February 21, 2024


Constructor: Matthew Stock

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
DANCE THERAPY (19A: Movement practice that promotes mental health)
DO EXACTLY AS I SAY (38a: "Follow these instructions to the letter")
DATING AGENCY (55A: Organization that might help someone find love)

Theme synopsis: The word DAY is broken by each theme answer.
Things I learned:
  • SHY GUY (48D: Super Mario enemy with a rhyming name) I have not played many Mario video games, and therefore was not familiar with the masked character known as SHY GUY. The SHY GUYs were introduced in the game Super Mario Bros. 2. They wear a mask because they are SHY, and (apparently) can be defeated by picking them up and throwing them at another enemy or into a pit.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • DANCE THERAPY (19A: Movement practice that promotes mental health) The American DANCE THERAPY Association defines DANCE THERAPY as "the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual. DANCE THERAPY, in conjunction with other treatments, has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety. It's also used to treat some musculoskeletal disorders, and may have some benefit for patients with dementia. 
  • MAS (26A: Opposite of "menos") In Spanish, "MAS" means "more," and "menos" means "less."
  • DEV (47A: "Lion" actor Patel) Lion is a 2016 Australian movie based on the true story told in the 2013 book, A Long Way Home, by Saroo Brierley. DEV Patel stars as Saroo Brierley, a man setting out to find his family in India 25 years after he was separated from them.
  • ODE (68A: "___ to Ethiopia" (Paul Laurence Dunbar poem)) Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was a poet, novelist, and playwright in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His first poems were published in a Dayton, Ohio newspaper, when he was 16 years old. His poem "ODE to Ethiopia," was first published in 1893 in a book titled Oak and Ivy.
  • NBD (3D: "don't worry about it," in a text) NBD stands for "no big deal."
  • GARAM MASALA (10D: Spice blend that typically includes cardamom and cinnamon) GARAM MASALA is a spice blend whose composition varies by region, but may contain bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, mace, cardamom, ground cumin, coriander, and/or chili powder.
  • CAR (15D: Nissan Leaf) The Nissan Leaf is an electric CAR that was first produced in 2010. Its name, Leaf, is a backonym (an acronym formed after it was named) for leading environmentally-friendly affordable family CAR.
  • NSYNC (20D: "Bye Bye Bye" band) "Bye Bye Bye" was released by NSYNC in 2000. The song won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Pop Video.
  • LYLE (35D: Musician Lovett) LYLE Lovett is a country singer and songwriter. His 1996 album, The Road to Ensenada, won a Grammy Award for Best Country Album. 
  • YOWL (41D: Cat's "my claw is stuck in the sofa" sound) "YOWL!" Just reading this clue made me sad for the cat in question. To offset that sadness, I'm sharing a
    A calico cat sitting on a toilet seat. She has her tongue out and is licking her nose.

    silly photo of Willow licking her nose. 
  • MAORI (52D: Indigenous New Zealanders) The MĀORI are the indigenous Polynesian people whose ancestors migrated to the country known as New Zealand in the 1300s. Aotearoa (here's a link to its pronunciation) is the name for New Zealand in the MĀORI language.
  • A few more clues I especially enjoyed:
    • I DO (49A: "Yes, let's be married!")
    • HOLY (60A: "___ Toledo!")
    • DIBS (69A: "That one's mine!")

    Geography review:

    • ERIE (66A: Toledo's Great Lake) Toledo, Ohio is located in northern Ohio at the westernmost end of Lake ERIE. 
    • SAMOAN (34D: Resident of Apia) Apia is the capital of Samoa. It is the Polynesian island country's only city.
    • IDAHO (49D: Boise's state) Boise is the capital of IDAHO, and the state's most populous city.
    This is a delightful puzzle, whether you're actually solving it at DAYBREAK, or at some other time of DAY.  My favorite theme answer is DO EXACTLY AS I SAY. Thank you, Matthew, for this enjoyable puzzle.