May 29, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
I'M GETTING OLD (19A: Remark from someone who's feeling their age)
BEIJING OLYMPICS (38A: 2008 event where Mongolia won its first gold medal)
TANGO LESSONS (55A: Classes for some ballroom dancers)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer contains the letter string G-O-L, which reads LOG when read BACKwards.

Things I learned:
  • ABBI (1D: "Fallen Too Far" author Glines) Fallen Too Far is the first of fourteen books in the Rosemary Beach series by ABBI Glines. The books are classified as new-adult fiction, a genre that emerged in 2009 and features protagonists who are 18-30 years of age. According to her website, ABBI Glines is positive she was British in a former life, and begins listening to Christmas music on October 1.
  • MANGO (7D: Aamras fruit) Aamras is a dish made from MANGO pulp. Ghee, milk, and/or sugar may be added to the pulp. It is served chilled, and often eaten with flatbread, such as chapati. Aamras originated in the Indian subcontinent.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • OIL (36A: Need for making deep-fried mandu) Mandu is a filled dumpling in Korean cuisine that may be steamed, boiled, pan-fried, or deep-fried. OIL is a need for making deep-fried mandu, and really a need for making deep-fried anything. 
  • BEIJING OLYMPICS (38A: 2008 event where Mongolia won its first gold medal) At the 2008 BEIJING OLYMPICS, Mongolia's Naidangiin T├╝vshinbayar won a gold medal in Judo. Prior to that time, Mongolia had only won silver and bronze medals. Mongolia also won a gold medal in boxing at the BEIJING OLYMPICS.
  • E-GIRLS (45A: Internet users who might wear pigtails) We saw e-boy in the puzzle last November, but this is the first appearance for E-GIRLS. Popularized by TikTok, the E-GIRLS and e-boys alternative fashion subculture emerged in the late 2010s. The look may include baggy clothes, neon-colored hair (sometimes in pigtails), nail polish, and decorative chains.
  • SWAN (47A: Waterbird associated with the constellation Cygnus) The constellation Cygnus derives its name from the Latin for SWAN. You may remember that a young SWAN is known as a cygnet. Cygnus is found in the northern sky. Five of the ten stars in the constellation are the grouping of stars known as the Northern Cross.
  • FAA (51A: Org. with a Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge) If you are interested in topics such as Aerodynamics of Flight and Weather Theory, you can download the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) website.
  • O'HARE (65A: Airport with a "Sky's the Limit" walkway) "Sky's the Limit" is an art installation designed by Michael Hayden. Since 1987, the neon light and mirror artwork has been a feature of the underground walkway connecting Concourses B and C at Chicago's O'HARE International Airport. I have been on this walkway. It's beautiful, and a bit trippy.
  • HIT IT BIG (5D: Strike gold) Just a couple of columns to the right, and this entry would have appropriately crossed the -G-O-L-D letter string of I'M GETTING OLD! ORO (21D: Gold, in Spanish) did cross -G-O-L-D, and that was satisfying.
  • EAGLE CAM (8D: Device mounted near a nest) One can spend a lot of time watching EAGLE CAMs (or so I'm told...) These devices allow up close views of Eagles. It's pretty amazing to be able to watch an egg hatch. Of course, an EAGLE CAM can also provide occasional reminders of the wild side of wildlife, such as when the cameras capture the birds bringing cats to the nest to feed their young. 
Geography review:
  • SAN (46D: ___ Juan Islands) The SAN Juan Islands are an island group in the Pacific Northwest between the state of Washington (of which they are a part), and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The islands are accessible by ferry or by air. I have been to the SAN Juan Islands, and the realization that that was over 30 years ago has me saying, "I'M GETTING OLD!"
A pleasant surprise to see a Zhouqin Burnikel puzzle on a Saturday, as we are usually treated to her puzzles on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Nothing ILL-FATED about this puzzle, with it's many delightful answers such as PET SPA (No, Willow, I'm not taking you to a PET SPA...), EAGLE CAM, and HIT IT BIG. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Saturday.


  1. "[E]vent where Mongolia won its first gold medal" was a nasty misdirection, since judo and boxing were the "events" where the medals were won.

    1. Agreed! I was also looking for a particular sport, until I had enough crossing answers filled in to point me in the correct direction.


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