March 26, 2023

 Title: Inner Planets

Constructor: Stella Zawistowski

Editor: Anna Gundlach

Guest Blogger: Matthew Stock

Theme answers:

NOW HEAR THIS (15A: Nautical command to pay attention)
MY HEART HURTS (23A: Dax breakup song of 2020)
SPEAR THROWER (47A: Device for tossing javelins)
CLEAR THE AIR (59A: Defuse a tense situation)

Theme synopsis: the word EARTH is concealed in each theme phrase.

Things I learned:
  • ALA (18A: Pollo ___ diabla) As the name suggests, pollo a la diabla is a very spicy chicken dish which features guajillo chiles, chiles de arbol, and chiles in adobo sauce. I haven't had it before, but it looks tasty!
  • SPEAR THROWER (47A: Device for tossing javelins) I expected this to be clued as a person, but a spear thrower is a tool that a person can use to throw a spear faster and farther. It somewhat closely resembles the ChuckIt! dog ball thrower.
  • HAS (62D: "A New Day ___ Come" (Celine Dion song)) "A New Day Has Come" is the title track from Dion's 2002 album. It peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it also spent a record-breaking 21 weeks atop the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks. The current Adult Contemporary chart-topper is Taylor Swift's "Anti-Hero." (The No. 1 song for the month of December was the Backstreet Boys' "Last Christmas").
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ARE (58A: "Who ___ you wearing?") I love Stella's fill-in-the-blank clues in this puzzle — this is an angle that I don't think I've seen before, and it's really fun!
  • ANAGRAMMED: (8D: Turned "dormitory" into "dirty room") What a great anagram find! My favorite recently has been LPGA TOUR and PORTUGAL, but those don't have nearly as much to do with each other as Stella's pair. Do you have any other fun anagram discoveries?
  • CLAMP (32A: Woodworker's tool) I recently bought some wood with the intention of building a screech owl nest box for near our house, but my momentum has slowed after I realized just how few tools I had to accomplish this task. A CLAMP will be on my Lowe's list when I do get around to finishing this project. 

Geography Review:
  • OSLO (13A: World capital with a Viking Ship Museum) It looks like Norway's Viking Ship Museum will not be the Viking Ship Museum for much longer! Per its website, the museum has been closed since 2021 for rebuilding — they will celebrate their reopening and 100th birthday in 2026 as the Museum of the Viking Age. 
  • LAKE GENEVA (29D: Swiss body of water) Lake Geneva is the largest body of water in Switzerland. It forms a crescent shape along the Rhone River in the southwest corner of the country.

Hi all! Matthew happily subbing in for Sally today. I'm used to solving Zhouqin Burnikel puzzles when I guest blog Sundays, so I was surprised and also excited to see a different byline! This puzzle from Stella was a delightful start to my Sunday. I enjoyed how EARTH breaks across two words in each phrase, and how there are no repeated words (even small ones like "the"). As I mentioned earlier, ANAGRAMMED made me smile, and I enjoyed plenty of other tidbits along the way. Thank you, Stella!