January 31, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
TIME FLIES (16A: "The years just zip by!")
WATER LILIES (29A: Floating pond plants)
TRACK RECORD (48A: History of achievements)
GAG ORDERS (64A: Some decrees from judges)

Theme synopsis: The last word of each theme answer can follow the word RUNNING to form a new phrase. We have RUNNING TIME, RUNNING WATER, RUNNING TRACK, and RUNNING GAG.

Things I learned:
  • PULI (5A: Dog with a corded coat) The PULI, or Hungarian Water Dog, is known for its long corded coat - tight curls which resemble dreadlocks. Most of the dogs are black, though some are white, gray, or cream-colored. They are active dogs with a history of being used as sheepdogs. The term used for a group of PULI is Pulik. This was a new breed of dog to me.
  • ASNER (18A: Screenwriter Jules) Jules ASNER wrote the screenplay for the 2017 movie Logan Lucky using the pseudonym Rebecca Blunt. She has also written a novel, titled Whacked, which was published in 2008. ASNER was previously an entertainment journalist on E! network.
  • SOY (53A: Natto source) A traditional Japanese food, natto is made from fermented SOY beans. Natto has a distinctive odor, similar to aged cheese. 
  • GIA (65D: Drag queen Gunn) GIA Gunn competed on the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, the second season of The Switch Drag Race, and the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • BAT (33A: Nocturnal mammal) and RAT (1D: Nocturnal rodent) and OWL (27D: Nocturnal bird) We have a nocturnal animal mini-theme going on here!
  • LANAI (35A: Hawaiian for "porch") A LANAI is a type of roofed porch or veranda with open sides. LANAI is also the name of one of the Hawaiian islands, the third-smallest of the eight main islands. We previously learned from the December 20, 2020 puzzle that the island of LANAI has no traffic lights. 
  • BLIND (26D: Like some users of tactile paving) Tactile paving is a system of textured ground surface indicators used on sidewalks and stairs, and on transit platforms. The textured surface is detectable by a cane or underfoot, and serves as a warning of approaching streets or changes in grade.
  • RODEO (56D: Texas' state sport) The world's first RODEO took place in Pecos, Texas. The largest RODEO in the world also happens in Texas - the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Texas is not the only state to have designated RODEO as its state sport. RODEO is also the official state sport of Wyoming and South Dakota.
Geography review:
  • SRI (22A: Colombo, ___ Lanka) SRI Lanka is a South Asian island country in the Indian Ocean. Colombo is the most populous city of SRI Lanka, and its executive and commercial capital. The legislative capital of SRI Lanka is SRI Jayawardenepura Kotte.
  • ANDES (39A: Range through Chile) The ANDES Mountains, located along the western edge of South America, are the longest continental mountain range in the world. In addition to Chile, the ANDES extend through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.
  • ARAB (44D: The "A" in UAE) The United ARAB Emirates, or UAE, is a country in Western Asia, located on the Persian Gulf.
My how TIME FLIES - today is the last day of January! In addition to the solid theme answers, I enjoyed the nocturnal animal mini-theme - a sort of RUNNING GAG in the puzzle. PUMP IRON and PAPRIKA were nice non-theme answers. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to start my Sunday, and a good warm up for the Boswords Winter Solve happening this afternoon. If you're participating in Boswords, happy solving and maybe I'll see you in the chat!