August 26, 2020


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
ZERO WASTE (16A: Green goal)
PRO WRESTLER (29A: Andre the Giant or Sasha Banks, e.g.)
HERO WORSHIP (48A: Excessive admiration)
NERO WOLFE (65A: Rex Stout's detective)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer has the letter string R-O-W, spanning the two words. Thus, we have SEATING INSIDE each answer in the form of a ROW.

Things I learned:
  • DRUM (68A: Instrument for Cindy Blackman Santana) Cindy Blackman Santana is a jazz and rock drummer. She has been the touring drummer for Lenny Kravitz and Santana. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • OLAF (20A: St. ___ College (Carleton rival) St. OLAF and Carleton are both private liberal arts colleges in Northfield, Minnesota. St. OLAF is named after the Patron Saint of Norway. I have a soft spot for St. OLAF because the college's president from 1985-1994, Melvin George, was the father of one of my best high school friends. Recently OLAF has been frequently clued in reference to the Frozen snowman. As lovable as that OLAF is, it's nice to see him given a day off occasionally. 
  • PRO WRESTLER (29A: Andre the Giant or Sasha Banks, e.g.) Sasha Banks and fellow wrestler, Bayley, are the current WWE Women's Tag Team Champions. AndrĂ© the Giant acted in multiple movies, in addition to being a PRO WRESTLER. To me, AndrĂ© the Giant will always be remembered for his portrayal of Fezzik in The Princess Bride.
  • NERO WOLFE (65A: Rex Stout's detective) Cozy mysteries are my genre of choice, and I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to books about NERO WOLFE, so I was delighted to see this clue. NERO WOLFE is the ultimate armchair detective, rarely leaving his luxurious brownstone on West 35th Street in New York City where he reads books, tends his orchids, drinks beer, and eats gourmet meals. He relies on his assistant, Archie Goodwin, to do any necessary legwork, and to goad him into working when the bills need to be paid. 
Geography review:
  • HANOI (32A: City with a four-mile Ceramic Road) HANOI is the capital of Vietnam. The HANOI Ceramic Road is a mosaic mural along the walls of the Red River dike system. The mural made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest ceramic mosaic.
  • DOHA (37D: Qatari capital) In addition to being its capital, DOHA is Qatar's most populous and fastest growing city. Qatar is a country in Western Asia on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.
This was a clever theme idea, with some nice finds for theme answers. ZERO WASTE and HERO WORSHIP are great phrases in addition to the two theme answers I highlighted. I also enjoyed the answers I'M AWARE, HIT HOME, and OLD SAW. I also got a chuckle out of the corner with Winnie the POOH, YODA, and SPY - seems like that could become an interesting story! The puzzle proved more challenging than usual for me because I seemed to have a knack for filling in incorrect answers today. At first I had cliche for OLD SAW, sheer for GAUNT, and nope for UH UH. As I've mentioned before, I don't mind when a puzzle challenges me, as I feel a sense of accomplishment when I complete it. I found this puzzle to be an enjoyable way to start my Wednesday.