September 15, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
I'M NOT INTERESTED (17A: "Count me out!"
REDEEM NOW (28A: Online shopping button)
PROM NIGHT (45A: Occasion to rent a tux)
LIVE FROM NEW YORK (58A: "SNL" intro phrase)

Theme synopsis: The state abbreviation for MINNESOTA spans two of the words in each theme answer.

Things I learned:
  • WNBA (1A: Org. with a Sixth Woman of the Year Award) Since 2007, the WNBA has awarded a Sixth Woman of the Year Award annually. The honor is given to the player that has been most valuable to her team coming off the bench as a substitute. There are five starting players, thus the term Sixth Woman. I had heard of this award, but could not remember what it was when I read the clue. Dearica Hamby of the Las Vegas Aces won the Sixth Woman of the Year Award in 2019 and 2020.
  • SIBS (9A: The Shib ___ (ice dancing duo)) Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani are the Shib SIBS. The ice dancing partners and siblings won a bronze medal for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and have won multiple World championship and U.S. national championship medals.
  • WOLF (52A: Animal that's "ma'iingan" in Ojibwe) The Ojibwe are an indigenous people living in what is currently southern Canada and the northern midwest United States. The Ojibwe People's Dictionary will teach you how to correctly pronounce "ma'iingan."
  • XENA (54A: Maddy Court aka ___ Worrier Princess) Maddy Court is a writer. She writes a Substack newsletter called "XENA Worrier Princess." 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ANNE (37A: Actress Hathaway) ANNE Hathaway is quite talented, and has had many movie, TV, and stage roles. For me, however, she will always be ANNE Hathaway of the 2001 movie The Princess Diaries
  • SINAI (64A: Mount ___ Hospital)  One of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in the United States, Mount SINAI Hospital in New York City, was founded in 1852.
  • BONG JOON-HO (3D: Director of "Parasite") BONG JOON-HO won three Academy Awards for the 2019 movie, Parasite: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.
  • X-MEN (54D: Beast and Wolverine's team) The X-MEN are a group of Marvel Comics superheroes. The first appearance of the group was in the comic book, The X-MEN #1, published in 1963. Beast is one of the original X-MEN introduced in 1963. Wolverine was introduced in 1975.
  • LAP (58D: Place for a cat, or drink like a cat) My LAP is Willow's
    absolute favorite place to be. Her favorite way to LAP up water is from a dripping faucet. The latter part of the clue reminded me of one of our former cats, Holly. She used to drink water by scooping it up with her paw and then LAPping it up. It was quite comical to watch.

    Geography review:
    • NILE (48A: Cairo's river) The NILE River runs through Cairo, Egypt before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea.
    • DES (55A: ___ Moines Art Center) The DES Moines Art Center is located in Iowa's capital city. 
    • PENN (65A: Ivy League school in Philly) The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The abbreviation of Philadelphia to Philly in the clue lets us know we're looking for the school's abbreviated designation of PENN. The school is sometimes also referred to as UPENN.
    • NOME (2D: Alaska city that sounds like a lawn ornament) NOME, Alaska is the ending point for the annual Iditarod Dog Sled Race.
    • ERIE (24D: Lake south of London, Ontario) It hasn't been long since we've seen our crossword friend ERIE - just yesterday, in fact. 
    • MCLEAN (46D: D.C. suburb in Virginia) Due to its proximity to Washington, D.C., numerous government officials live or have lived in MCLEAN, Virginia, including President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
    MINNESOTA UNITED FC is a professional soccer club based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Today it is also the theme of our puzzle, illustrated by MN uniting two words in each theme answer. LIVE FROM NEW YORK was my favorite theme answer today. I also enjoyed I'M NOT INTERESTED, which sounds more polite than the emphatic "Count me out!" It took me a bit to uncover REDEEM NOW, as I wanted it to be "buy now" or "go to your cart" (which is obviously far too long...) This puzzle was NICELY DONE, and an enjoyable way to begin my Wednesday.