October 19, 2020

Title: SEE? SAWS!

Constructor: Patrick Jordan

Editor: Erik Agard & Paolo Pasco

Theme Answers:
BUZZ LIGHTYEAR (18A: "To infinity and beyond!" character)
BAND DIRECTOR (26A: High school music group leader)
CIRCULAR FILE (42A: Wastebasket)
CHAIN REACTION (51A: Domino effect)

Theme synopsis: The first words of the theme answers are types of SAWS. You SEE, we have BUZZ SAW, BAND SAW, CIRCULAR SAW, and CHAIN SAW.

Things I learned:
  • ELIZA (2D: Comedian Skinner) Stand-up comic and writer ELIZA Skinner has written for The Late Late Show with James Corden and Adam Ruins Everything (where she has also appeared in featured roles). She is also the head writer on the TV series Earth to Ned, which began streaming on Disney+ in September. You can find ELIZA Skinner on Instragram where she has over 15,000 followers.
  • EDEN (20D: Actress Espinosa) EDEN Espinosa played the role of Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway and in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • DIVER (27D: Olympian Melissa Wu, e.g.) Melissa Wu is an Australian DIVER. She won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
  • DRACO (30D: Half of fan fictions's Drarry) Fan fiction is a strange and wonderful place! The sheer volume of fan fiction that exists astonishes me. "Shipping" is a term referring to the desire of fans for characters to be in a romantic relationship. Drarry is a ship between DRACO Malfoy and Harry Potter. There is a plethora of Drarry fan fiction; if you want a sampling, here's a place to start
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • SOBE (4A: Drink brand hidden in "disobeyed") Owned by PepsiCo, SOBE is a brand of teas, fruit-juices, and flavored waters. SOBE began as the South Beach Beverage Company.
  • ROSA (38A: ___ Parks Day (Feb. 4 or Dec. 1)) In California and Missouri, ROSA Parks day is celebrated on her birthday, February 4. In Ohio and Oregon, ROSA Parks day is celebrated on December 1, the day she was arrested.
  • ONION (46A: The ___ (satirical news website)) The ONION was started in 1988 by Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson, who were University of Wisconsin students at the time. It began as a weekly print newspaper, and has grown to be a digital media company, which also runs The A.V. Club. The ONION presents satire so convincingly it is occasionally mistaken as real news. (Of course, the last few years, some of the real news has sadly resembled satire...) 
  • SEA GOD (4D: Poseidon or Ryujin) In Greek mythology, Poseidon is the god of the sea, storms, earthquakes, and horses. In Japanese mythology, RyĆ«jin is the god of the sea.
  • OPERATION (9D: Board game with tweezers) A classic! Can you hear that "bzzzztt," indicating that you touched the sides with the tweezers?
  • TUNA (40D: Tekkamaki fish) Tekkamaki is a type of sushi containing raw TUNA.

    Geography review:
    • OPAL (14A: Nevada's official gemstone, e.g.) The State precious gemstone of Nevada is a type of OPAL, the Virgin Valley black fire OPAL. Nevada is the only place this type of OPAL is found in significant quantity.
    • NORSE (24D: Like Hel and Odin) Hel is a legendary being in NORSE mythology who presided over a place of the same name. Odin is a prominent god in NORSE mythology, and was the inspiration for the Marvel Universe god of the same name.
    The punctuation in the title of this puzzle made me chuckle; I can just imagine someone being excited by the discovery of SAWS! The first theme answer I uncovered was BUZZ LIGHTYEAR, which made me wonder if the theme answer would have an element relating to seeing or illumination, in addition to the SAWS. This didn't turn out to be the case (and I would have been astounded, honestly, if it were possible.) It was a fun theme, with some delightful theme answers, especially the ever-helpful CIRCULAR FILE. I enjoyed the cluing voice here. Nice to see a new approach to clue EDEN, and I liked the trivia included in the clue for OSTRICHES. This puzzle was a delightful way to start my Monday.