August 20, 2021


Constructor: Sara Cantor

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
BRICK HOUSE (18A: "Three Little Pigs" abode that thwarts the Big Bad Wolf)
BRIGHT FUTURE (29A: Happy and successful time to look forward to)
BRINGS TO LIFE (48A: Infuses with liveliness)
BRILLIANCE (60A: Exceptional intelligence)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answered is SANDWICHed inside of CHEESE, in this case the CHEESE is BRIE, with the letters BRI- at the beginning of each theme answer and the letter -E at the end.

Things I learned:
  • OPAL (13A: Fusion of Amethyst and Pearl in "Steven Universe") Steven Universe is an animated TV show that tells of the adventures of magical alien warriors known as the Crystal Gems. The title character, Steven Universe, is a hybrid between a "Gem" and a human. The Crystal Gems are working to protect the Earth and the fictional town of Beach City. At times, two or more Gems may combine to create a larger, more powerful Gem, as is the case when Amethyst and Pearl fuse to create OPAL. The character of OPAL is voiced by Aimee Mann.
  • OTHER (21D: "The ___ Black Girl") The OTHER Black Girl is a 2021 novel by Zakiya Dalila Harris. The thriller is set in the world of the publishing industry, an industry that has historically had few people of color among its employees.
  • ROALD (49D: Chemistry Nobelist Hoffman) ROALD Hoffman is a fascinating person, and I appreciate learning about him! In addition to being a Nobel Prize-winning chemist (in 1981 for his work on chemical reactions), he is a poet and playwright. He was born in Poland in 1937, and is a survivor of the German Nazi occupation. Since 1965, ROALD Hoffman has been teaching at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he is currently the Frank H. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus. (Incidentally, on this date in 1965, I was born!) ROALD Hoffman speaks often on the connections between art and science, and has written two books on the subject: Beyond the Finite: The Sublime in Art and Science, and ROALD Hoffman on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry
  • LEE (65D: Brennan ___ Mulligan of "Fantasy High") Dimension 20 is a tabletop role-playing game show produced by the Internet comedy company, College Humor. Debuting in 2018, Fantasy High was the first campaign presented on Dimension 20. Brennan LEE Mulligan is the host and Dungeon Master for the show.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ATE (16A: Enjoyed some nam khao) Nam khao is a dish in Lao cuisine made with deep-fried rice balls, chunks of pork sausage, peanuts, coconut, and other ingredients. It is traditionally eaten wrapped in a lettuce leaf.
  • KEEBLER (22A: Cookie Brand with spokeselves) The KEEBLER elves have been promoting KEEBLER products since their introduction in 1968. Ernie KEEBLER became "head elf" in 1970. Many other elves make appearances in ads including Fryer Tuck, Ma Keebler (Ernie's mother), Zoot and J.J. (Ernies's nephews), Elmer, Fast Eddie, Buckets, Sam, Roger, Doc, Zack, Flo, Leonardo, Elwood, Professor, Edison, Larry, and Art.
  • AOL (23A: "You've got mail" company) I have previously written about Elwood Edwards, the voice of the "You've got mail" messages. 
  • PBS (34A: "Sesame Street" network) Always happy to see both PBS and Sesame Street in my puzzle. Sesame Street premiered on November 10, 1969. There are over 150 versions of Sesame Street, and it is produced in over 70 languages. Today I learned from the Sesame Street website that Elmo now has a puppy named Tango.
  • NYE (55A: Bill ___ the Science Guy) PBS was also the network for three of the five seasons of Bill NYE the Science Guy, the TV series that featured Bill NYE doing his thing (his thing being science,  of course!)
  • THIS (58A: "___ message will self-destruct") THIS is a fun way to clue the word THIS! The phrase "THIS message will self destruct" is a classic line from the Mission: Impossible franchise. In the original TV show, the line was "THIS tape will self destruct."
  • DATE (71A: First food consumed for iftar, often) Iftar is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily fast during the month of Ramadan. Traditionally, three DATEs are eaten to break the fast.
  • NFL (26D: Org. that Sarah Thomas refs in) Sarah Thomas became an NFL official in 2015, and in 2021 became the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl game.
  • GRU (30D: "Despicable Me" protagonist) The 2010 animated movie, Despicable Me, introduced us not only to GRU, but also to his assistants, the Minions. 
  • USA (31D: Simone Manuel's Olympic team) I learned about Simone Manuel, the first Black woman to win a gold medal for Team USA in an individual swimming event, from the March 2, 2021 puzzle
Geography review:
  • PENINSULA (34D: Florida, for one) In today's geography review, we are reminded that a PENINSULA, such as Florida, is land surrounded on by water on most, but not all, of its border. 
The BRIE serves as the bread in today's theme answer SANDWICHes. The BRILLIANCE of the answers BRIGHT FUTURE and BRINGS TO LIFE were lovely. I also liked that the BRIE break was consistent throughout the themers. PAVILIONS and PENINSULA were nice long Down answers. I especially liked the clue for ASLEEP (39A: Like Clara for most of "The Nutcracker"). This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my birthday! 
I have previously mentioned the 7xwords puzzle project. I constructed today's puzzle, and I invite you to check it out. Happy solving!


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