May 16, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
RELIVE THE PAST (20A: Flip through your yearbook, perhaps)
RESEARCH GRANT (37A: Bit of funding from a foundation)
RORSCHACH TEST (55A: Evaluation with inkblots)

Theme synopsis: The word REST is broken by each theme answer, resulting in some of the letters appearing at the beginning of the answer, and the remaining part of the word appearing at the end.

Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • CROC (14A: Gator's larger relative) Apparently, a difference in size is one of nine characteristic differences between alligators and crocodiles. I'm not convinced this is useful information for me, because if I ever encounter either of these animals in the wild, I likely won't stick around to figure out whether it's a gator or a CROC.
  • SIC (52A: [Not my error]) SIC is the start of a Latin phrase, "SIC erat scriptum," meaning "thus was it written." When a [SIC] is inserted in quoted material, it is a way for a writer to indicate that an error is not their own, but was present in the original material. 
  • RORSCHACH TEST (55A: Evaluation with inkblots) In 1921, Hermann RORSCHACH, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, published Psychodiagnostik, a book describing his research around the diagnostic value of patient's responses to inkblots. After evaluating several hundred inkblots, RORSCHACH chose a set of ten for use in his TEST. The ink blots were hand drawn by RORSCHACH, five with black ink, two with black and red ink, and three with multicolored ink. Herman RORSCHACH died a year after publishing his book. I wonder what he would think about the ROHRSCHACH TEST still being utilized a hundred years after the book's publication? Want to know more? I found this Guardian article interesting. 
  • HAUTE (61A: ___ couture) The French phrase "HAUTE couture" translates as "high sewing," or "high dressmaking." HAUTE couture refers to custom-made, high-end fashion.
  • SCARAB (1D: Beetle-shaped amulet of ancient Egypt) SCARAB amulets were popular in ancient Egypt, around 2000 BCE. Many of the amulets have survived. The popularity of SCARAB amulets may have been due to religious reasons. The Egyptian god, Khepri, who represents the rising sun, was depicted with a SCARAB face.
  • CASH (7D: Red envelope contents) In some Asian cultures, hóngbāo is a gift of CASH given in a red envelope to celebrate special occasions such as weddings, graduations, or the birth of a baby. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck.
  • REI (39D: Comme des Garçons founder Kawakubo) I just recently learned about fashion designer REI Kawakubo. Comme des Garçons is a Japanese fashion label. 
  • RANCH (40D: Creamy salad dressing) RANCH dressing is the best-selling salad dressing in the United States. Did you know it was invented by a plumber? Nebraska native Steve Henson invented the salad dressing while he was working as a plumbing contractor in Alaska. 

Geography review: 

  • SOCAL (5A: L.A.'s area) Southern California, or SOCAL, includes the Los Angeles (L.A.) metropolitan area. SOCAL is generally defined as the 10 southernmost California counties, with the state's remaining 48 counties classified as Northern California.
  • RENO (16A: Nevada city home to the National Bowling Stadium) The National Bowling Stadium in RENO, Nevada has an 80 foot aluminum geodesic dome on top of it, built to resemble a bowling ball. Opened in 1995, and nicknamed the "Taj Mahal of tenpins," the National Bowling Stadium is often used to film bowling scenes for movies, including the 1996 movie, Kingpin.
It's Sunday, a good day to take a REST BREAK. I appreciated that the theme answers represented each possible BREAK of the word REST. I enjoyed the non-theme answers EASY READ and FELT SEEN. This puzzle was a lovely way to begin my Sunday.