October 25, 2020


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
BEVERAGE CAN (17A: Recyclable container)
BEACH VACATION (28A: Shore getaway)
BEAST OF BURDEN (49A: Donkey or llama)
BEAUTY SALON (64A: Place for a facial)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer either begins with BE- and ends with -AN, or begins with BEA- and ends with -N. Therefore, the word BEAN is "snapped" by each theme answer.

Things I learned:
  • RONDA (40A: Pro wrestler Rousey) RONDA Rousey won a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympic Games. She was the first American woman to win an Olympic medal for judo. Rousey also had a career in mixed martial arts before becoming  a wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE).
  • PRAYER (53A: Masjid activity) Masjid is the Arabic term for a mosque. More accurately, mosque is the English term for a masjid. Masjid means "place of prostration." I did not know this term, and happy to learn it. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • INA (48A: "Barefoot Contessa" Garten) INA Garten is host of the Food Network show Barefoot Contessa. In 1978, Garten left a job as a budget analyst in the White House's Office of Management and Budget and bought a specialty food store in Westhampton Beach, New York. The store had been named Barefoot Contessa by its original owner as a tribute to the 1954 film starring Ava Gardner, and Garten kept the name.
  • LEFT UNSAID (11D: Avoided mentioning) "Not every thought that enters your head needs to be spoken aloud." (This is a reminder I often provide to my husband.)
  • ANNE BRONTE (30D: "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" author) The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was the second and final novel written by ANNE BRONTË, and is considered to be one of the first feminist novels. The novel discussed marital strife and presented a woman as having a profession (as an artist), topics that were not openly discussed in 1848.
  • SHE (65D: ___-Hulk) SHE-Hulk is a Marvel Comics character who first appeared in 1980 in the comic book, The Savage SHE-Hulk #1. The first issue was written by Stan Lee. In the comic, Jennifer Susan Walters is a lawyer who receives an emergency blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner (Hulk). As a result, Walters acquires a mild version of Banner's Hulk condition. Unlike Hulk, SHE-Hulk largely retains her personality when SHE transforms into a large, powerful, green version of herself.

    Geography review:
    • TACOMA (8D: Puget Sound seaport) TACOMA is located on Puget Sound, about 30 miles southwest of Seattle, Washington. Here's some trivia for you: Bing Crosby was born in TACOMA, Washington.
    • SAN (10D: ___ Francisco) SAN Francisco, California is the second most densely populated U.S. city. It seems so long ago, but I actually began this year with a trip to SAN Francisco with my daughter. 
    • ERIE (29D: Lake that drains via the Niagara River) The primary inlet of Lake ERIE is the Detroit River. The Niagara River, Lake ERIE's main natural outflow, provides hydroelectric power to Canada and the U.S. With this puzzle appearance of ERIE, the fifth this month, October now pulls ahead in the race for most ERIE appearances in a month. (Prior to today there was a three-way tie between August, September, and October.)
    • ALBANY (42D: Capital of the Empire State) Located on the Hudson River, ALBANY is the capital of New York. Interestingly, the origin of New York's nickname of the Empire State is unknown. It is thought that it may be a reference to the state's wealth and resources. The Empire State Building in New York City is named after the state nickname.
    When I began solving this puzzle, which has a food-related title, and filled in EGGOS, ROTIS, and BLINI, I began to get hungry. Other than some DILL and PHO, the rest of the puzzle led my mind to think of other things. I enjoyed this puzzle, and it was a nice way to begin my Sunday morning.