September 26, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
SMALL POTATOES (19A: No big deal)
JERRY RICE (36A: NFL wideout with 22.895 career receiving yards)
OUR DAILY BREAD (56A: Lord's Prayer sustenance)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer ends with a food that is a CARBohydrate. Our CARB LOADed puzzle is serving up POTATOES, RICE, and BREAD.

Things I learned:
  • POT (25A: Chankonabe holder) Chankonabe is a protein-rich Japanese stew. It is traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers as a part of a weight-gain diet.
  • EAT (43D: Enjoy nian gao, for example) Nian gao, also known as Chinese New Year's cake, or rice cake, is a sticky sweet snack made from glutinous rice flour. Although eaten year round, it is considered good luck to eat nian gao during the Chinese New Year.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ELBA (5A: Idris who played Mandela) Idris ELBA played the role of Nelson Mandela in the 2013 biographical movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
  • RICCI (18A: Actress Christina) Christina RICCI's first movie role was playing Cher's daughter. In the 1990 movie, Mermaids, RICCI played Kate Flax, 9-year-old daughter of Rachel Flax, a role played by Cher. More recently, Christina RICCI stars in the TV series, Yellowjackets, which is set to premiere in November of this year. 
  • WHO AM I (22A: End of a riddle) For example: I'm a god, a planet, and measurer of heat. WHO AM I? You'll find other WHO AM I? riddles here. (Oh, the answer is Mercury.)
  • JERRY RICE (36A: NFL wideout with 22.895 career receiving yards) This is the third time since I began blogging that JERRY RICE has been a theme answer. And all three of those puzzles have been constructed by Zhouqin Burnikel. I learned about JERRY RICE when he was a theme answer for the puzzle AFTER A MINUTE on June 28, 2020. We saw JERRY RICE again almost a year later on June 23, 2021 in a puzzle titled THE LAST STRAW. Apparently JERRY RICE has a theme-friendly name!
  • NOT (50A: The N in NSFW) and GRAPHIC (15D: Featuring explicit detail) NSFW = NOT safe for work, a label that may be attached to videos containing GRAPHIC images or profanity.
  • DUO (2D: Sam & Dave, e.g.) Sam & Dave (Sam Moore and Dave Prater) were nicknamed "The Dynamic DUO," and are considered one of the greatest live acts of the 1960s. Their hits included the 1966 song, "Hold On, I'm Comin'" and the 1967 song, "Soul Man." 
  • BUMPS (7D: Parts of tactile paving units) Tactile paving is a system of textured ground surface indicators, such as BUMPS, used on sidewalks, stairs, and transit platforms. The textured surface is detectable by a cane or underfoot, and serves as a warning of approaching streets or changes in grade.
  • TACO PIE (10D: Tex-Mex dish with a crust) TACO PIE essentially takes the ingredients of a TACO, places them in a PIE pan, and bakes them. Nothing wrong with that - sounds delicious!
  • AMA (20A: Org. whose website has a "Delivering Care" page) The AMA whose website has a "Delivering Care" page is the American Medical Association. (Not to be confused with the American Marketing Association that has the URL.)
  • PATREON (40D: Crowdfunding website) PATREON is a platform that lets content creators run a subscription service. Supporters provide monthly payments to creators, and in exchange receive exclusive content. A variety of content creators use PATREON, including writers, video creators, and crossword constructors
  • GYROS (53D: Tzatziki-topped sandwiches) GYROS are Greek pita-wrapped sandwiches containing meat and vegetables, and topped with tzatziki - a yogurt, cucumber sauce. GYROS remind me of one of my work-study jobs in college. I worked in the grill and deli in the student center. One of our most popular menu items were GYROS.

    Geography review:
    • ETNA (9A: Volcano on Sicily) If you look at a map, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily, appears to be getting kicked by Italy's "boot." Sicily is a region of Italy, and is separated from the Italian Peninsula by the Strait of Messina. A prominent landmark on Sicily, Mount ETNA is one of the world's most active volcanoes.
    • IRAN (60A: Forugh Farrokhzad's country) Born in 1934, Forugh Farrokhzad was a poet in IRAN at a time when few women's voices were being heard in that country. She died in a car crash in 1967, at the age of 32, but her poems are still being read, and she is regarded as one of IRAN's most influential poets. Her poetry was banned for over a decade in IRAN, beginning in 1979 after the overthrow of the secular monarchy, but that censorship did not diminish her appeal in the country, and may have had the opposite effect.
    • TURK (28D: Person from Ankara or Istanbul) Ankara is the capital of TURKey, and Istanbal is TURKey's largest city.
    • SRI (46D: ___ Lanka) SRI Lanka is an island country in South Asia. The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait separate SRI Lanka from the Indian subcontinent.
    This CARB LOADING puzzle would be an appropriate warm-up for a puzzle marathon. (That reminds me to remind you it's not too late to sign up for Boswords Fall League!) In addition to the answers I've highlighted above, I liked OLD SOUL and NICE ONE. I thought the last row of the puzzle had an interesting story to tell. Those who TANK might say, "This just ISN'T fair!" and suffer from bruised EGOS. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Sunday.