March 7, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editors: Erik Agard & Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
PRUNE JUICE (17A: High-fiber fruit drink)
PRIMARY SOURCE (35A: Firsthand account)
PUFFED RICE (56A: (Grain in bhel puri)

Theme synopsis: The word PRICE appears in each theme answer, but it is CUT, with some of the letters appearing at the beginning of the answer, and the rest of the letters at the end of the answer.

Things I learned:
  • ATMS (1A: H Mart conveniences) H Mart is a supermarket chain based in New Jersey, and specializing in providing Asian foods. The "H" in "H Mart" stands for "Han Ah Reum," a Korean phrase meaning "one arm full of groceries." I was not familiar with H Mart. There aren't any in Iowa (yet); the closest one to me is in Chicago, Illinois. However, the answer was inferable, as ATMS are conveniences offered at many marts. 
  • TOE (30A: Tabi sock part) Tabi are socks with a divided section for the big TOE. The traditional Japanese socks are designed to be worn with thonged footwear. There are also some boots and shoes which are divided and have a separate section for the big TOE. 
  • PUFFED RICE (56A: (Grain in bhel puri) Bhel puri is made of PUFFED RICE, vegetables, and tamarind sauce. The savory snack originated from India, and has a crunchy texture. 
  • TEA (27D: Sencha, e.g.) Sencha is a type of Japanese green TEA. Sencha is made by infusing processed whole tea leaves in hot water. This differentiates it from matcha, which is made by mixing green tea powder in hot water. 
  • CUKES (48D: Sunomono veggies, for short) Sunomono is a cucumber salad with a vinegar dressing.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ROSE RED (23A: Color named for a flower) and APRICOT (25A: Color named for a fruit) A nice pair of color clues right next to each other. 
  • DOE (31A: Female antelope) Other animal species in which the female is referred to as a DOE are caribou, chamois (a type of goat-antelope), deer, gerbils, goats, hamsters, hares, kangaroos, koalas, mice, rabbits, rats, squirrels, and weasels.
  • TET (42A: Vietnamese spring festival) Also known as the Lunar New Year, TET is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. This year TET was celebrated on February 12
  • SARCASM (47A: Humor that might be lost in a text message) I have long maintained that a SARCASM font would be extremely useful.
  • SAUL (52A: "Better Call ___") Better Call SAUL is a TV series following the transformation of a former con artist into a criminal lawyer. Better Call SAUL was a spin-off of and a prequel to Breaking Bad.
  • TREE (59A: Willow, e.g.) My cat, Willow, understands the validity of this answer, but is
    nonetheless disappointed. 
  • MOUSSE (3D: Creamy chocolate dessert) Mmmmm, chocolate MOUSSE. A MOUSSE incorporates air bubbles to achieve a light, airy texture. The dessert is typically made from whipped egg whites, whipped cream, or both, and then flavorings are added. The mention of chocolate MOUSSE always reminds me of my high school job working at a Bonanza Steakhouse. (That's been many years ago, but I can still recite the menu to you, complete with the associated numbers of each item.) One of the offerings on the salad bar was chocolate MOUSSE, which we made by adding chocolate syrup to imitation whipped topping. 
Geography review:
  • SEOUL (13A: Largest city in South Korea) SEOUL is also the capital of South Korea, as well as the home to the headquarters of several global companies, including Samsung, and Hyundai.
  • RENO (28A: NV city) What can I tell you about RENO, Nevada that I haven't mentioned in its previous puzzle appearances? In 1927, RENO passed liberal divorce laws allowing people to divorce each other after six weeks of residency. This led to RENO being a destination for people to get divorced until the 1970s when other states passed laws easing divorce requirements. 
  • PISA (34A: Italian city with a "torre pendente") "Torre pendente" translates to "leaning tower," so the answer is PISA, Italy, home to the famous leaning bell tower.
  • SUN (4D: Star on the Rwandan flag) Rwanda is a landlocked country in Africa. It's flag has horizontal stripes of blue (representing happiness and peace), yellow (representing economic development), and green (representing the hope of prosperity). A yellow SUN on the blue stripe symbolizes enlightenment.
  • STL (55D: Home to the Griot Museum of Black History (Abbr.)) The Griot Museum of Black History is located in ST. Louis, Missouri. The museum opened in 1997 as The Black World History Wax Museum. The name was changed in 2009. In some African countries, the "Griot" is one who collects and shares the stories and cultural traditions of the community.
  • USA (57D: Katie Ledecky's Olympic team) Katie Ledecky is a Team USA swimmer who has won five Olympic gold medals.
In looking back over the puzzle, it strikes me that PRUNE JUICE and PUFFED RICE are an interesting combination. I'm intrigued by the contrast of the adjoining answers PLEASURE and RAT RACES, and by the intersection of PLS and SASS. Oh, I also see that PLEASURE has TERROR stacked on top of it. This puzzle contains an ARM and LEG ROOM, as well as the aforementioned pair of ROSE RED and APRICOT. It is a puzzle of ECLECTIC pairings! This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Sunday morning.


  1. Sally: I don't do social media, texts, and such, but I'd love to have a "sarcasm font" for use on regular emails and responses. A great idea of yours! But, would the recipient know the meaning of the font?
    We'd want them to, certainly. Thanks also for your explanation of Tabi socks. I'm a big, big, fan of Japanese films--particularly ones from the late 20's through the 50's. I always wondered how all those Japanese feet fitted comfortably in the ever-present sandals. Now I know!



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