January 13, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
JASMINE GUY (3D: Actress with six consecutive NAACP Image Awards)
GREEN THUMB (18D: Knack for gardening)
LEMON SHARK (20D: Subtropical ocean predator)
ROSE PARADE (27D: Floral procession in Pasadena)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer is a type of TEA. Since the theme answers are all vertical, their first words are HIGH in the puzzle. Today's HIGH TEA features JASMINE TEA, GREEN TEA, LEMON TEA, and ROSE TEA.

Things I learned:
  • IAN (34A: Actor Alexander) IAN Alexander played the role of Buck Vu on the Netflix TV series, The OA. IAN also played the role of Vic in the movie Every Day. 
  • JASMINE GUY (3D: Actress with six consecutive NAACP Image Awards) JASMINE GUY won those NAACP Image Awards for her portrayal of Whitley Gilbert-Wayne on the TV series, A Different World. 
  • EATS (28D: Enjoys some vada pav, say) Vada pav is a deep fried potato dumpling inside a bun. It is served accompanied by chutney and a green chili pepper. Vada pav is native to the state of Maharashtra in India.
  • BEET (51D: Rosolli veggie) Rosolli is a salad in Finnish cuisine. It is made of diced root vegetables, especially BEET, carrot, and potato, and may contain pickled cucumber, onion, and/or apple. The dish is eaten cold and is often served with a dressing made of whipped cream or a type of sour cream.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • UDON (15A: Noodle eaten with mentsuyu) Made from dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar, mentsuyu is a condiment used as a dipping sauce for UDON noodles. For some reason, writing this blog post is making me hungry.
  • GUESS (57A: "___ Who's Coming to Dinner") The 1967 movie, GUESS Who's Coming to Dinner was one of the few films of the time to depict an interracial marriage. The 1967 Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down laws banning interracial marriage occurred while the film was being made. The film is also notable for being the ninth and last movie that Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made together, as Spencer Tracy died shortly after filming was completed.
  • ANT (4D: Insect with two stomachs) One of an ANT's stomachs holds food for its own consumption. The other stomach (the "social stomach") holds food to be shared with other ants.
  • COCO (23D: "Let It Shine" actress Jones) Let It Shine is a 2012 musical movie that premiered on the Disney channel. COCO Jones played the role of Roxie Andrews, a teenage hip-hop singer. 
  • ROSE PARADE (27D: Floral procession in Pasadena) The ROSE PARADE was first held on January 1, 1890. The annual parade marks the start of the Rose Bowl Game, a college football bowl game. Since 1890, the only years the ROSE PARADE has not happened were 1942, 1943, and 1945 as a result of World War II, and this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • BLESS (45D: "___ your heart!") Sometimes this expression is said sincerely. Often, however, it is used in the manner former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley used it on Twitter in 2016
Geography review:
  • BAJA (1A: ___ California, Mexico) BAJA California is the westernmost and northernmost Mexican state. The U.S. state of California is north of BAJA California.
  • IRAN (13A: Maryam Mirzakhani's birth country) Born in Tehran, IRAN, Maryam Mirzakhani was a mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. In 2014, she was awarded the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, becoming the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored with the award. Mirzakhani died of breast cancer in 2017 at the age of 40.
  • NOME (25A: City in western Alaska) NOME, Alaska is the ending point for the annual Iditarod Dog Sled Race. NOME also claims to be home to the world's largest gold pan, a claim disputed by Quesnel, British Columbia.
  • BAY (41A: Chesapeake, e.g.) Located in Maryland and Virginia, Chesapeake BAY is the largest estuary (a water passage where the tide meets a river current) in the United States.
  • EURO (36D: Currency in Latvia) Latvia is a country in northern Europe. Its capital is Riga.
  • OSLO (48D: Norway's largest city) OSLO is also Norway's capital. This is the second puzzle appearance this year for crossword-friendly OSLO.
  • SNOW (49D: Kangchenjunga covering) Located between Nepal and India, Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world. 
TEA is my beverage of choice, and I am a fan of HIGH TEA. Therefore, this puzzle's theme was just my cup of TEA. Nice solid theme answers all around. STRING BEAN and SNEAK A PEEK were particularly fun non-theme bonuses. I also liked BEMOANs. HOW'S your day so far? My day got off to a delightful start with this puzzle.