Psst…there’s a puzzle to solve. You can read about it below.
We’re back with another themeless! The center of this grid was a stumper for quite a while, but it felt much more solvable than last week’s. Record producer and songwriter METRO BOOMIN (who is currently 22 years old…whaaaat?!) did me in for a while, and I thought I was finished when I filled in NAMECARD for [Recall supporter in a concession speech, perhaps], but no happy congratulations message popped up. METRO BOAMIN and THE ROOM (which is an amazing puzzle game series, by the way) seemed just as likely as METRO BOOMIN and THE ROOT to me, but once I saw that NOTECARD fit too, the happy pencil appeared.
Also in that tricky middle is DETERGE (which I thought Erik made up until I looked it up), MEET DAVE (another new name for me), and ABIOTIC. OREOS would have helped me if I head heard of the Wonder Vault (I kept thinking Wonder Bread).
Fill that jumped out at me was ASIAN PEARS, OBNOXIOUS, SALAAM, and EXTRA MILE. Love [Put up to be put up] for PAID RENT, [Pancake makeup, in part] for FLOUR (I am a sucker for a hot, fluffy pancake), [Good name for a male chef who only cooks soup and is obsessed with putting things in alphabetical order] for STU, and [Ma axe] for CELLO. I don’t love URSAE, but Erik acknowledges its iffiness with [Bears, to astronomers and other Latin-speakers]. NOP for the New Orleans Pelicans didn’t do it for me either, but it reminded me of the horrible time someone (I think it was Erik) introduced me to the Pelican’s hideous mascot, Pierre. Today I learned they also have have an even scarier King Cake Baby. Seriously, who thinks of these things?
Thanks for reading. Hope nobody has scary pelican nightmares!