March 28, 2023

Title: Feed Me! 

Constructor: Matthew Stock

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Guest BloggerShannon Rapp

Theme Answers:

BEASTMODE (17A: State of elite performance)

METERSTICK (28A: Measuring device that's slightly over 3 feet long)

KITTYCORNER (44A: Diagonally across the street)

FLAMESOUT (57A: Fails quickly)

Theme synopsis: All four theme entries begin with things you might FEED. 

Things I learned:

  • 24A AVATAR (Incarnation of a deity, in Hinduism). Interesting how the meaning of avatar has morphed over time. When it first appeared in English in the late 18th century, it referred to the descent of a deity to the Earth—typically, the incarnation in earthly form of Vishnu or another Hindu deity. It later came to refer to any incarnation in human form, and then to any embodiment (such as that of a concept or philosophy), whether or not in the form of a person. In the age of technology, AVATAR has developed another sense—it can now be used for the image that a person chooses as his or her "embodiment" in an electronic medium. And of course, now it's the name given to a science fiction movie series.
  • 26A SKA (Toots and the Maytals genre). I have never heard of this group! While writing this, I listened to "Do The Reggay" (linked below), which was the first song to use the word "reggae," coining the name of the genre. 
  • 39D PINE (Tree with a loblolly variety). The loblolly pine is the second most common tree species in the United States (after red maple). 

Random thoughts and interesting things: 

I enjoyed that all four theme entries are things that can be "fed" in different ways, and they are all linguistic phrases: Feed the beast, feed the meter, feed the kitty, and feed the flames. Each entry uses a different interpretation of their base word as well so it's a nicely elegant set - which we've all come to expect from Matthew's work! I also appreciated seeing some of the other clues references in this puzzle: SOMEDAY (12A Word sighed by a dreamer) and PACKRAT (39A Rodent that accumulates a bunch of stuff in its nest) are super evocative, and TRAY (13D Bird ___ (card holder in Wingspan)) and THATSMINE (33D "I called dibs!") are very fun. I also like that this grid is almost deceptively asymmetrical. The block pattern in the middle section is eye-catching enough to make me not notice the near-symmetry at first.

Geography Review:
  • OSLO (63A Norway's capital) The city of OSLO is home to several episodes of "Slow TV," a genre the creator describes as "boring" and I find soothing. Think twelve-hour long videos of fireplaces, the entire process of making a sweater from sheep to sleeve, and two guys salmon fishing for hours. 

Hi readers! I'm Shannon Rapp, and I'm back with another guest blog for Sally's Take today. Happy March 28th to all who celebrate! That is, today is the official launch day of These Puzzl3s Fund Abortion! Sally and I both have puzzles in the pack. 💖 I've done most of the puzzles already, and just like previous iterations, they are all great. Read more, donate, and get the puzzles here.

And speaking of KITTYCORNERs, say hello again to Roxie, who's almost a year old now. Her favorite hobby is sitting on piles of crossword puzzles. 

Sally, thanks for letting me fill in today, and I'm excited to see you this weekend at ACPT! Readers, please consider supporting Sally's Take if you are able. (See the yellow Donate button to the side or below). If you are interested in talking puzzles with me more, or want to make a puzzle with me, please contact me on twitter