January 21, 2021


Constructor: Pao Roy

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
CREDIT CARD (16A: Wallet item that might get swiped)
SPECIAL K (22A: Kellogg's cereal brand)
HOT TAKES (46A: Controversial opinions)
CHEESE BALL (53A: Edible orange orb)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer can follow the word EXTRA to create a new phrase. We have EXTRA CREDIT, EXTRA SPECIAL, EXTRA HOT, and EXTRA CHEESE.

Things I learned:
  • DUNN (34A: Supermodel Jourdan) Jourdan DUNN has modeled for Marc Jacobs and Polo Ralph Lauren and been in ad campaigns for Maybelline New York, Neiman Marcus, Ann Taylor, and many more companies. In 2015, she received an "Inspiration Award" from Glamour for her work to raise awareness for Sickle-cell disease and for her activism for diversity in the modeling industry. 
  • BOSS (39A: Climactic video game opponent) In video games, the term BOSS refers to a significant computer-controlled enemy. A BOSS battle is characteristically fought at the end of a game level or stage. I've played some computer games, but not enough to have the terminology down. I've probably heard this term before, but wasn't familiar enough to recall it to fill it in without crossing answers. If you play enough video games, you might also encounter a miniBOSS, a superBOSS, or a final BOSS. 
  • MAUS (41D: Pulitzer-winning graphic novel whose title is German for "mouse") The graphic novel, MAUS, by Art Spiegelman depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and a Holocaust survivor. MAUS was serialized in Raw magazine from 1980 to 1991 before being collected into a novel.
  • ATUL (43D: Surgeon and writer Gawande) ATUL Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and a professor at Harvard Medical School. He writes extensively on medicine and public health, and is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. Gawande was a member of President Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board during Biden’s transition to office.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ANN (35A: Soul singer Peebles) ANN Peebles recorded "I Can't Stand the Rain" in 1973, a song which she also co-write. The song was later recorded by Tina Turner and Eruption. ANN Peebles was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2014. 
  • CALL (42A: "___ Your Girlfriend" (podcast)) Described as "a podcast for long-distance besties everywhere," CALL Your Girlfriend is a podcast co-hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, who call each other every week to discuss pop culture, politics, and much more.
  • DURIAN (44A: Pungent fruit of Southeast Asia) Although some people describe DURIAN as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance, many people find its aroma unpleasant and overwhelming. It has been described as smelling like rotten onions, turpentine, or raw sewage. Since its smell lingers, some hotels and public transportation services in Southeast Asia have banned DURIAN. And yet, people eat it.
  • NOAH (52A: Bible character similar to Nu'u) In the Bible, NOAH built an ark to save land animals and his family from the extinction during the Flood. In Hawaiian mythology, Nu'u built an ark and escaped a Great Flood. His ark landed on top of Mauna Kea. 
  • ODE (59A: "homage to my hips," e.g.) Lucille Clifton is the author of the ODE "homage to my hips."
  • COMIC SANS (4D: Typeface released in 1994) COMIC SANS was originally created for use in informal documents and children's materials. It has inspired many strong feelings. Many people like it. Many people do not. There's even a group called Ban COMIC SANS. (I tried to write this entry in COMIC SANS, but while the result was successful on my computer, it did not display correctly on my mobile devices, so you'll just have to use your imagination.)
  • ZOOLANDER (33D: 2001 comedy about a fashion model) Ben Stiller stars as Derek ZOOLANDER, in this movie which is a satire on the fashion industry.
  • KOALA (47D: Australian "bear") Often called a KOALA "bear" because of its resemblance to a bear, a KOALA is actually a marsupial. Its closest relative is the wombat.
  • SHEEP (49A: Animal in Catan pastures) In the game Settlers of Catan, the SHEEP produce wool. Wool is one of the resources I'm looking for to complete a full set of Catan resource puzzle appearances. So close!
  • BUS (54D: "The Magic School ___") Ah, The Magic School BUS with its guide, Ms. Frizzle, whose outfits coordinate with the adventure for the day. I always enjoyed reading these books to my kids. There's also a video game and TV series. It's a fun way to learn science concepts. 
Is it just me, or is this puzzle just SO EXTRA? In a good way, of course! A fun theme with some nice theme answers. I liked the clue for CREDIT CARD with a possible double meaning of the word swiped. The theme answers are all on the shorter side - 8 and 10 letters - allowing for a plethora of enjoyable long downs. We have COMIC SANS, PURPLE RAIN, AIR KISSES, ENTER HERE, ZOOLANDER, and that's not even all of them! An enjoyable solve and a great way to begin my Thursday. 


  1. Yay! I'm glad you liked it and that you learned so much new stuff from the puzzle. I tried to cram it in with as many things that I love as possible :)

    1. You did a fantastic job - so much good stuff in here!

    2. Hopping in to say how much I loved this! All the long fill was just *excellent*, on top of a really fun theme


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