastafarianism developed in the 1930s in Jamaica. Rastafari is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible. RASTA beliefs include monotheism, a belief in one God, who is referred to as Jah.
  • PAW (1D: Kitty's "hand") Sometimes a kitty's PAW might be used to sneak a taste of tea.
    Willow using her PAW 
  • LIN (3D: ___-Manuel Miranda) Here's a fun fact about LIN-Manuel Miranda. He named his first son Sebastian after the Jamaican crab in The Little Mermaid. The credits of Disney's Moana, for which LIN-Manual Miranda wrote the songs, list babies born during the movie's production. Sebastian's name tops the list.
  • SATURN (10D: Second-largest planet) As the clue informs us, SATURN, the sixth planet from the Sun, is the second-largest planet. Which planet is the largest? That would be Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun. This Universe Today article will fill you in on the sizes of all the planets, if you're interested. 
  • SKA (31D: Reel Big Fish genre) Reel Big Fish formed as a SKA band in 1991. Their most recent album, released in 2018, is titled Life Sucks...Let's Dance. I learned about Reel Big Fish from the October 21, 2021 puzzle
  • ROY (63D: "Succession" surname) Succession is a TV series that focuses on the ROY family, the owners of a global media and entertainment conglomerate, Waystar ROYCo. The fourth season of the TV show is scheduled to release in March of this year.

    Geography review:

    • ASIAN (14A: From India or Laos, for example) India, which is located in South Asia, is the second-most populous country in the world, behind China. Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia.
    • MAYAN (58A: Like the ruins of Coba) Located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, the ruins of Coba provide evidence of a MAYAN city. The Maya civilization developed in the area that is now southeastern Mexico between 250 and 1697 CE. The settlement of Coba is thought to date back as far as 300 BCE. Over 50 stone causeways, raised pathways called sacbes, have been excavated, which connect residential areas to the main pyramid. Although only a portion of Coba has been excavated, it's estimated that at its peak 50,000 people lived in Coba. 
    • UAE (39D: Burj Khalifa's country, for short) I have previously written about the Burj Khalifa, a half-mile tall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
    • ATL (41D: City where you might get the direction "Go down Peachtree" (Abbr.)) If you are in Atlanta (ATL), Georgia, and someone tells you to, "Go down Peachtree," you might want to ask for some clarification. There are 71 streets in Atlanta with "Peachtree" (or some variation) in their names
    It was definitely worth it to WAIT AROUND for this puzzle. In addition to the answers I've highlighted above, I enjoyed EATS CROW, AMSCRAYS, and GET USED TO IT. I have recently talked about near asymmetry (see the January 26 and January 27 puzzles), and this grid is another great example. This puzzle has near rotational symmetry. Can you find the one asymmetric block? (Hint: It's allowing the inclusion of a 10-letter theme answer.) Thank you, Amanda, for this puzzle that was an enjoyable way to start my Tuesday.


    1. editor byline on this puzzle should be Amanda's - apologies for the error, and thanks Sally for the great writeup! 🤩

      1. Will correct! Thanks. (I actually wondered about this...)


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