June 13, 2023


Constructor: Brooke Husic

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
ANGEL REESE (4D: LSU basketball star)
ENEMY OF THE STATE (7D: 1998 Will-Smith-v.-the-NSA film)
DUKE ELLINGTON (9D:Jazz pianist who had chromesthesia)

Theme synopsis: The TOPS of the theme answers are words that can follow the word ARCH. We have an ARCHANGEL, an ARCHENEMY, and an ARCHDUKE.

And now a word from our constructor:
Brooke: i had a great time cluing this one -- i love the tie-ins of 4d+41a+23d+34d, 9d+2d, and 40a+48a+43a. i was also happy to include TAMPON TAX and SEWISTS in this grid.

Things I learned:
  • NFL (24A: "League of Denial" sports org.) League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis was a Frontline documentary originally aired on PBS in 2013. There is also a book, co-authored by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for the Truth. As you can tell from the titles, the documentary and the book address traumatic brain injury in the NFL.
  • SOBS (53A: Reacts to the end of "Song of Achilles," perhaps) The Song of Achilles, a 2011 book by Madeline Miller, is an adaptation of Homer's Iliad. I've read the summary of the book, and although to avoid spoilers I'm not going to tell you about it, I can see why one might SOB at the end of it.
  • ANGEL REESE (4D: LSU basketball star) and STAT (41A: 15.4 rebounds per game, for one) and NCAA (23D: March Madness org.) and ARENA (34D: Basketball venue) ANGEL REESE began her college basketball career at Maryland, before transferring to LSU before her junior year. LSU won the 2023 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, and ANGEL REESE was named the Most Outstanding Player. During her junior year, ANGEL REESE averaged 15.4 rebounds per game. A nice little mini-theme going on with these four answers. 
  • ENEMY OF THE STATE (7D: 1998 Will-Smith-v.-the-NSA film) ENEMY OF THE STATE is a 1998 movie starring Will Smith as a lawyer who unsuspectingly ends up in possession of a video exposing the NSA's involvement in the murder of a congressman.
  • THE (2D: "In a sentimental mood / I can see ___ stars come through my room") and DUKE ELLINGTON (9D:Jazz pianist who had chromesthesia) "In a Sentimental Mood" is a 1935 jazz composition that begins with the lyrics, "In a sentimental mood / I can see THE stars come through my room." The song was composed by DUKE ELLINGTON, who recorded it with his orchestra. I knew of DUKE ELLINGTON (1899-1974), but I did not recognize these song lyrics, or realize that he had chromesthesia. In people with chromesthesia, sounds spontaneously invoke colors.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ONES (13A: "The ___ Who Walk Away From Omelas" (Le Guin story)) " The ONES Who Walk Away From Omelas" is a short story by Ursula K. LeGuin. The story is about a summer festival in Omelas, a utopian city where prosperity is dependent on the misery of a single child. I learned about this short story from the July 9, 2021 puzzle.
  • UBER (15A: Company sued for violating the ADA by charging for wait times) The Justice Department brought a lawsuit against the ride-sharing company UBER for charging an extra fee that started two minutes after a car arrived and was charged per minute until the trip started. Federal prosecutors argued that the "wait time" fee discriminated against people with mobility challenges that may need additional time to get into a vehicle. In July of last year, UBER settled the suit, agreeing to reimburse users and institute a waiver that riders can apply for that will waive wait time fees.
  • UFO (37A: "Nope" spacecraft) I have previously written about the 2022 movie, Nope, which is directed by Jordan Peele and features a UFO nicknamed "Jean Jacket."
  • TAMPON TAX (65A: Cost associated with not classifying menstrual products as basic necessities) The TAMPON TAX, also referred to as the Period TAX, is a term used to call attention to the fact that various products such as TAMPONs and pads, are essential products for people that have periods, but they are taxed as if they are non-essential.
  • REC (16D: Suggestion, for short) and TIP (21D: Suggestion) Need a suggestion?
  • SEWISTS (36D: Needle and thread artists) I have previously written about the gender-neutral term SEWISTS used to describe needle and thread artists. 
  • MEOW (39D: Tabby's sound) and PET (66D: Animal that might sleep in a people bed) I am headed home today after being gone for almost a week, and I am sure that I will be greeted with many
    MEOWs! Willow usually sleeps on my side of the bed; the only time she sleeps on my husband's side of the bed is when I'm gone. My husband sent me this photo: Willow is sleeping on his side of the bed, but she has her back turned toward him. 

    Geography review:

    • UTAH (61D: Great Salt Lake's state) Yesterday we saw SLC, which is short for Salt Lake City, in the puzzle. Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah. Salt Lake City takes its name from the Great Salt Lake.
    • LAVA (62D: Mauna Loa flow) I also mentioned the volcanic mountain Mauna Loa in yesterday's write-up. Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the island of Hawai'i. Mauna Loa is an active volcano, and has likely been erupting and spewing LAVA for over 700,000 years. The most recent eruption of Mauna Loa occurred in November and December of last year.
    It's the second day in a row we have a puzzle constructed by Brooke Husic. Aren't we lucky? In addition to the answers I've highlighted above, I enjoyed SLEPT LATE, WHO'S WITH ME, and MAGNETIC. Thank you, Brooke, for this puzzle that was a fabulous way to start my Tuesday.