March 6, 2024

Title: TTFN

Constructor: Jess Shulman

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers: 
STATE CAPITAL (20A: Madison or Montgomery)
STAGE ADAPTATION (40A: Movie that's been turned into a play, say)
POSTAGE STAMP (58A: One might be licked and put on an envelope)

Theme synopsis: TTFN stands for "ta-ta for now." Each theme answer contains a double TA, in other words, TA-TA: STATE CAPITAL, STAGE ADAPTATION, and POSTAGE STAMP.

Things I learned:
  • CARP (15A: Fish in masgouf) Masgouf, or seasoned, grilled CARP, is considered the national dish of Iraq.
  • BE STRONG (4D: Anti-bullying youth charity) BE STRONG is a global organization whose mission is to "save and improve the lives of our youth using a peer-to-peer approach to strengthen mental, emotional, and relational health, build resilience, and prevent bullying. BE STRONG provides educational resources, support for student-led initiatives, training, and digital intervention tools. This was a new organization to me, and I appreciate learning about their work.
  • TARA (6D: Hindu and Buddhist goddess who personifies compassion) In some traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, TARA is worshiped as one of the tantric goddesses. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ATTA (5A: Paratha flour) Paratha is a type of flatbread that originated from the Indian subcontinent. It is made with ATTA, a type of wheat flour. ATTA has a high gluten content, which results in dough that is strong and can be rolled into thin sheets. 
  • ARIAL (9A: Font originally called Sonoran Sans Serif) This is a fun fact. It was IBM that created Sonoran Sans Serif font in 1982. It was named after the IBM facilities in the Sonoran Desert (in Tucson, Arizona). The font was created to compete with Helvetica. I'm wondering how popular ARIAL would have been if its name had remained Sonoran Sans Serif.
  • RETRO (16A: Like rotary phones or tape decks) This clue made me chuckle. I am certainly old enough to remember rotary phones and tape decks. Just a few days ago I was trying to describe to someone (who is quite a bit younger than me) what it was like to make a phone call using a rotary phone. Those phone numbers with lots of 9s in them were the worst – I was constantly getting impatient and releasing the dial too soon, resulting in a wrong number.
  • SOO (24A: Broadway actress Phillipa) In 2015, Phillipa SOO originated the role of Eliza Hamilton in the Broadway production of Hamilton. Her other Broadway roles include the title role in Amélie (2017), Rebecca in The Parisian Woman (2017), Cinderella in Into the Woods (2022), and Guinevere in Camelot (2023).
  • OTIS (29A: Eric's best friend on "Sex Education") The TV series, Sex Education, follows the story of OTIS, a teenager who, with a fellow classmate (Maeve), sets up a sex advice business. OTIS is best friends with Eric, who comes from a religious Ghanian Nigerian family, and is openly gay. The roles of OTIS, Eric, and Maeve are played by Asa Butterfield, Ncuti Gatwa, and Emma Mackey, respectively.
  • IRL (43A: Out in the world (Abbr.)) IRL = in real life
  • INCAN (62A: Like Machu Picchu) Machu Picchu is a 15th-century citadel located in the Andes mountains in southern Peru. It was most likely constructed as an estate of Pachacuti, an INCAN emperor. Machu Picchu is one of the most well-known examples of INCAN architecture.
  • HOBO (66A: Handbag type) A HOBO bag is a purse style characterized by its crescent shape, and its construction out of soft materials that slouch when the purse is set down. A HOBO bag generally designed with a long strap so the purse can be worn over the shoulder.
  • MAE (37D: Canadian comedian and "Taskmaster" champion Martin) MAE Martin is a comedian, actor, and screenwriter who co-created, co-wrote, and starred in the British comedy TV series Feel Good (2020-2021). They were born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Taskmaster is a British comedy game show in which a panel of celebrities (mostly comedians) attempt to complete a series of challenges. The challenges are often ABSURD (32A: Ridiculous), resulting in hilarity. MAE Martin competed on Taskmaster last year, in the show's 15th season. I was delighted to see Taskmaster mentioned here, as our son introduced my husband and I to this show last year. We have been working our way through the backlog of shows, and are currently on season 7. I look forward to watching MAE Martin in season 15, and now I know that they won. Thanks for that spoiler... (Honestly, I'll probably forget by the time we reach that season!)
  • NAOMI (56D: Supermodel Campbell) NAOMI Campbell opened the Prada fashion show in 1997, the first Black woman to do so. She was also the first Black model to appear on the covers of Time, French Vogue, and Russian Vogue. NAOMI Campbell appears alongside Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington, in the 2023 Apple TV+ documentary, The Super Models.
  • NOT (63D: "___ Ready to Make Nice" (The Chicks song)) "NOT Ready to Make Nice" is a 2006 song by the country music trio The Chicks. The song, which won three Grammy Awards, was written as a response to the backlash the group received after criticizing George W. Bush. I'm a fan of this song, and enjoyed seeing it as a way to add interest to a clue for the word NOT. 
  • A few other clues I especially enjoyed:
    • E-MEET (44A: "Nice to ___ you" (reply to an online introduction))
    • AMEN (69A: "I hear you, sister!"
    • ITS (11D: Possessive often mistakenly given an apostrophe)

    Geography review:

    • STATE CAPITAL (20A: Madison or Montgomery) Madison is the CAPITAL of the STATE of Wisconsin. Montgomery is the CAPITAL of the STATE of Alabama. I enjoyed the alliteration in this clue.
    • EST (21D: Winter hrs. in Toronto) Toronto is the CAPITAL of the Canadian province of Ontario. It is also the most populous city in Canada. Toronto is located in eastern Canada, on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. Toronto is in the Eastern time zone, and therefore, in winter it observes Eastern Standard Time (EST). The abbreviation of the word hours (hrs.) in the clue lets us know the answer will be an abbreviation. Today's constructor, Jess Shulman, lives in Toronto. I appreciated the inclusion of Canadian content here and in the clue for MAE.
    • ST. PAUL (47D: One of the Twin Cities) The term "Twin Cities" is used to refer to two urban areas that develop and eventually abut each other. One of the most widely known Twin Cities is the pair of Minneapolis and ST. PAUL in Minnesota. Minneapolis and ST. PAUL were founded on opposite sides of the Mississippi River.
    First of all, it's fun to see two puzzles in a row with text speak in the title. The title of yesterday's puzzle is "TEXTING PPL." Secondly, I admit that it took me a bit to figure out the theme today. After finishing the puzzle, I stared at it for a good minute or so before that lovely "Aha!" moment occurred and I saw the TA-TA in each theme answer. Quite satisfying. Thank you, Jess, for this delightful puzzle. TTFN!