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Crossword Puzzles

Off the Grid: Sally breaks down ӣƵ's daily crossword puzzle, Moleskin

There are spoilers ahead. You might want to solve today's puzzle before reading further!

Constructors: Agnes Davidson & Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Jared Goudsmit

June 11, 2024

What I Learned from Today’s Puzzle

  • LAT (1A: Seal row muscle, for short) To do a seal row, one lies prone (face down) on a bench with the legs out straight. Weights (either dumbbells or a barbell) are lifted from the floor in a rowing motion. This exercise strengthens the back muscles, including the latissimus dorsi muscles, commonly referred to as the LATs. The LAT is the largest muscle in the upper body.
  • OVAL (13A: Batard's shape) A bâtard is an OVAL or oblong loaf of bread. It is similar to a baguette, but shorter.
  • EMO (12D: Hot Milk genre) Hot Milk is an English band formed in 2018. Their debut studio album, A Call to the Void, was released in 2023. The band has described their music as "EMO powerpop."
  • CEO (44D: Carol Tome, for UPS) Carol Tomé has been a board member for United Parcel Service (UPS) since 2003. In 2020, she became the company's chief executive officer (CEO). The abbreviation UPS in the clue signals to solvers that the answer will be an abbreviation.

Random Thoughts & Interesting Things

  • MEMORY HOLE (17A: Imaginary place where unpleasant information is sent to be forgotten) The term "MEMORY HOLE" was made popular by George Orwell's 1948 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the novel, censored information and potentially embarrassing historical documents were dropped into slots known as MEMORY HOLEs, and ultimately destroyed. I have some HOLEs in my MEMORY, but those are usually unintentional.
  • EURO (19A: Coin with a common side and a national side) The EURO is the currency of 20 European Union countries, some European microstates and territories, and Montenegro and Kosovo. The common side of EURO coins shows the value of the coin, with a map in the background. The national side of EURO coins displays a design chosen by the country that issued the coin. Regardless of design, EURO coins may be used in any country that has adopted the EURO.
  • ONE A DAY (34A: VitaCraves multivitamin brand) VitaCraves are multivitamin gummies that are part of the ONE A DAY brand. ONE A DAY multivitamins have been on the market since 1940, and are currently produced by the Bayer corporation.
  • MOVE THE NEEDLE (38A: Have a noticeable impact on the situation) A reference to a gauge with a NEEDLE that is the pointer on a dial, the idiom MOVE THE NEEDLE refers to action that has a measurable impact; it is usually used to refer to a positive impact. In a world where many gauges are now digital, I'm wondering what the modern equivalent of this saying would be? "Flip the numbers" doesn't have quite the same ring.
  • PRINCE (43A: "Purple Rain" singer) "Purple Rain" is the title track on PRINCE's 1984 album, which was the soundtrack of the rock musical movie of the same name. "Purple rain, purple rain..."
  • SHE (45A: "___'s an icon, ___'s a legend, and ___ is the moment") is a quote that was originally said by TV host, Wendy Williams in 2019, referring to rapper Lil' Kim. Since then, the words have been used in multiple memes and have been used to refer to a number of subjects, including Peppa Pig.
  • RAW (46A: Like sashimi and ceviche) In Japanese cuisine, sashimi is a delicacy of thinly-sliced RAW fish or meat (or sometimes vegetables). Ceviche – RAW fish marinated in citrus juice – is a dish that originated in Peru. The citrus juice denatures the protein in the seafood, making it appear cooked. Speaking of ceviche, if you're a fan of this dish you might want to mark your calendar so you can celebrate on June 28, which is in Peru.
  • MOLLY'S GAME (61A: 2017 biopic about a poker empire) MOLLY'S GAME is a 2017 movie based on MOLLY Bloom's 2014 memoir of the same name. Jessica Chastain portrays the title character, whose underground poker empire becomes the subject of an FBI investigation.
  • SALT (66A: Miso ingredient) A traditional Japanese seasoning, miso is a paste made by fermenting soybeans with SALT and kōji (a type of fungus). In addition to being used to make miso soup, the paste is used for pickling vegetables and seasoning sauces and spreads.
  • LO MEIN (1D: Chinese noodle dish) LO MEIN is a traditional Chinese dish whose name comes from the Cantonese words meaning "stirred noodles." In addition to noodles, LO MEIN often contains vegetables and some type of meat or seafood.
  • AVERSE (2D: Risk-___ (reluctant to gamble)) Oh, this is me, I am risk-AVERSE!
  • TAMALE (3D: Street food often filled with recado rojo) A TAMALE is a dish made of masa (a corn dough) that is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. Recado rojo, also known as achiote paste, is a spice mixture that is sometimes added to masa to add flavor and color to TAMALEs.
  • OAHU (5D: Iolani Palace island) The was the residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawai'i from 1845-1893. It is located in Honolulu, on the island of OAHU. Fun fact: Exterior shots of the Iolani Palace were used on the TV show Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980), implying that the building hosted the offices of the fictional police unit portrayed on the show.
  • MELON (7D: Sarda or cantaloupe) Sarda, also known as Galia MELON, is a hybrid fruit developed in Israel in the 1970s. Cantaloupe is a variety of MELON known for its orange flesh.
  • HBO (22D: "Last Week Tonight" channel) Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is a late-night TV program that premiered in 2014. The show takes a satirical look at news of the previous week, generally taking a look at one news item in more depth.
  • PBS (60D: "We'll Meet Again" channel) was a documentary TV series that aired on PBS in 2018-2019. The show explores dramatic events – such as the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens and the Vietnam War – through the personal stories of those that experienced them. PBS described the show as "where history meets the drama of real life."
  • MIT (61D: School near Harvard) MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Harvard are both located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The two schools are approximately two miles apart.

 Crossword Puzzle Theme Synopsis

  • MEMORY HOLE (17A: Imaginary place where unpleasant information is sent to be forgotten)
  • MOVE THE NEEDLE (38A: Have a noticeable impact on the situation)
  • MOLLY'S GAME (61A: 2017 biopic about a poker empire)

The word MOLE acts as a SKIN of sorts, appearing on the ends of each theme answer: MEMORY HOLE, MOVE THE NEEDLE, and MOLLY'S GAME.

I appreciate the fact that each possible division of the word MOLE is represented in today's theme answer: M/OLE, MO/LE, and MOL/E. In addition to the answers I've highlighted above, I also enjoyed YOUR CALL, OH YEAH, HA HA, MARINARA, and ORIGINAL. Congratulations to Agnes Davidson making a ӣƵ debut! Thank you, Agnes and Zhouqin, for this interesting puzzle.

For more on ӣƵ’s Crossword Puzzles

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