March 22, 2023


Constructor: Neville Fogarty

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
WHIRLPOOL (17A: Circular current of water)
WORLD IDOL (41A: Singing competition show in which Kelly Clarkson represented the U.S.)
WOODSY OWL (63A: "Give a hoot! Don't pollute" mascot)

Theme synopsis:  Each theme answer is found within the word WOOL, that is ... IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING.

Things I learned:
  • ADDRESS (21A: 1 Lucille Lane, Newport Coast, CA, for example) This clue is obviously an ADDRESS, so filling in the answer was not a problem. What I learned is that this is the ADDRESS for the Arrested Development model house, the residence of the Bluth family. The original Arrested Development TV series aired from 2003-2006, and a revival series aired from 2013-2019. A nice extra for Arrested Development fans.
  • NORMA (68A: ___ MacMillan, voice of Casper and Gumby) NORMA MacMillan (1921-2001) was a Canadian actress best known for her voice work. As the clue informs us, she voiced the characters of Casper the Friendly Ghost on The New Casper Cartoon Show, and Gumby on The Gumby Show.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • IDIOM (16A: "Pig in a poke" or "ducks in a row") Or a "wolf IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING," say.
  • STORKS (26A: 2016 movie about delivery birds) In the 2016 animated movie STORKS, the title characters are working at a package delivery business that was started after the STORKS' baby delivery business was shut down by the STORK CEO (a STORK named Hunter, voiced by Kelsey Grammer).
  • WORLD IDOL (41A: Singing competition show in which Kelly Clarkson represented the U.S.) WORLD IDOL was a one-time international version of the TV competition show, Pop IDOL, that aired in December 2003 and January 2004. Kelly Clarkson - spoiler alert! - placed second in the competition, behind Kurt Nilsen of Norway.
  • CAGED (52A: "I Know Why the ___ Bird Sings") I Know Why the CAGED Bird Sings is the title of Maya Angelou's 1969 autobiography.
  • WOODSY OWL (63A: "Give a hoot! Don't pollute" mascot) WOODSY OWL has been a mascot for the U.S. Forest Service since 1970. WOODSY OWL was introduced to assist Smokey the Bear - who has been around since 1944 - in motivating children to form healthy relationships with nature. Although WOODSY OWL was created in 1970, his signature phrase, "Give a hoot! Don't pollute," wasn't introduced until the following year. Here's a fun thing: I was six-years-old when WOODSY OWL first encouraged kids to "Give a hoot! Don't pollute."
  • ISLA (8D: "Wolf Like Me" actress Fisher) Wolf Like Me is a TV series that premiered in January 2022. ISLA Fisher stars as Mary, an advice columnist struggling with emotional baggage. Although ISLA Fisher has many other acting credits, it's a nice touch to choose a series with "wolf" in the title for this ...IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING-themed puzzle. There's a tie-in with the clue for ADDRESS, as ISLA Fisher's acting credits include a recurring role (as Rebel Alley) in the fourth and fifth seasons of Arrested Development. 
  • AMOS (13D: Cookie entrepreneur Wally ___) You might even say this cookie entrepreneur is famous, as Wally AMOS founded the Famous AMOS brand of cookies in 1975. 
  • EDU (38D: www.hamptonu.___) Hampton University is a private, historically Black university in Hampton, Virginia. Hampton University alumni include Booker T. Washington (1875) and Wanda Sykes (1986).
  • DECADES (44D: Time periods often abbreviated with apostrophes) This is an interesting clue that made me think. DECADES are often referred to using an apostrophe: the '80s as a short form for the 1980s, for example.
  • BLT (59D: Sandwiches with two vegetables) You see, a BLT is a balanced meal!

    Geography review:

    • MALI (5A: Timbuktu's country) Timbuktu is a Western African city in the country of MALI. Timbuktu is located North of the Niger River, and on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert.
    • TAMPA (9A: Florida city where "Magic Mike" is set) Magic Mike is a 2012 movie centered on the lives of male strippers that perform at the Xquisite Strip Club in TAMPA, Florida. Channing Tatum stars in the movie, which is inspired by experiences he had while working as an 18-year-old exotic dancer in TAMPA. A sequel to the movie, Magic Mike XXL was released in 2015, and a third movie, Magic Mike's Last Dance, was released earlier this year.
    • BERN (45A: Swiss National Library city) The Swiss National Library, located in BERN, Switzerland, was created in 1894, and is charged with collecting and preserving information connected with Switzerland. The library's collection includes books, newspapers, periodicals, atlases, and printed music, as well as an extensive Swiss poster collection.
    • EST (49A: NC time zone) Like D.C., which was referenced yesterday in a clue for EDT, North Carolina (NC) is in the Eastern time zone, and observes Eastern Standard Time (EST) when not on Daylight Saving Time.
    Sometimes, when we're lucky, the USA Today crossword treats us to multi-day stories told in the titles of the puzzles. Today we have the perfect follow-up to yesterday's WOLF! puzzle ... IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING. I enjoyed that surprise when I opened today's puzzle. This grid exhibits my favorite kind of asymmetry; it is nearly symmetrical. With the exception of two black squares, the puzzle would have top-bottom mirror symmetry. Thank you, Neville, for this puzzle that was a wonderful way to start my Wednesday.