Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, Dodo (2024)

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

Constructor: Catherine Cetta

Editor: Jared Goudsmit

Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, Dodo (1)

What I Learned from Today’s Puzzle

  • SCAR (1A: Facial feature of Kakashi Hatake) Kakashi Hatake is a character in the Japanese manga and anime series, Naruto, written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. He is a skilled ninja, and a teacher of the team that includes the title character, Naruto Uzumaki. Kakashi Hatake has a vertical SCAR crossing his left eye, a result of a battle injury.
  • OYSTERS (21A: Kaki furai shellfish) In Japanese cuisine, panko-breaded deep-fried OYSTERS are known as kaki furai.
  • SHO (37A: "Masters of Sex" network) Masters of Sex is a TV series that originally aired on Showtime (SHO) from 2013-2016. The show is set in the 1950s and 1960s, and is based on the story of Dr. William Masters (portrayed by Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (played by Lizzy Caplan), sexologists who did pioneering research on human sexuality at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • BABOON (30D: "Chacma" monkey) The Chacma BABOON is one of the largest species of monkeys. These BABOONs live primarily in southern Africa.
  • MATADOR (47D: Person with a capote de brega) The capote de brea is the cape used by a MATADOR in the early part of a bullfight.
  • CEE (54D: NFL wide receiver ___Dee Lamb) CEEDee Lamb is an NFL wide receiver. He has played with the Dallas Cowboys since 2020. Add this to the sports knowledge I have gained from solving crossword puzzles.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

Random Thoughts & Interesting Things

  • ACE (27A: Unreturned serve from Serena Williams) Serena Williams is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. In the 2012 Wimbledon semi-final match against Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams hit an impressive 24 ACEs on her way to victory.
  • DOCTOR DOOM (48A: "The Fantastic Four" supervillain) Doctor Doom is a Marvel comics supervillain who can manipulate energy and electricity. He has been seen in many iterations of comic books, movies, television series, and video games since his first appearance in 1962.
  • MARS (63A: The Red Planet) The planet MARS appears red because its surface is covered with a dust primarily made of iron. The dust has oxidized, giving it a rusty red color. Dust storms blow the oxidized dust into the atmosphere, giving MARS a red sky. It's been a bit since I checked in on Perseverance, NASA's MARS rover that landed on the planet February 18, 2021, so I took this opportunity to check in on its activity. On NASA's website, you can read about Perseverance's mission, and even listen to a sound recording from MARS.
  • DOGGIE DOOR (64A: Special entryway for a pooch) Yesterday I tried to enter "spidey SENSE" instead of "SPIDER SENSE." Today I tried "doggy DOOR" here, but that didn't fit! Apparently I have a preference for the letter Y. Why is that?
  • MENSA (71A: Group with a Brain Training app) MENSA is an international organization founded in 1946. To join MENSA, prospective members need to score in the 98th percentile or higher on an IQ or other approved intelligence test. The MENSA Brain Training app includes exercises to "help improve your reasoning, concentration, and memory."
  • RASP (72A: Feature of Janis Joplin's voice) and IAN (6D: "At Seventeen" singer Janis) It was fun to see not one, but two singers named Janis highlighted in today's puzzle. Janis Joplin (1943-1970) was a singer-songwriter noted for her powerful vocals. One of her signature techniques was growling, a vocal distortion that adds a RASPy quality to the voice. Singer-songwriter Janis IAN had a number of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, including "At Seventeen," which reached the top of the charts in 1975.
  • EDU (7D: www.tuskegee.___) Tuskegee University is a historically Black university in Tuskegee, Alabama. EDU is the URL ending used for educational institutions.
  • COMIC STRIP (28D: "Garfield" or "Crabgrass") The COMIC STRIP Garfield was created by Jim Davis. It has been published in syndication since 1978, centering on the adventures of its title character, Garfield the cat. The COMIC STRIP Crabgrass, by Tauhid Bondia first appeared online in 2019, and was syndicated in 2022. Crabgrass is about childhood friendships, and is "set in an ambiguous time before cellphones and the internet."
  • LIU (31D: "Set It Up" actress Lucy) Set It Up is a 2018 rom-com about two overworked assistants who try to set up their demanding bosses. Lucy LIU stars as Kirsten Stevens, the boss of Harper Moore, who is portrayed by Zoey Deutch.
  • WHALE (32D: Pearl Krabs or Moby Dick) Pearl Krabs is a character on the animated TV series SpongeBob SquarePants. Pearl is a teenage sperm WHALE, whose father is Mr. Krabs, the founder of the Krusty Krab restaurant. Moby Dick is the title whale of Herman Melville's 1851 book. Moby Dick is a giant white sperm WHALE.

Crossword Puzzle Theme Synopsis

  • DOES DONUTS (17A: Performs a celebratory maneuver after a NASCAR race, say)
  • DOUBLE DOWN (29A: Commit even more strongly)
  • DOCTOR DOOM (48A: "The Fantastic Four" supervillain)
  • DOGGIE DOOR (64A: Special entryway for a pooch)

Each theme answer fits the pattern DO___ DO___: DOES DONUTS, DOUBLE DOWN, DOCTOR DOOM, and DOGGIE DOOR.

Today I was able to guess the theme mechanism from the title. It was fun to see each DODO phrase revealed as I worked my way through the puzzle. Thank you, Catherine, for this entertaining puzzle.

For more on USA TODAY’s Crossword Puzzles

  • USA TODAY’s Daily Crossword Puzzles
Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, Dodo (2024)

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