May 10, 2021


Constructor: Paolo Pasco

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
BABA GHANOUJ (17A: Lebanese eggplant dish)
DANDAN NOODLES (35A: Slurped dish with spicy sauce)
PUPU PLATTER (56A: Appetizer tray whose name comes from Hawaiian)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer is a food whose name begins with a syllable that is repeated a SECOND time.

And now a few words from our constructor:
Paolo: some words on 48d: one of the Pasco family pastimes is watching videos of people crushing it at karaoke machines in malls in the Philippines. that sent me on a youtube rabbit hole one night,
which led me to this video. beautiful stuff; impossible to hear without thinking "i need to put them in a puzzle ASAP." anyway thanks mom and dad for the clue inspo, and stream 4th impact

Things I learned:
  • ART (59A: Lady Aiko's field) Lady Aiko is a street ARTist in Brooklyn, New York. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Lady Aiko moved to Brooklyn in the mid-1990s when she was 20 years old. 
  • ELAINE (61A: News anchor Quijano) ELAINE Quijano is a correspondent and news anchor with CBS News. In addition to anchoring weekday coverage, she hosts the nightly politics show Red & Blue
  • OCARINAS (12D: Instruments for Link cosplayers) OCARINAS are ancient wind instruments, traditionally made from clay or ceramic. Link is the protagonist of the Nintendo video game series, The Legend of Zelda. The first 3D game in the series, released in 1998, is titled The Legend of Zelda: OCARINA of Time. In the game, Link time travels into the future using the OCARINA of Time. If you'd like to cosplay ("costume play") as Link, Etsy has multiple OCARINAS for sale
  • IRENE (48D: 4th Impact singer Cercado) The four Cerado sisters - Almira, IRENE, Mylene, and Celina - are also known as the Filipino girl group 4th Impact. In 2015, the group competed in the 12th season of The X Factor, a British singing competition, making it to the quarter finals before being eliminated. 4th Impact regularly posts cover songs on their YouTube channel, where you'll also fine a Mother's Day concert that they streamed yesterday.  
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ICE (16A: Surface for Michelle Kwan) Michelle Kwan is a retired ICE skater. She is a five-time World Champion for Team USA, and won a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics, and a bronze medal at the 2002 Olympics. 
  • BABA GHANOUJ (17A: Lebanese eggplant dish) BABA GHANOUJ (also spelled baba ghanoush or baba ganoush) consists of mashed, cooked eggplant combined with olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. Pita bread dipped in BABA GHANOUJ is delicious. 
  • SRY (24A: "pls forgive me) and SMH (25A: "I can't believe you") We have a little drama happening in this row of the puzzle. SRY (sry) = sorry; SMH (smh) = shaking my head
  • HAIR (31A: "And then I'll brush and brush and brush and brush my ___" (lyric in "Tangled")) Tangled is a 2010 Disney movie loosely based on the fairy tale "Rapunzel." These lyrics are from the song, "When Will My Life Begin?" sung by Mandy Moore, who voiced Rapunzel.
  • DANDAN NOODLES (35A: Slurped dish with spicy sauce) DANDAN NOODLES is a dish originating from Chinese Sichuan cuisine. A spicy sauce containing preserved vegetables, chili oil, Sichuan pepper, minced pork, and scallions, is served over noodles. The name DANDAN NOODLES refers to a type of carrying pole called a "DAN DAN" that was used by street vendors selling the dish.
  • CAR (55A: "You wouldn't steal a ___") "You wouldn't steal a CAR," is the first sentence of an anti-piracy PSA created by the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the Motion Picture Association and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore in 2004. 
  • PUPU PLATTER (56A: Appetizer tray whose name comes from Hawaiian) A PUPU PLATTER consists of an assortment of meat and seafood appetizers, such as an egg roll, spare ribs, chicken wings, fried shrimp, crab rangoon, etc. In Hawaiian, "pū-pū" denotes a relish, appetizer, or canapé.
  • NATO (63A: "November Alfa Tango Oscar") The NATO Phonetic Alphabet is a widely used radiotelephone spelling alphabet. This clue spells out NATO using the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. Clever.
  • MINA KIMES (11D: "NFL Live" analyst) In addition to being an NFL Live analyst, MINA KIMES is a senior writer at ESPN. Here's a fun fact: Last November, MINA KIMES helped chef David Chang become the first celebrity to win $1 million for charity on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Chang used his phone-a-friend lifeline to call MINA KIMES.
  • SPIDER (25D: Bug that bit Miles Morales) Miles Morales is one of the characters known as SPIDER-Man. I wrote more about Miles Morales for the April 7, 2021 puzzle
  • LATIN (47D: "Et tu" language) You can find more puzzles from Paolo Pasco at his crossword site, Grids These Days. If you'd like some less conventional puzzles that almost defy description, but are quite entertaining, you might check out Et 2, Etui.
Geography review:
  • ELON (39A: North Carolina university) ELON University is located in ELON, North Carolina. 
  • SAN (27D: The S in UCSF) The University of California, SAN Francisco is a part of the University of California system that is dedicated entirely to health science.
This puzzle made me hungry! I would happily eat any of the theme answers. Additionally, we had samosas with PEAS, and beef ALA mode. Yum! May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This puzzle was a great AAPI celebration, and a delightful way to begin my Monday. (Now I'm off to stream more 4th Impact...)

P.S. I learned after originally posting this that today is Paolo's 21st birthday - happy birthday!


  1. Just a quick note - the S in SMH stands for shaking, not smack

    1. Thank you for that! I corrected it above. I will be the first to admit I am not fluent in textspeak.


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