April 1, 2023


Constructors: Rafael Musa & Rebecca Goldstein

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
RENEWABLE ENERGY (17A: Output of solar farms or wind turbines)
IN A GOOD MOOD (39A: Feeling happy)
I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL (62A: "Been there, my friend)

Theme synopsis: The RIGHT-most word of each theme answer is a synonym for VIBE: ENERGY, MOOD, FEEL.

Things I learned:
  • ALANA (16A: WNBA great Beard) Alana Beard is a former professional basketball player. She played for WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks from 2012-2019, and was the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019. 
  • DEER (29A: Animals that roam around Nara, Japan) Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in Japan. The city of Nara is home to over 1,000 Sitka DEER, that roam the city. Nara Park, where the DEER live, is also home to a Shinto Shrine (Kasuga Shrine). According to Japanese mythology, the god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a DEER, and therefore the DEER are regarded as heavenly animals. Some of the DEER have learned to bow to visitors in hopes of being fed. 
  • NATTY (36D: ___ Light beer) Natural Light, also known as NATTY Light, is a beer brewed by Anheuser-Busch. I'm not a beer drinker, so needed the help of crossings to get at this answer.
  • LOU (54D: "We Both Laughed in Pleasure" author Sullivan) We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of LOU Sullivan, 1961-1991 contains writings (as the name suggests) from LOU Sullivan's diaries. The book was published in 2019, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction. LOU Sullivan (1961-1991) was an author and activist, and was one of the first transgender men to publicly identify as gay, and his doing so helped shine a light on the understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • FAB (1A: ___ Five ("Queer Eye" squad)) The FAB FIVE is a nickname for the hosts of the reality TV series Queer Eye. The original version of the show, which premiered in 2003, featured the FAB Five of Ted Allen ("food and wine connoisseur"), Kyan Douglas ("grooming guru"), Thom Filicia ("Design Doctor"), Carson Kressley ("Fashion Savant"), and Jai Rodriguez ("Culture Vulture"). The 2018 revival of Queer Eye features a new FAB Five: Antoni Porowski ("Food and Wine"), Bobby Berk ("Design"), Jonathan Van Ness ("grooming"), Karamo Brown ("Culture and Lifestyle"), and Tan France ("Fashion"). 
  • NHL (24A: Montreal Canadiens' org.) The Montreal Canadiens are an ice hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL). The team was founded in 1909, and became a part of the NHL in 1917, making them the only existing NHL team to predate the NHL.
  • DAN (28A: "The Big Brunch" host ___ Levy) The Big Brunch is a cooking competition show that premiered in November 2022. DAN Levy hosts the show and serves as one of the judges for the competition in which chefs compete to win a cash prize. The chefs vie for that prize by cooking brunch, of course. 
  • COSINE (33A: Math function that's the "C" in SOHCAHTOA) SOHCAHTOA is a mnemonic for remembering trigonometric functions. In a right triangle, Sine = Opposite ÷ Hypotenuse, COSINE = Adjacent ÷ Hypotenuse, and Tangent = Opposite ÷ Adjacent.
  • IRL (50A: Non-online, for short) IRL = in real life. This weekend I am at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT) in Stamford, Connecticut. It is amazing (and also a bit surreal) to see so many crossword people that I have met online IRL. (I am also missing those who aren't here, including the constructors of today's puzzle! Wish you were here!)
  • ENGLAND (11D: Country where toad in the hole is eaten) Toad in the hole is a traditional dish served in ENGLAND that consists of sausages cooked in Yorkshire pudding batter. 
  • SETH (44D: NBA sharpshooter Curry) SETH Curry and his brother, Steph, both play basketball in the NBA. SETH Curry currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets. 

    Geography review:

    • LEONE (65A: Sierra ___ (African country)) Sierra LEONE is a country on the west coast of Africa. Its neighbors are Guinea and Liberia, and it has coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Sierra LEONE is Freetown.
    • LOS (70A: ___ Gatos, California) LOS Gatos is an unincorporated town in California that is located just southwest of San Jose in the San Francisco Bay Area. Part of Silicon Valley, LOS Gatos is home to several tech companies, including Netflix. LOS Gatos is Spanish for "The Cats," a reference to the cougars and bobcats that live in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Speaking of cats gives me an opportunity to share a photo of Willow, whom I am definitely missing while I'm on the road! I like this photo because she is somewhat camouflaged by the cat blanket she is on.

    This synonym puzzle has a fabulous VIBE / ENERGY / MOOD / FEEL, and it has put me IN A GOOD MOOD! Three fabulous theme answers here. I enjoyed seeing RENEWABLE ENERGY highlighted, and the grid-spanning "I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL" is a terrific entry. The clue for CHEETO (48D: Cheese puff that turns fingers orange) made me smile. Other great answers: PARODIED, MIXOLOGY, BE NICE, and I WILL NOT. Thank you, Rafa and Rebecca, for this puzzle that was a delightful way to start my Saturday.