May 5, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
LILAC BUSHES (16A: Sweet-smelling shrubs)
LAVENDER SACHETS (35A: Scented packets in a drawer)
PLUM PUDDING (56A: Boiled or steamed Christmas dessert)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer is a COLOR of PURPLE. We have LILAC, LAVENDER, and PLUM.

Things I learned:
  • ARIA (11D: Teatro Colon showstopper) The Teatro Col√≥n is an opera house in Buenos Aires, Argentina. National Geographic included it in its list of the Top Ten Opera Houses in the world. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • RASP (6A: Feature of Awkwafina's voice) Awkwafina is the professional name of Nora Lum. Her film credits include Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. She currently stars in the TV series, Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, in which she plays a fictionalized version of herself. Awkwafina has said that although she hasn't always liked her voice, she has "come to love it because people hear my voice now and it's the first thing they notice. They know it's me. I can't change it but I can embrace it."
  • LILAC BUSHES (16A: Sweet-smelling shrubs) This is a timely seasonal answer.
    Where I live, the LILAC BUSHES are currently in full bloom. In fact, I took this picture on my walk yesterday.
  • SOCCER (25A: Alex Morgan's sport) Alex Morgan is a professional SOCCER player. She plays for the Orlando Pride of the National Women's SOCCER League, and is a member of the United States women's national SOCCER team. Alex Morgan also starred in the 2018 movie, Alex & Me, in which she plays a fictionalized version of herself. (Who knew I would write "fictionalized version of herself" twice in one blog post?!)
  • ATE (39A: Gobbled down some gyoza, say) Gyoza, sometimes referred to as Japanese potstickers, are a variety of dumpling. Gyoza have thin wrappers, which are stuffed with a garlicky filling that may consist of minced pork, cabbage, and ginger. The dumplings are pan-fried, steamed, or boiled.
  • MEARA (51A: Comedian Anne) Anne MEARA was half of the comedy team, Stiller and MEARA. The Stiller half of the duo was her husband, Jerry Stiller. The pair made frequent appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Anne MEARA has multiple film, TV, and stage credits, including Night at the Museum and Archie Bunker's Place. MEARA died in 2015, at the age of 85.
  • PLUM PUDDING (56A: Boiled or steamed Christmas dessert) PLUM PUDDING, often a traditional part of a British Christmas dinner, has its origins in medieval England. In spite of its name, the PUDDING contains no PLUMs! In pre-Victorian times, the word PLUM was used as a term for raisins which, along with other dried fruits, are included in some recipes, and the name PLUM PUDDING has persisted.
  • ROSIE (6D: "The Flight Attendant" actress Perez) The Flight Attendant is a TV series based on Chris Bohjalian's novel of the same name. ROSIE Perez plays Megan Briscoe on the show.
  • SHE (8D: "Every Little Thing ___ Does Is Magic") "Every Little Thing SHE Does is Magic" is a 1981 song by The Police, and is now my earworm for the day. The song was written by Sting.
  • RENE (32D: "Nightcrawler" actress Russo) Nightcrawler is a 2014 movie about a freelance journalist who records violent events that happen at night in Los Angeles, and sells them to a local TV station. RENE Russo plays the role of news director, Nina Romina.
Geography review:
  • SOCHI (14A: 2014 Olympics city) SOCHI is a resort city in Russia, and the host city of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. SOCHI was also one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
  • LIMA (24D: Capital south of Bogota) LIMA is the capital and largest city of Peru. Bogota is the capital and largest city of Colombia. Both Peru and Columbia are on the western edge of South America.
  • NOTRE (29D: ___-Dame de Paris) As I have previously written, NOTRE-Dame de Paris, a cathedral in Paris, France, is undergoing reconstruction work following a fire in April, 2019. 
  • MIT (43D: School downriver from Harvard) MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Harvard are both located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The river mentioned here is the Charles River. Brandeis University and Boston University are also located on the Charles River.
  • LAO (57D: Language spoken in Talat Sao) Talat Sao is a morning market, and popular tourist destination in Vientiane, LAOS. 
  • DST (58D: Clock setting not observed by the Virgin Islands (Abbr.) The Virgin Islands are an archipelago (island group) in the Caribbean Sea.
A nice colorful theme today. I like THE COLOR PURPLE - the book, movie, and play of that name, and the COLOR itself. In addition to the theme answers, I enjoyed the entries MAKES A DEAL, COVER BANDS, CHARADES, I WISH, and OH COME ON. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Wednesday.