August 1, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
FLOOR AREAS (17A: Building stats)
CAMERA READY (37A: Wearing makeup and a stylish outfit, say)
FOR A REASON (59A: Purposely)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer contains the word RARE, with the letters split BETWEEN the words.

Things I learned:
  • ANA (27A: Fashion designer Locking) ANA Locking is the professional name of fashion designer ANA González Rodriguez, as well as the name of her Madrid-based clothing line. ANA Locking is also a judge on Drag Race España, a Spanish adaptation of RuPaul's Drag Race that premiered early this year. 
  • AMAL (58A: Canadian poet ___ El-Mohtar) In addition to poetry, AMAL El-Mohtar is an essayist and short story writer. Her short story, "Seasons of Glass and Iron," won Nebula, Locus, and Hugo Awards for Best Short Story. A fun fact I discovered about AMAL El-Mohtar is that she is passionate about blaseball. That's not a typo, Blaseball is an online game I had never heard of until this morning, a game that the Los Angeles Times described as "where America's pastime meets 'D&D.'"
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • BOLD (6A: What B stands for in a word processor) I use the Ctrl+B command all the time, and yet for some reason my first thought was "beta" rather than BOLD. Quickly sorted out, fortunately.
  • A LIST (14A: Lineup of VIP guests) and A TEAM (51D: Lineup of first-string players) This is a first-rate, elite puzzle!
  • SELA (28A: "Gone Girl" actress Ward) The 2014 movie, Gone Girl, is an adaptation of the Gillian Flynn's 2012 novel of the same name. Gone Girl is a psychological thriller about a woman who disappears, and her husband who is suspected of murder. SELA Ward plays the role of Sharon Schieber, a network TV host.
  • TESLA (40A: Nikola ___ Museum, Belgrade) The Nikola TESLA Museum in Belgrade, Serbia, is not only a science museum, but also the final resting place of engineer and inventor, Nikola TESLA. One of Nikola TESLA's inventions was the TESLA coil that I've written about previously
  • TATAMI (50A: Tea ceremony mat) A TATAMI is a type of mat traditionally used as flooring in Japanese rooms. 
  • ONCE (10D: The second O in YOLO) YOLO = You only live ONCE, a modern version of "carpe diem" (seize the day).
  • RED (38D: Chinese lantern color) In China, the color RED represents wealth, fame, and prosperity. Most Chinese lanterns are RED, with gold designs and tassels.
  • BANANA (41D: Fruit rich in potassium) In addition to BANANAs, other foods rich in potassium are baked potatoes, pinto beans, lentils, and avocados. 
  • ELKS (53D: Edmonton's CFL team) The Edmonton ELKS are a team in the Canadian Football League (CFL). The team was founded in 1949 as the Edmonton Eskimos, and changed their name to the Edmonton ELKS in June of this year. 
Geography review:
  • IDA (57A: State west of Montana (Abbr.)) The state of IDAho is west of Montana and Wyoming, north of Nevada and Utah, east of Washington and Oregon, and south of British Columbia, Canada.
  • TACOMA (43D: City home to the Washington State History Museum) TACOMA, Washington is located on Puget Sound, approximately 30 miles southwest of Seattle. The Washington State History Museum opened in 1996, and houses exhibits detailing Washington's history (as you might expect from its name). The upper level of the museum has a 1700 square foot model train layout recreating scenes from TACOMA's Union Station.
It took me quite some time to figure out the theme of this puzzle. I first noticed that each theme answer contains the word AREA, but could not figure out the connection between AREA and the title FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. I then noticed the first two theme answers contain the letters of the word FAR, but this is not true of CAMERA READY. There was a satisfying "Aha!" moment when I spotted the word RARE in CAMERA READY and confirmed its presence in FLOOR AREAS and FOR A REASON. My favorite theme answer today is FOR A REASON. I also enjoyed the answers NO REALLY, I'M DONE, and CLASS ACT. This puzzle was a nice way to begin my Sunday.