Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, All Over the Place

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

Constructors: Brooke Husic & Jasmeet Arora

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

June 22, 2024
June 22, 2024

What I Learned from Today’s Puzzle

  • CALI (1D: State where the Daughters of Bilitis was founded, for short) The Daughters of Bilitis, also known as the DOB or the Daughters, was founded in San Francisco, California (CALI, for short) in 1955. The group was initially formed as a social club, but soon transitioned to become the first lesbian civil and political rights organization in the United States. Within a few years, additional DOB chapters were formed in other parts of the United States. From 1956 to 1972, the Daughters of Bilitis published a newsletter for its members called The Ladder. The last Daughters of Bilitis chapter dissolved in 1995.

  • ASAWA (6D: Sculptor and art education advocate Ruth) Ruth ASAWA (1926-2013) was an artist known for her abstract looped wire sculptures. Ruth ASAWA was born in California. Her parents were Japanese immigrants, and she was the fourth of seven children. When she was 16 years old, Ruth ASAWA's family was separated and sent to different Japanese internment camps. Her wire sculptures were inspired by a basket crocheting technique she learned in Mexico. Ruth ASAWA was an advocate for art for everyone, and was instrumental in the creation of the San Francisco School of the Arts in 1982. In 2010, the school was renamed the Ruth ASAWA San Francisco School of the Arts.

  • LOVE STORY (8D: "Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating" is one) Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating (2021) by Adiba Jaigirdar is a LOVE STORY written for young adults. The book is set in Ireland, and tells the stories of two queer girls: Hani, who is Bangladeshi Irish, Muslim, and out to her family as bisexual, and Ishu, who is Indian Irish, an atheist from a Hindu family, and not yet out to her family.

Random Thoughts & Interesting Things

  • PAIR (11A: Couple) A great answer for a puzzle constructed by a PAIR of collaborators.

  • ALEC (15A: Name found in "total eclipse") I enjoy a hidden name clue.

  • ASL (31A: Language in which "love" is crossing the fists over the chest) I appreciate the choice to use a specific example of American Sign Language (ASL) here.

  • GRAN (39A: Nana or dadi) Although we have just three possibilities here – GRAN, nana, and dadi – there are a multitude of nicknames for a grandmother. I'm feeling a little boring, because my grandmothers were Grandma Doris and Grandma Kate, and my kids call their grandmothers Grandma Atril and Grandma Hoelscher. (Although Grandma does get shortened to G-ma by my daughter.) Perhaps my family could be more inventive with grandparent names! Anyway, back to our three grandma nicknames. "GRAN" is, of course, a shortened form of grandma. Of the etymology of "nana," Merriam-Webster says, "probably of baby talk origin." In Hindi, "dadi" refers to the paternal grandmother, and "nani" refers to the maternal grandmother.

  • RASTA (40A: Follower of Haile Selassie) The religion known as Rastafari or Rastafarianism developed in the 1930s in Jamaica. Rastafari is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible. RASTA beliefs include monotheism, a belief in one God, who is referred to as Jah. Haile Selassie was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. Some RASTAs regard Haile Selassie as Jah incarnate, while others view him as an important prophet. The lion of Judah, which was a symbol of Haile Selassie, is a prominent symbol in Rastafari.

  • EGYPT (42A: The Great Sphinx's country) A sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human, the body of a lion. The Great Sphinx is a statue located in Giza, EGYPT. It is one of the oldest known sculptures in Egypt, dating to the 2500s BCE. The Great Sphinx is 240 feet long, 62 feet wide, and 66 feet tall.

  • WE ARE EVERYWHERE (58A: Rallying cry that's the title of a book on the Queer Liberation Movement) WE ARE EVERYWHERE: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown was published in 2019. The book is a history of the Queer Liberation movement, complete with more than 300 photographs.

  • RAGA (63A: Musical framework that establishes a mood) In classical Indian music, RAGA is a melodic framework used to create mood or atmosphere. A RAGA is derived from a scale, but is more specific. Each RAGA provides a framework within which a musician may improvise. The word "RAGA" comes from the Sanskrit word for "color" or "passion."

  • OMAN (66A: Yemen's neighbor) OMAN is having a good crossword month. We saw OMAN in the puzzle yesterday, and also on June 15. OMAN is located in West Asia, on the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to Yemen, OMAN's neighbors are Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). OMAN has coastline on the Gulf of OMAN, and the Arabian Sea. The capital of OMAN is Muscat.

  • ELOTE (67A: Street food on a cob) ELOTE is the term used in Central America and Mexico for an ear of corn. ELOTE is sold as street food in some regions of Mexico.

  • WON'T (69A: "We ___ go back") "We WON'T go back" pairs nicely with WE ARE EVERYWHERE. This statement is not only important for LGBTQ+ rights, but also for civil rights, reproductive rights, women's rights ... the list probably could go on.

  • SALUD (5D: Spanish toast) Used as a toast, the SALUD means "health" in Spanish.

  • SIDE MIRROR (7D: Car part used to check the bike lane) Advocating for bike riders everywhere, please remember to use your SIDE MIRROR.

  • MAH-JONGG (14D: Game central to "The Joy Luck Club") The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan was published in 1989. I read The Joy Luck Club while I was in graduate school in the early '90s. It was recommended to me by my advisor, and is not at all the kind of book recommendation I would have expected from him, which made me like it even more. The book tells the stories of four immigrant families living in San Francisco. The families start The Joy Luck Club, getting together to eat and play MAH-JONGG. The structure of the book is similar to a MAH-JONGG game, with four sections each divided into four parts. The Joy Luck Club has been adapted into a movie and a play.

  • ACT (26D: "A Strange Loop" has just one) A Strange Loop is a one-ACT musical about a Black, queer writer (named Usher) writing a musical about a Black, queer writer writing a musical about a Black, queer writer. A Strange Loop won the 2022 Tony Award for Best Musical.

  • RED (34D: Main color on the Oglala flag) The Oglala are a subtribe of the Lakota people. Many of the Oglala live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Oglala flag features a white circular design of eight tepees (representing the eight districts of the reservation) on a RED background (symbolizing bloodshed).

  • BTS (37D: "Idol" band) "Idol" is a 2018 song by the South Korean boy band BTS. The song includes the lyric, "You can't stop me lovin' myself." Fun fact: During the 2022 FIFA World Cup, "Idol" was one of the goal songs for South Korea. (Each country chooses a goal song to be played each time they score a goal.)

  • TE AMO (55D: Words from una novia) In Spanish, "una novia" is a girlfriend, and "TE AMO" means "I love you."

  • RENT (59D: "Tango: Maureen" musical) The rock musical RENT debuted on Broadway in 1996. The musical centers on a group of struggling young artists living in the East Village neighborhood of East Manhattan. RENT has something in common with A Strange Loop, as it also won a Tony Award for Best Musical. The song "Tango: Maureen" is sung by the characters of Joanne and Mark (while eventually dancing the tango, of course) as they bond over their shared distrust of Maureen's behavior.

Crossword Puzzle Theme Synopsis

  • WISH YOU WERE HERE (18A: Postcard message)

  • I'LL BE THERE (36A: "You can count on me to attend")

  • WE ARE EVERYWHERE (58A: Rallying cry that's the title of a book on the Queer Liberation Movement)

The last words of the theme answers in the order they appear in the puzzle are HERE, THERE, and EVERYWHERE; in other words, ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Three fabulous theme answers today. I enjoy how they seem to interact with each other. "WISH YOU WERE HERE." Well, okay, "I'LL BE THERE." And, as a matter of fact, "WE ARE EVERYWHERE!" Thank you, Brooke and Jasmeet, for this ALL OVER THE PLACE puzzle.

For more on USA TODAY’s Crossword Puzzles

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Crossword Blog & Answers for June 22, 2024 by Sally Hoelscher