Try and solve Marissa’s debut puzzle!
SUNDAY PUZZLE — Hey solvers! Whether you’re a new puzzler or a veteran back for more, welcome to The Michigan Daily Crossword section. I’m very, very proud to say that this is my first published crossword ever, so I hope you enjoy it! It certainly isn’t the first crossword I’ve ever solved, though; this one’s been a long time coming. If we rewind all the way back to the pandemic, everybody was getting addicted to something: bread-baking, whipped coffee, “Tiger King”… yeah. I was a freshman in high school, I had no idea The Michigan Daily even existed, and I was addicted to crosswords. Was it entirely my fault, though? Nope. I’d like to share some of the blame with my mom, the number one consumer of crossword books from Amazon, an avid hater of infamous crossword creator Greg Johnson, and queen of erasable pens, and my dad, who always comes in clutch with the historical clues that we just can’t get. What can I say, crosswords are a family thing. I’ve covered some tricky clues, some personal clues, and the theme down below; if anything jumps out at you as relatable, you think I’m the next MVP of crosswords, or you want to point out a mistake, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to submit a puzzle to the crossword team, email email@example.com. Good luck and go blue!
15A. OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve never seen “Parks and Rec”. In case you’re as uncultured as I am, the “actress known for playing Donna on Parks and Rec” is the singularly-named icon RETTA. I know her as the host of “Ugliest House in America,” the HGTV show my brother is addicted to; I missed out on season four this past month in the cable-less land of college.
25A. Sometimes, the puzzle just gets the best of you. I had no idea what a VELUM was, especially because I’m a biology major that definitely does not want to go to medical school and hated her experience with dissections, but apparently it’s the “soft palate of the mouth.” Swallow that new information (I’m so sorry).
36A. If you were a little off track on this one, I don’t blame you; as someone majoring in a subject as far away from political science as possible, “Reps Queens?” might not always mean AOC to me. It’s true though; U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s, D-N.Y.14th District in New York is a bit in the Bronx and takes a bite out of Queens. That bite does contain LaGuardia Airport though – that’s a whole different kind of rep. This clue also has a potential third interpretation for those of you who are fans of poker.
62A. Here at the University of Michigan, football is basically its own language. As runner up in my first ever Fantasy Football League in my calculus class last year (brag), I’m pretty much as fluent as you can get. OK, that was a lie; can someone please explain the Big Ten to me? I’m from an NFL household, not an NCAA one. Therefore, the “NFL team that lost its good Luck?” refers to the Indianapolis COLTS and some wordplay on their former QB Andrew Luck. Whether he truly was good luck is up for debate depending on what injury-prone or record-breaking season you’re talking about, but for now, he’s a pretty good crossword clue.
5D. If you know me well, you’ll know that I’m a massive fan of ORIGAMI. But here’s the thing – I literally only know how to fold paper cranes. Thus, when I came up with “Crane construction?” as a clue, I knew it was meant to be. (I later found out this was a pretty common way to clue this word, but whatever. A win is a win, and it’s still pretty tricky.) My high school locker was always filled with little paper cranes; if it was foldable, it was crane-able. Watch out, organic chemistry blue books, you’re next.
53D. I was so proud of this clue that when the editor asked me what it meant, I had a heart attack. “Not a Stanley cup?” refers to both the iconic Stanley Cup trophy in the NHL and those massive-yet-quality Stanley cup thermoses that everyone totes around. If you’re a fan of a more compact option though, the answer to this clue is the competitor outdoor thermos brand, YETI.
Every day at 3:30 p.m., this iconic game show airs on TV. The answer is: “What is ‘Jeopardy!’?” My family has always religiously watched “Jeopardy!”, especially my grandma; she would do the “People Magazine” celebrity crossword while occasionally looking up to scold the contestants for an answer they should’ve known. Because I’m a massive fan of this quiz-bowl-turned-entertainment-show, I knew I had to combine puzzling with more puzzling. Today’s theme is answered in 48A, FINAL JEOPARDY, which refers to that quintessential time at the end of every episode when contestants would answer the same question to the tune of “Think!”, a very stress-inducing jingle. It also explains the other three themed answers: 20-Across’ “Young person, colloquially” is SPRING CHICKEN, 31-Across’ speech clue is DAY OF INFAMY, and 39-Across is of course LEBRON JAMES. At the end of these themed clues (thus, FINAL JEOPARDY), I’ve hidden the names of three incredibly talented “Jeopardy!” champions: KEN Jennings, the holder of the longest streak in the show’s history, AMY Schneider, the holder of the second longest streak and an absolute powerhouse of knowledge, and JAMES Holzhauer, the record-breaker for the most money won in a single day. And of course, it wouldn’t truly be “Jeopardy!”-themed if I didn’t include 61A, the well-missed ALEX Trebek. If there was a way to make “‘Jeopardy!’ Champion” a career path, I would take it instantly; unfortunately, my LSA advisors would probably say no. I guess I’ll stick to crossword writing instead.