August 22, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
I LOVE YOU TO BITS (20A: Words of deep affection)
SOUTHERN ITALY (36A: Capri and Naples region)
YOUTHFUL SPIRIT (55A: Opposite of an old soul)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer contains the word OUT, and also the word IT. In other words, each theme answer contains OUT WITH IT.

Things I learned:
  • COOK (16A: Prepare some jajangmyeon, say) Jajangmyeon is a noodle dish in Korean cuisine. Noodles are topped with a thick sauce of sweet wheat paste, pork, and vegetables. There is a Jajangmyeon Museum in Incheon, South Korea.
  • USA (51A: Chloe Dygert's Olympic team) Chloé Dygert is a professional racing cyclist. In addition to having won seven gold medals at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, she won a silver medal for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics.
  • ANIME (31D: "Cardcaptor Sakura" genre) Although I'm familiar with ANIME, the animated shows originating from Japan, my knowledge of specific shows is limited, and this one was new to me. Cardcaptor Sakura centers on an elementary school student named Sakura Kinomoto, and a set of magical cards. 
  • SUKIYAKI (36D: Japanese dish served nabemono style) Nabemono is a style of cooking also known as Japanese hot pot. Often used for cooking soups or stews, the pot may be kept at the table, kept hot by portable stoves. Sometimes the dish is cooked at the table. SUKIYAKI consists of meat, slowly cooked with vegetables.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • PRADO (5A: Museum with a Goya Gate) The PRADO is a Spanish national art museum located in Madrid. The north entrance of the museum is known as the Goya Gate. A statue of painter and printmaker Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes stands outside the entrance.
  • ETS (41A: Subjects of the song "Aliens Exist" (Abbr.)) ETS is short for extraterrestrials. "Aliens Exist" is a 1999 song by the rock band, Blink-182. One of the co-founders of Blink-182, Tom DeLonge, who wrote the song, is interested in UFOs and conspiracy theories.
  • MUG (42A: Chai latte holder) I own a MUG or two.
    Five years ago my husband built me a beautiful MUG rack to house my collection. It brings me great joy to choose my MUG each morning. 
  • UKE (43A: Instrument heard in "Aloha 'Oe," for short) The song, "Aloha 'Oe" was written around 1878 by Lili'uokalani, who was Princess of the Hawaiian Kingdom from 1891-1893. The song is a cultural symbol of Hawaii, and ukuleles or UKES are often the accompaniment. "Aloha 'Oe" was recorded by Bing Crosby in 1936, and by Elvis Presley in 1961. The song was in Elvis Presley's 1961 movie, Blue Hawaii, and also made appearances in the movies, Lilo & Stitch (2002), Aloha, Scooby Doo! (2005), and Train to Busan (2016).
  • COEL (63A: "Chewing Gum" actress Michaela) The TV series, Chewing Gum, created, written by, and starring Michaela COEL, is based on her 2012 play, Chewing Gum Dreams. The show is set in London, and tells the story of a 24-year-old shop assistant who decides she wants to explore the world and have sex. I learned about Michaela COEL from the September 18, 2020 puzzle
  • TEETH (65A: Giraffes have 32) So far the USA Today crossword has taught me possums have 50 TEETH, and adult ferrets have 34 TEETH. Now I know giraffes have 32 TEETH. Crosswords are educational, aren't they?
  • ABOUT (7D: "Everybody's Talking ___ Jaime") Everybody's Talking ABOUT Jaime is a musical inspired by the 2011 documentary, Jamie: Drag Queen at 16
  • OREO (9D: Cookie with Forbidden City flavors) In 2019, OREO collaborated with the Forbidden City to create cookies with imperial-inspired flavors such as lychee-rose and spicy pepper. The campaign included ads in which the imperial palace was recreated in OREOs
  • DRS (34D: Ph.D. holders) As a Ph.D. holder, I appreciate the choice to acknowledge that DRS can be Ph.D.s as well as M.D.s.
  • ETOUFFEE (38D: Cajun shellfish-over-rice dish) The clue describes ÉTOUFFÉE succinctly and accurately. The dish is made by simmering shellfish in a sauce flavored with Cajun seasonings.
  • FUR (40D: It might cover a cat owner's pants) It is amazing how much FUR one cat can shed. So much FUR! It's my experience that the amount of shed FUR increases exponentially with the number of cats in a house. It was fun to see PET (44D: Animal in a family photo) just after this clue.

    Geography review:
    • SOUTHERN ITALY (36A: Capri and Naples region) I recognized Capri and Naples as places in ITALY, but needed the help of crossing answers to identify them as located in SOUTHERN ITALY. Located on the Gulf of Naples, a bay off of the Mediterranean Sea, Naples is the largest city in SOUTHERN ITALY. Capri is an island (and the name of the main town on the island) located in the Gulf of Naples.
    • SLAVS (4D: Bosnians or Croats) SLAVS are people who speak any of the Slavic languages. SLAVS are the largest ethnographic-linguistic group in Europe.
    I enjoyed this playful theme, reinterpreting the phrase "OUT WITH IT!" to literally mean the words OUT and IT together. Also uplifting to have the puzzle tell me, "I LOVE YOU TO BITS."  I enjoyed the contrast between the answers LOST SOUL and YOUTHFUL SPIRIT. I also liked the sassy DON'T EVEN! This puzzle was a great way to begin my Sunday.