March 1, 2024


Constructor: Hannah Slovut

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
GENERATION ALPHA (2D: Group younger than Zoomers)
FINAL PRODUCT (4D: End result)
RECREATIONAL POT (9D: In 2012, it first became legal in Colorado)
NATIONAL PARK (21D: Glacier or Yosemite, e.g.)

Theme synopsis: The word PLAN is found BACKwards and going UP in each vertical theme answer.
Things I learned:
  • NICOLE (44A: Singer Scherzinger) Singer, dancer, actress, and TV personality NICOLE Scherzinger is a former member of the pop group The Pussycat Dolls. Since leaving the group, she has released two studio albums, Killer Love (2011) and Big Fat Lie (2014). NICOLE Scherzinger was on Dancing with the Stars in 2010, and ***Spoiler Alert*** won the competition that year. Last year, NICOLE Scherzinger portrayed Norma Desmond on stage in a West End revival of Sunset Boulevard. This year she will make her Broadway debut in the same role.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • NECK (17A: Giraffes' can be six feet long) This is a fun animal fact. It's obvious, of course, that giraffes have long NECKs. It's interesting to think about the actuality that at six feet long, the NECK of a giraffe is longer than I am tall.
  • AARP (26A: Org. with the Movies For Grownups Awards) AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards have been given annually since 2002 with the purpose of honoring "films made by and for grownups." Specifically, the goal is to encourage Hollywood to make more movies by and about people over age 50. The 2024 winner of the Movies for Grownups Awards for Best Picture is Killers of the Flower Moon, which was directed by (80-year-old) Martin Scorsese.
  • SCISSOR (36A: ___ Sisters ("Let's Have a Kiki band)) I learned about the pop rock band the SCISSOR Sisters when the band's full name was a theme answer on August 18, 2020.
  • GOT MILK (38A: Slogan on posters where people have white mustaches) The "GOT MILK?" ads by MilkPEP (Milk Processor Education Program) featuring various celebrities with milk mustaches began in 1995, were discontinued in 2014, and then revived in 2020. The "GOT MILK?" slogan has been referenced in pop culture, and has been parodied many times. 
  • ALAN (48A: Mathematician Turing) I have previously written about mathematician, computer scientist, code-breaker, and logician ALAN Turing.
  • AC/DC (49A: "Thunderstruck" band) "Thunderstruck" is a 1990 song by the hard rock band AC/DC, from their album The Razors Edge. It is used as a theme song by the WNBA's Seattle Storm.
  • LEEK (67A: Vichyssoise veggie) Traditionally served cold, vichyssoise is a soup made from LEEKs, onions, potatoes, and cream.
  • GENERATION ALPHA (2D: Group younger than Zoomers) Generation Z, aka Zoomers, refers to those born between 1996 and 2010. GENERATION ALPHA is the generational designation for those born in the year 2011 or later. 
  • RECREATIONAL POT (9D: In 2012, it first became legal in Colorado) Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize RECREATIONAL POT; as the clue tells us, that happened in 2012. Before that, many states had legalized medical marijuana, beginning with California in 1996. Since 2012, 24 states – and Washington, D.C. and Guam – have legalized RECREATIONAL POT. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. 
  • TRIO (12D: The Sanderson Sisters, e.g.) The Sanderson Sisters are a TRIO of witches portrayed by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. They are the main antagonists of the movies Hocus Pocus (1993) and Hocus Pocus 2 (2022). I learned about the Sanderson Sisters from the May 13, 2022 puzzle. I also wrote about them on September 20, 2023.
  • ANTI (14D: 2016 Rihanna album) ANTI was Rihanna's eighth studio album. Three songs from the album became top ten hits: "Work" (featuring the rapper Drake), "Needed Me," and "Love on the Brain."
  • NATIONAL PARK (21D: Glacier or Yosemite, e.g.) This is my favorite of today's
    A mountain scene featuring a mother mountain goat and two younger goats.
    great set of theme answers. My husband and I are tremendous fans of the U.S. NATIONAL PARK system, and enjoy visiting them whenever possible. Glacier NATIONAL PARK is located in northwestern Montana. The PARK is on the United States-Canada border, and is adjacent to Canada's Waterton Lakes NATIONAL PARK. I spent my 50th birthday in Glacier NATIONAL PARK (that was several years ago...). One of my favorite memories of that visit was a hike my husband and I went on where we saw a mama mountain goat and two kids. They were coming down a mountain and it soon became obvious they were heading in our direction. We stood still, and the goats crossed in front of us and went on their way. My husband and I also visited  Glacier NATIONAL PARK in the winter a few years ago and spent a couple of lovely hours cross country skiing through part of the park. Yosemite NATIONAL PARK is located in central California among the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Highlights of Yosemite are its granite cliffs and waterfalls. Yosemite NATIONAL PARK also contains groves of giant Sequoia trees; it's just over 100 miles north of Sequoia & Kings Canyon NATIONAL PARKs. One of the granite features of Yosemite
    Half Dome in Yosemite National Park - a granite mountain that looks like a dome cut in half.
    Half Dome

    NATIONAL PARK is Half Dome, so named because it resembles a dome that has been cut in half. Both Glacier NATIONAL PARK and Yosemite NATIONAL PARK are on my list of PARKs that I would like to visit again! My husband and I are on a quest to visit as many NATIONAL PARKs as we can. A couple of weeks ago we were at Death Valley NATIONAL PARK, which is the 32nd NATIONAL PARK we have visited. That means we have now officially visited over half of the 63 U.S. NATIONAL PARKs.
  • SAKE (31D: "For the ___ of a Child" ("Only Murders in the Building" song)) "For the SAKE of a Child" is a song from the third season of the TV series Only Murders in the Building. (As I have previously noted, I'm a fan of this show!) The storyline of the third season revolves around the production of a musical. The song is sung by Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd as the characters Loretta Durkin and Ben Glenroy.
  • DAYS (50D: There are 31 in March) Happy March! Fun to see this timely clue for DAYS.

    Geography review:

    • SAO (41A: ___ Paolo, Brazil) SAO Paolo, Brazil is the most populous city in Brazil, and the largest Portuguese-speaking city in the world. SAO Paolo is located in the southeastern part of Brazil, about 40 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
    • PEACH (1D: Fruit on a Georgia license plate) Georgia is nicknamed the PEACH State, a nod to the PEACHes grown in the state. In addition to a picture of a PEACH, Georgia license plates also feature the words "PEACH State."
    • UTE (62D: Utah native) Utah is named for the UTE, Indigenous peoples that have lived for thousands of years in the region that is now Utah and Colorado.
    It's good to have a BACKUP PLAN. This puzzle has not one, but four of them! In addition to the answers I've already highlighted, I also enjoyed OH REALLY, TALL TALE, and PATTER. Thank you, Hannah, for this delightful puzzle.