February 4, 2024


Constructors: Amanda Rafkin & Brooke Husic

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
BEAR WITH ME (16A: "I'll need your patience for a sec")
PACKAGE DEAL (33A: All-inclusive offer)
WORKER BEES (55A: Hive members that do tasks)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer can be placed AFTER the word CARE to form a new phrase: CARE BEAR, CARE PACKAGE, and CARE WORKER.

Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • GMAT (6A: B-school applicant's exam) B-school here is Business School, and the GMAT is the Graduate Management Admission Test.
  • I CARE (13A: Beyonce song about someone still invested in a relationship) "I CARE" is a song from BeyoncĂ©'s fourth studio album, 4 (2011). This is a fun bonus answer that echoes the "CARE" in the puzzle's title.
  • AARI (14A: Los Angeles Sparks player McDonald) AARI McDonald is a professional basketball player in the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association). Until just a few days ago, she played for the Atlanta Dream, who selected her in the 2021 WNBA Draft. On February 1 of this year, AARI McDonald was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks. When I learned about AARI McDonald from the August 9, 2022 puzzle, I discovered the fun fact that she and I share a birthday (though I am quite a bit older).
  • OBI (21A: "Star Wars" mentor ___-Wan Kenobi) In the first Star Wars movie to be released, retroactively titled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), OBI-Wan Kenobi is a mentor to young Luke Skywalker. OBI-Wan Kenobi was also a mentor to Anakin Skywalker, which is seen in the prequels. 
  • RAP (50A: Ice Spice genre) I have previously written about the RAP artist Ice Spice.
  • DECAL (61A: "Honk if you love cats!" sticker, e.g.) Honk! Willow thinks this is an absolutely delightful saying to be featured on a DECAL. "And who doesn't love cats?" she wants to know.
    The head of a calico cat. It's eyes are wide open.
  • MAHAL (7D: The Taj ___) The Taj MAHAL, a mausoleum housing the tomb of a Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, and his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is located in Agra, India.
  • JUDIT POLGAR (10D: Hungarian chess great) JUDIT POLGAR was 15 years old when she achieved the title of Grandmaster, the highest title a chess master can attain. From 1989 until her retirement in 2014, JUDIT POLGAR was the top-rated woman chess player. In 2021, she was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame.
  • ELPHABA (37D: "Wicked" character originated by Idina Menzel) Idina Menzel won a 2003 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of ELPHABA in the musical Wicked. In that role, she sang the song "Defying Gravity." Here's a fun fact: In April 2010, "Defying Gravity" was used as a wake-up song for astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger aboard the space shuttle, 
  • WHO (55D: "Doctor ___" (Ncuti Gatwa's show)) Ncuti Gatwa is the current incarnation (the fifteenth) of the Doctor in the BBC TV series, Dr. WHO. On the show, the Doctor is an alien Time Lord that travels in time and space in a machine called a TARDIS ("Time and Relative Dimension in Space"). At the end of each incarnation's life, the Doctor regenerates, resulting in a change of physical appearance and personality. The first show featuring Ncuti Gatwa aired December 25, 2023.
In addition to the answers highlighted above, I also especially enjoyed I'M UP FOR THAT, GEYSERS, SASHAY, and BONSAI. Thank you, Amanda and Brooke, for this enjoyable puzzle!