October 6, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
LISA LESLIE (17A: First player to dunk in a WNBA game)
SUNISA LEE (38A: First Hmong American to win an Olympic gold medal)
MELISSA LEO (63A: Best Supporting Actress winner for "The Fighter")

Theme synopsis: The three theme answers are LADIES whose names contain the word SALE spanning their first and last names.

Things I learned:
  • HOPI (1A" Dextra Quotskuyva, ethnically) Dextra Quotskuyva was a fifth-generation HOPI potter, and is considered one of the greatest HOPI potters of the 20th century. She was proclaimed an "Arizona Living Treasure" in 1994, and was Arizona State Museum's first recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. The book, Painted Perfection: the Pottery of Dextra Quotskuyva was published in 2001 and chronicles her work. I am a fan of pottery, and was delighted to learn about Dextra Quotskuyva. Her pottery is beautiful.
  • SHRIMP (47A: Crustacean in ebi tempura) Ebi tempura is deep-fried SHRIMP served in Japanese cuisine with a soy-based sauce for dipping. 
  • MELISSA LEO (63A: Best Supporting Actress winner for "The Fighter") The Fighter is a 2010 movie about professional boxer Micky Ward and his half-brother Dicky Eklund. MELISSA LEO plays Micky and Dicky's mother, Alice Eklund Ward, a role for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
  • LAO (64D: ___ Gan Ma sauce) LAO Gan Ma is a brand of chili sauces originating from China and marketed worldwide. "LAO Gan Ma" translates to "old godmother."
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • LISA LESLIE (17A: First player to dunk in a WNBA game) I mentioned this fact about WNBA legend LISA LESLIE when I learned about her from the January 25, 2021 puzzle. (Almost) everything I know about sports I learned from crossword puzzles!
  • DMS (22A: D&D game runners, for short) DMS = dungeon masters, those who are in charge of organizing and facilitating D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) games.
  • TATAMI (32A: Japanese floor mat) A TATAMI is a type of mat traditionally used as flooring in Japanese rooms.
  • SUNISA LEE (38A: First Hmong American to win an Olympic gold medal) SUNISA LEE (who sometimes uses the nickname SUNI) was the all-around gymnastics gold medalist at the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021). As the clue tells us, she was the first Hmong American to win an Olympic gold medal. SUNISA LEE is currently a student at Auburn University, and a competitor on Dancing With the Stars. I was excited to see SUNISA LEE in the puzzle! I read about SUNISA LEE's accomplishments when she won her Olympics gold medal, making this one of the few sports things I did not learn about from a crossword puzzle.
  • ANNA (66A: Fashion designer Sui) I did learn about ANNA Sui from a crossword puzzle
  • LYE (18D: Corrosive chemical) and EROSIVE (27D: Like something that wears things away) and ACID (31D: Substance with a pH under 7) I was a little bit concerned that these three entries were going to combine to ERASE (67A: Remove all traces of) the center of the puzzle!
  • INERT (54D: Like the noble gases) Always happy to see some chemistry in my crossword. The INERT (chemically inactive) noble gases are helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon.
  • LAP (62D: Place for a cuddly kitty) This is Willow's favorite clue/answer pair
    in this puzzle, and my LAP is her favorite place to be.

    Geography review:
    • ERIE (53A: The "E" of HOMES) HOMES is the mnemonic that can help one remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, ERIE, and Superior.
    • IDA (4D: Potato state (Abbr.)) IDAho produces about one-third of the U.S. potato crop each year. The capital of IDAho is Boise.
    • BAHAMAS (11D: Nassau's country) Nassau is the capital and largest city of the island country the BAHAMAS. 
    • TAIPEI (13D: Taiwan's capital) Approximately one-third of Taiwan's residents live in the TAIPEI-Keelung metropolitan area in northern Taiwan.
    What a fun theme! The SALESLADIES in our puzzle aren't shopkeepers, but rather have the word SALE in their names. I liked the consistency of the -SA ending the first name, and the LE- beginning the second name. The vertical 7- and 8-letter answers really shone today: OH GOD NO, OMINOUS, PISTONS, FREE REIN, BAHAMAS, EDAMAME, EROSIVE, PRO BONO, and ORACLES are all a BIG DEAL. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Wednesday.
    Two additional things to tell you today: First, your reminder that it is National Noodle Day! Celebrate by eating your favorite kind of noodles. Secondly, this is your monthly reminder that Sally's Take has a "Donate" button. "But wait," you might be thinking, "today isn't the 10th of the month." I'm doing the monthly money chat a few days early this month because for the next few days I have a slate of amazing guest bloggers lined up to talk about each day's puzzle. That leads me to one of the reasons your financial support of Sally's Take is important: it allows me to pay my guest bloggers for their time and effort. During my first year of blogging, I was fortunate to have some folks volunteer their time to guest blog so I could occasionally have some days off. I am so grateful for Matthew Stock, Sid Sivakumar, and Brooke Husic! It has been one of my goals since early on, however, to be able to pay those who fill in for me. Writing is an art, and artists deserve to be reimbursed for their time and talent. The support of readers has enabled me to achieve that goal. Know that when you financially support Sally's Take, you're supporting not only my work, but that of my guest bloggers as well. Thank you to all of you who support this blog in so many ways!