Puzzle #37: Caught Napping

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 😴😴😴

The first time I learned about Juneteenth was in grade school, but to be honest, I don’t think I gave the day more than passing consideration until 2016, when Donald Glover made it the focus of a scathingly satirical episode of Atlanta. You should watch.

In episodes where Lakeith Stanfield isn’t stealing the show, 17-Across in today’s puzzle often becomes a focal point of Atlanta for me. When I first learned her name, I knew I wanted to find a way to get her into a crossword puzzle theme.

The first Domino to fall…

*SPOILER ALERT* Okay, so what’s the deal with this puzzle. Puzzzle?

This sort of theme would normally be too straight-ahead for my tastes: theme answers that have 3 Z’s in them, with a ZZZ revealer. At least in this NYT puzzle from last year, all the XXX answers needed to have consecutive X’s…

But I got interested in the theme set when I realized that there really just aren’t very many valid crossword answers with three-and-only-three Z’s in them. Plenty of quad Z’s: BUZZFEED QUIZZES, RAZZLE DAZZLE, BUZZ BUZZARD, RAZZMATAZZ, PIZZAZZ…

And, to be honest, I was probably influenced by the potential of getting ZAZIE BEETZ in a puzzle. When I realized she could be paired with SWIZZ BEATZ, well, we were off to the racez.

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