March 8, 2024

Title: PEACE & QUIET (Freestyle)

Constructor: Carolyn Davies Lynch

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Freestyle: This is a themeless puzzle. PEACE & QUIET is a nod to SIMPLE PLEASURES (39A: Ordinary things that bring joy).

And now a word from our constructor:
Carolyn: Hello, all! I hope you enjoyed today's puzzle. I love the phrase SIMPLE PLEASURES, and while this is meant to be a themeless/freestyle puzzle, I realized after I'd finished creating the grid that its other long answers are all PLEASURES of various sorts – some SIMPLEr than others. Guess I was just in that state of mind while I was putting the puzzle together! Not much else to say on this one, other than Happy Almost 17-Across!😊

Things I learned:
  • ELI (41D: "The Peripheral" actor Goree) The Peripheral is a sci-fi TV series loosely based on William Gibson's 2014 book of the same name. ELI Goree portrays Connor Penske.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • PI DAY (17A: Celebration on 3/14) If you haven't already done so, it's time to start making plans for PI DAY, the annual celebration of math and pie. PI DAY is one of my favorite holidays. I don't need an excuse to eat pie, but when I have one, I definitely celebrate it.
  • TOM (23A: Male cat) Willow is not a TOM cat, but she appreciates cat content
    A calico cat perched on a stool and looking directly at the camera.
    in the puzzle in any form. 
  • ROMAN (31A: Like Jupiter but not Zeus) Jupiter is the ROMAN god of sky and thunder. Zeus is the Greek god of sky and thunder.
  • TAO (37A: "___ Te Ching") The TAO Te Ching is a fundamental text for Taoism. The oldest excavated portion of the TAO Te Ching dates back to the 4th century BCE.
  • SIMPLE PLEASURES (39A: Ordinary things that bring joy) This is such a lovely grid-spanning answer. One of my SIMPLE PLEASURES is enjoying a perfect cup of tea in a mug selected specifically to match my mood. I dropped a photo of today's mug at the bottom of this post. I chose today's mug because it has flowers on it, which is perfect for International Women's Day. What SIMPLE PLEASURES are you enjoying today? I'd love to hear about them.
  • BOLLYWOOD FILMS (53A: Pictures from India's Hindi-language movie industry) BOLLYWOOD is a term used to refer to Hindi cinema. The word is a portmanteau of "Bombay" (the former name of Mumbai) and "Hollywood."
  • APPA (61A: "Kim's Convenience" patriarch) I learned about the TV series Kim's Convenience and APPA, the patriarch of the Kim family, from the March 18, 2021 puzzle. Paul Sun-Hyung Lee portrays APPA on the show.
  • RAIL (2D: Something a skateboarder may grind) A RAIL is used to do skateboarding tricks such as grinds and slides.
  • SARIS (22D: Garments often worn with cholis) Cholis are fitted blouses worn with SARIS.
  • MAISEL (47D: "The Marvelous Mrs. ___") The Marvelous Mrs. MAISEL is a TV series set in the 1950s and 1960s. Rachel Brosnahan plays the role of Mrs. MAISEL, who is pursuing a career in stand-up comedy.
  • LILY (55D: Bloom in Diego Rivera's "The Flower Seller") "The Flower Seller" is a 1942 painting by Diego Rivera. It features a barefoot girl, kneeling with her back to the viewer, holding a large bundle of calla lilies. 
  • SLIM (59D: "Snap into a ___ Jim") SLIM Jim is a meat snack brand invented by Jack Comella in 1929, and now owned by Conagra. The company's tagline is "Snap into a SLIM Jim!" 
  • A few other clues I especially enjoyed:
    • TPED (6A: Pranked with Cottonelle, for short)
    • ILY (43A: Letters expressing affection in ASL)
    • TWIX (6D: Candy whose name is a portmanteau of "twin sticks."

    Geography review:

    • ARUBA (1A: Island that hosts the Soul Beach Music Festival) ARUBA is an island country in the Caribbean. The Soul Beach Music Festival is held in ARUBA over the last weekend in May (Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S.). The lineup of performers for this year's festival includes Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Earthquake, and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
    • ASIA (60A: Continent that's almost 30% of Earth's land area) ASIA is Earth's largest continent by land area. It is also the largest continent by population. About 60% of people (approximately 4.7 billion) live in ASIA.
    • TAMPA (27D: Florida city home to the Gasparilla Pirate Festival) The Gasparilla Pirate Festival has been held in TAMPA, Florida since 1904. An invasion by the mythical pirate, José Gaspar, or Gasparilla, is the theme of the festivities, which include a Parade of Pirates. The festival is held in January, so we've missed the chance to participate this year. The next Gasparilla Pirate Festival will be January 25, 2025. I enjoyed the fact that this clue and the clue for ARUBA both highlighted festivals.
    • OSLO (54D: Norway's capital) OSLO is the capital of Norway, and the country's most populous city. Since we have a mini-theme of hosting festivals today, I did some investigating to find out what festivals are held in OSLO. As a large capital city, OSLO hosts many different festivals, including Øyafestivalen, or simply Øya, an annual rock music festival started in 1999. Øyafestivalen 2024 will be held August 6-10. This year's lineup features Queens of the Stone Age, and PJ Harvey, among others.
    A little PEACE & QUIET in one's day is always a good thing. That's particularly true today when that PEACE & QUIET comes in the form of this puzzle packed with so many delightful entries. Thank you, Carolyn, for this excellent puzzle.

    A mug with a flower pattern and the words, "Life is Good."
    Happy International Women's Day!