December 11, 2021


Constructor: Kate Hawkins

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
LABOR LAWYER (20A: Professional who might represent a union)
LAYOVER (36A: Waiting period between flights)
LIKE A PRAYER (50A: Madonna hit that starts with the lyric "Life is a mystery")

Theme synopsis: The word LAYER is found on the OUTER edges of each theme answer, with some letters at the beginning of the answer, and the remaining letters at the end.

Things I learned:
  • MULTIMEDIA (17A: Like many Nam June Paik works) Nam June Paik was a pioneer of video art. One of his works, "TV Garden" combined TV monitors and live plants. Another, "Magnet TV," utilized a powerful magnet placed on top of a TV set to produce abstract images. "TV Buddha" is a video sculpture consisting of a statue of Buddha that is watching an image of itself on a TV screen. Nam June Paik died in 2006 at the age of 73.
  • LADY (9D: Deer ___(legendary shapeshifter)) In Indigenous American cultures, the Deer LADY is a spirit whose characteristics vary depending on the situation. Appearing as either a beautiful young woman with deer feet, or a deer, she is associated with fertility and love to people that show respect to women and children. However, she is said to have lured men that harm women and children to their deaths. In the TV series, Reservation Dogs (that I have previously written about), Kaniehtiio Horn plays the role of the Deer LADY.
  • ICEE (51D: Brand of frozen drinks and hand sanitizer) I'm familiar with ICEEs, of course (after all, ICEE is a crossword frequent flier), but I had no idea ICEE had started making hand sanitizer. (This seems like a bad idea, but maybe that's just me...)
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • TOES (16A: A polydactyl cat might have seven on one paw) If you need a refresher on the
    fascinating subject of polydactyl cats, you can read what I wrote on the topic last month. Willow is not polydactyl - she has five TOES on each front paw, and four TOES on each back paw. As you can see from this picture, after learning about the board game Isle of Cats from the December 4 puzzle, I did end up adding it to my board game collection. I can report that my daughter, husband, and I all enjoyed the game. (My husband particularly liked it because he won the first three games we played!)
  • SHIN (21A: Dreidel letter) Each side of a dreidel features a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: nun, gimel, hei, and SHIN. 
  • LIKE A PRAYER (50A: Madonna hit that starts with the lyric "Life is a mystery") "LIKE A PRAYER" is the title track from Madonna's 1989 album.
  • HE'S (64A: "___ Just Not That Into You" (2009 rom-com)) The movie, HE'S Just Not That Into You was based on a 2004 self-help book of the same name by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. 
  • CHEWIER (8D: Like the rope in Nerds Rope vis-a-vis the Nerds) As I learned from the November 12, 2020 puzzle, Nerds Rope is a gummy string with the candy Nerds attached to the outside.
  • MOIRA (24D: "The Crows Have Eyes 3: The Crowening" star Rose) MOIRA Rose is a fictional character (played by Catherine O'Hara) on the TV series, Schitt's Creek. MOIRA is a formerly wealthy daytime soap opera star. The Crows Have Eyes 3: The Crowening is an equally fictional movie-within-a-show, but even so, trailers and reviews of the movie - in which MOIRA Rose plays ornithologist, Dr. Clara Mandrake - are available. 
  • BEY (25D: "Love on Top" singer's nickname) "Love on Top" is a 2011 song by BeyoncĂ©, from her studio album, 4.
  • AHAS (53D: Some exfoliants, for short) Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAS) are a class of chemical compounds used in the cosmetic industry as chemical peels.

    Geography review:

    • BAY (25A: The Chesapeake, for one) Located in Maryland and Virginia, Chesapeake BAY is the largest estuary (a water passage where the tide meets a river current) in the United States.
    • EURO (27A: Coin in Cannes) Cannes is a city on the French Riviera known for its annual film festival, and its luxury hotels and restaurants. The currency of France is the EURO.
    • RIO (35A: ___ Grande) The RIO Grande River begins in Colorado and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The RIO Grande serves as part of the natural border between Texas and Mexico.
    • OSLO (5D: Capital of Norway) Well, hello, OSLO, I've missed you since we last saw you in the puzzle...yesterday. OSLO has been the home of the Nobel Peace Center since 2005. The Center showcases winners of the Nobel Peace Prize and their work.
    • ERIE (10D: First Great Lake alphabetically) Geography quiz: Can you list all of the Great Lakes alphabetically? Answer at the end of this blog post. 
    • OMAN (13D: Muscat's sultanate) Muscat is the capital and most populous city of the Sultanate of OMAN.
    • MYRTLE (44D: ___ Beach, South Carolina) MYRTLE Beach, South Carolina is a coastal city located on the Atlantic Ocean. MYRTLE Beach is a popular destination for tourists, but if you're planning a visit, it's wise to be aware of some of the MYRTLE Beach Laws, including a ban of thong bikinis, and no dogs allowed on the beach during the day from May 1 to Labor Day.
    I enjoyed all of the LAYERs of today's puzzle. I liked that the word LAYER was split differently in each theme answer. I enjoyed the paired consecutive clues of HUNT (45A: Pursuit) / PREY (46A: Object of a pursuit) and NET (33D: Tennis court divider) / ARTHUR (34D: Tennis great Ashe). And the clue for BUNT made me smile: (49A: Baseball action that sounds like a cake). This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Saturday.

    Answer to Geography Quiz: ERIE, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior