October 31, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
DRAGON FRUIT (17A: Tropical fruit with white flesh and black seeds)
TURTLE SUNDAE (38A: Vanilla ice cream topped with caramel, fudge and pecans)
SPIDER ROLL (62A: Sushi order stuffed with soft-shell crab)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer is a FOOD item featuring an ANIMAL in its name. On today's menu: a DRAGON, a TURTLE, and a SPIDER.

Things I learned:
  • MAI (44A: "The Real" co-host Jeannie) Television presenter, make-up artist, and stylist, Jeannie MAI co-hosts the TV talk show, The Real, with Adrienne Bailon, Loni Love, and Garcelle Beauvais. MAI and her co-hosts won a 2018 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host. The Real, which premiered in 2013, won a 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Talk Series.
  • ARE (52A: "Bodies ___ Cool") Bodies ARE Cool by Tyler Feder is a body-positive picture book for preschoolers. The book, published in June of this year, celebrates all types of bodies. You can hear Tyler talk about the book here. I love the idea of this book, and the illustrations are great. I just might have to add this book to my bookshelves. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • GHOST (6A: Shape of a Halloween cookie, maybe) A nod to the date. Happy Halloween!
  • DRAGON FRUIT (17A: Tropical fruit with white flesh and black seeds) Just last Sunday I learned from the puzzle that DRAGON FRUIT is also known as pitaya. 
  • PAST (32A: Tense of "passed") The PAST tense of "pass" is "passed," or "passed" is the PAST tense of "pass." Fun brain-twister of a clue.
  • TOK (45A: "Tik ___" (Kesha hit)) "Tik TOK" was Kesha's debut single, released in 2009, seven years before the social media application of the same name.
  • ONE (53A: Half and half) This "half and half" is not the milk-cream mix we saw as a theme answer yesterday. Instead, this clue is best interpreted as a math question. If you add half (1/2) and half (1/2), you get ONE.
  • STEW (67D: Nabemono, e.g.) Nabemono is a style of cooking also referred to as Japanese hot pot. The STEW is often kept hot at the table by the use of a portable stove.

    Geography review:
    • RHINE (22A: River through Germany) The RHINE begins in the Swiss Alps, runs along the Germany-France border, then through through the German cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf, eventually emptying into the North Sea. 
    • FLA (25A: Miami's state (Abbr.) Miami lies on the southeastern coast of Florida (FLA) on Biscayne Bay. 
    • EURO (64A: Currency in Luxembourg) Luxembourg is a landlocked country in Western Europe. Its neighbors are Belgium, Germany, and France. The country's capital is Luxembourg City, and its national language is Luxembourgish. The currency of Luxembourg is the EURO.
    • HILO (59D: Oldest city in Hawaii) HILO, Hawaii is located on the Island of Hawai'i. Its earliest inhabitants date back to around 1100 A.D.
    A SPIDER ROLL with a side of DRAGON FRUIT, followed by a TURTLE SUNDAE, would be a delicious meal for Halloween, or any day really. In addition to the ANIMALs in the theme answers, we have a few other critters in our puzzle today: a RAT, a SWAN, and a red SNAPPER, as well as falcon and crab mentioned in clues. My favorite answer today is TAKE CARE (38D: "Be well!") That's my closing salutation of choice for my e-mails. This asymmetrical puzzle was a good way to begin my Halloween Sunday.