November 21, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
LISTEN TO ME (17A: "Pay close attention!")
ROTTEN TOMATOES (40A: Movie and TV review website)
WRITTEN TEST (64A: Driver's license requirement)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer has the word TENT IN it, spanning the two words in the answer.

Things I learned:
  • LEE (63A: ___ Kuan Yew, first prime minister of Singapore) LEE Kuan Yew became the first prime minister of Singapore in 1959 (Official title: Prime Minister, State of Singapore) when Singapore achieved self-governance.  He remained the prime minister of Singapore (Prime Minister, Singapore in Malaysia) after the merger of Singapore, Malaya, Sarawak and North Borneo to form Malaysia from 1963 to 1965. After Singapore became independent in 1965, LEE Kuan Yew served as the Prime Minister, Republic of Singapore until 1990. His total time as prime minister was 31 years and 178 days. LEE Kuan Yew died in 2015 at the age of 91.
  • RAP (40D: MC Jin's music) MC Jin is the professional name of RAP artist Jin Au-Yeung. MC Jin is the first Asian American solo RAP artist to be signed to a major U.S. record label. He has had songs on the 2 Fast 2 Furious and Fast & Furious 6 soundtracks. 
  • OTTO (61A: "The Unusual Suspects" actress Miranda) The Unusual Suspects is an Australian TV mini-series now available on Hulu. The show is a comedic drama centered around a planned jewel heist. Miranda OTTO plays the role of socialite (and jewelry thief) Sara Beasley. I was familiar with Miranda OTTO, but had not heard of this show. I might have to check it out.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • HALO (1A: Angelic Beyonce hit) Well, this puzzle solve began with the first clue giving me an earworm. ("I can feel your HALO (HALO) HALO...") BeyoncĂ©'s 2008 song, "HALO," is from her album, I Am...Sasha Fierce
  • BIRD (10A: Robin or frogmouth) There are many varieties of robin, identifiable by the orange-red coloring on their undersides. A frogmouth is a nocturnal BIRD named for its frog-like gape when using its flattened bill to capture insects. Though frogmouths resemble owls, they are more closely related to hummingbirds. I highly recommend watching this video about frogmouths to bring some joy to your day. 
  • TABOO (20A: Wearing outside shoes indoors, for example) Do you wear shoes inside? I never wear shoes inside, not because it is TABOO in our house, but because I simply don't like shoes. My husband, however, always wears shoes. So if you ever come to visit us, you will feel at home whether or not you are wearing shoes. 
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES (40A: Movie and TV review website) ROTTEN TOMATOES is a website that aggregates movie reviews. Each movie is given a "Tomatometer" score based on whether reviews are positive or negative. 
  • MAORI (32D: Indigenous New Zealanders) The MAORI people arrived in New Zealand from East Polynesia between 1320 and 1350. 
  • MANATEE (38D: Herbivorous marine mammal) The herbivorous MANATEE is also sometimes referred to as a sea cow. MANATEEs live in marshy coastal areas and rivers in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Amazon basin, and West Africa.
  • TUTORIAL (43D: "How to do a perfect messy bun," e.g.) This TUTORIAL will help you make "The Perfect Messy Bun in 3 Easy Steps." If you are more interested in the type of buns you can eat, here's a TUTORIAL on "How to Make the Best Sticky Buns of Your Life."
  • CAT (49D: Pet that might be an avid birdwatcher) Willow has realized that if she sits on my computer, she can keep track of me and watch BIRDs at the same time.

    Geography review: 

    • NEPAL (15A: Country that celebrates Tihar) Tihar is a five-day Hindu festival. It is celebrated in NEPAL, a landlocked country in South Asia, and in the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal. Similar to the Indian festival of Diwali, during Tihar, diyas (oil lamps made from clay) are lit throughout the home and outside. Tihar differs from Diwali in that it includes celebration and worship of the creatures associated with Yama, the Hindu god of death. This year Tihar was celebrated from November 2-6.
    • LISBON (3D: Capital home to the Rua Augusta Arch) LISBON is the capital and largest city of Portugal. The Rua Augusta Arch is a stone, arch-like building that was built to commemorate the reconstruction of LISBON after an earthquake in 1755. Construction of the Rua Augusta Arch was begun in 1755 and completed in 1873. The building features six columns and is decorated with various historical figures.
    Each day when I see the puzzle's title, I try to guess what the theme of the puzzle will be. Today's title led me to guessing the exact opposite of what the theme turned out to be. My guess was that the theme answers would be contained within the word TENT. However, LISTEN TO ME appropriately clued me in to the fact that TENT was found INside the answers. This is another asymmetrical grid from Zhouqin Burnikel. In addition to the answers highlighted above, I enjoyed LET'S GO, IS IT TRUE, and PLAY. This puzzle was a great way to begin my Sunday.