November 15, 2020


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
OFFSHORE OIL RIGS (17A: Drilling structures)
MORE OF THE SAME (31A: Nothing new)
IN STORE ONLY (56A: Limitation on some marketing promotions)

Theme synopsis: There is a SANDWICH COOKIE - specifically an OREO - to be found sandwiched inside of each theme answer.

Things I learned:
  • EAGLE (22A: Albania's national bird) The golden EAGLE is the national animal of Albania. The country's flag is a black double-headed EAGLE on a red background. Other countries which have a type of EAGLE as their national bird are Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Scotland, Serbia, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • BRA (28D: Elomi garment) Elomi is a brand of lingerie manufactured by Wacoal. We saw Wacoal in a clue for BRA a few weeks ago
  • TAFT (57D: Sportscaster Jenny) Jenny TAFT is the moderator on Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, a sports talk show. She is also a pit reporter on BattleBots, a robot combat TV series.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • LEFTY (3D: About one in every 10 people) Although left-handed people make up only 10% of the general population worldwide, there is a higher percentage of left-handed participants in some interactive sports. In Major League Baseball, almost 40% of hitters and 30% of pitchers are left-handers. 
  • TLC (34D: "Waterfalls" group) "Waterfalls" is often considered the signature song for TLC. It was an international hit, topping the charts in many countries, including the U.S. where it spent seven weeks at the top of Billboard's Hot 100. In 2015, TLC launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $150,000 to finance their fifth album. The project was fully funded in less than 48 hours.
  • MANTA (31D: Ray with the largest brain of any fish) Additionally, the brain of a MANTA ray has a complex arrangement of arteries and veins (called a rite mirabile, Latin for "wonderful net") which may serve to keep it warm during dives in cold subsurface water. 
  • AIN'T IT (46D: "___ Fun" (Paramore song)) In 2015, "AIN'T IT Fun" won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
  • MEN (49D: "It's Raining ___") "It's Raining MEN" is 1982 song by The Weather Girls (who were formerly know as The Two Tons). It was a popular dance song and VH1 listed it as one of the Greatest Songs of the 1980s. Martha Wash, of The Weather Girls, and RuPaul did a version of the song in 1998 titled "It's Raining MEN...The Sequel."
  • PRADA (53D: Milan-based fashion label) When I saw a clue about a fashion label, I assumed I didn't know it. Then I realized I did, thanks to the movie, The Devil Wears PRADA.
Geography review:
  • ROME (40A: City home to the Trevi Fountain) The Trevi Fountain, designed by Nicola Salvi, is the largest Baroque fountain in ROME, Italy. It has been featured in several movies, including Roman Holiday and Three Coins in the Fountain
  • ASIA (51A: Sichuan's continent) Sichuan is a province in Southwest China. Just two days after it made its first November appearance, we see ASIA in the puzzle for the second time this month.
  • AGRA (10D: City home to the Taj Mahal) The Taj Mahal, a mausoleum housing the tomb of a Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, and his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is located in AGRA, India.
OREO! It was fun to see the sandwich cookie often used as a crossword answer feature as this puzzle's theme. The puzzle has left-right mirror symmetry instead of the more common rotational symmetry. Mirror symmetry is a helpful tool for constructors when the theme answers are all of different length, as seen here with 15-, 13- and 11-letter theme answers. I enjoyed the delightfully fun answers "OH YES I CAN!" and "WASN'T ME!" and the playful way they were clued. Nice to learn some fun FACTs from the puzzle about MANTA rays and LEFTYs. This puzzle was a lovely way to begin my Sunday morning. 


    1. Wow! So many interesting facts! Thanks for speaking to our Kiwanis Club yesterday. Your piqued my interest for sure, hence I had to check our your wonderful blog. hopefully you will see an article in The Story County Sun about your compelling program. Thank you!

      1. Thanks for stopping by the blog. I'm glad you enjoyed the program! It was delightful to be with you all virtually, and as you can tell, I am always happy to talk about crossword puzzles.


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