December 8, 2021


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
TOO MUCH TOO SOON (16A: A lot to deal with right out of the gate)
TOOK A GOOD LOOK AT (41A: Examined thoroughly)
FROM DOOR TO DOOR (65A: How some canvassers go)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer contains exactly SIX Os.

Things I learned:
  • CMA (33A: Award for Maren Morris) Maren Morris is a country singer, and the winner of several (Country Music Association) CMA Awards. In 2016, she won a CMA Award for New Artist of the Year. In 2019, her album, Girl, won a CMA for Album of the Year. In 2020, Maren Morris won the CMA Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, and her song, "The Bones," won two CMAs - Song of the Year and Single of the Year. I clearly don't follow country music as closely as I used to! Here's a
    fun thing: In 2014 I stood at the podium in the rotunda of the Country Music Hall of Fame. (I was not winning a CMA Award, however.)
  • KEN (46A: Actor Watanabe) KEN Watanabe played the role of Dr. Ishiro Serizawa in the 2014 remake, Godzilla, and the 2019 sequel, Godzilla: King of Monsters. He made his Broadway debut in 2015 playing the title role in The King and I. KEN Watanabe was born in Hirokami, Niigata, Japan.
  • REED (62A: Author Ishmael) Ishmael REED is the author of several published books, including the 1972 novel, Mumbo Jumbo. He has also written songs, operas, and poetry. His works are often characterized by satire, surrealism, and racial and political commentary.
  • ROE (64A: Ikura or tobiko) Ikura is red caviar. It is made from the ROE of salmon and trout. Tobiko is the ROE of flying fish.
  • FBI (65D: Target of a high-profile burglary in 1971) I was only six years old when the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania was broken into. The burglars were never caught, and their identities were unknown until their story was told in the 2014 book by Betty Medsger, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI. Their story was also told in the 2014 documentary, 1971. This year, fifty years after the burglary, a historical marker was placed in Media, Pennsylvania documenting the heist. It was fascinating learning about this. In addition to the other articles I've linked, I found this Washington Post article provided a good overview. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ODOR (13A: Tasmanian devil emanation) The Tasmanian devil is not just a Looney Tunes character; it is a marsupial native to the island of Tasmania. Like skunks, when they are stressed, Tasmanian devils produce a strong ODOR.
  • SKYE (20A: ___ terrier (dog breed) SKYE terriers were first found on the Isle of SKYE in Scotland.
  • OTOE (37A: The ___-Missouria Tribe) OTOE and Missouria peoples in Oklahoma form the OTOE-Missouria Tribe. The OTOE and Missouria tribes both originated in the Great Lakes region.
  • TOES (52A: Ostriches have two on each foot) An emu, on the other hand, has three TOES on each foot. (Just in case we see that as a clue some day.)
  • FROM DOOR TO DOOR (65A: How some canvassers go) I thought of DOOR TO DOOR  right away, but knew it wasn't long enough, and only had 5 Os. I thought of "knocking" DOOR TO DOOR to pick up another O, but, of course, that was too long. I needed the help of crossing answer to figure out the correct phrase.
  • LUCKY DOG (5D: One who gets all the breaks) Did anyone else think of this 1987 LUCKY DOG commercial while filling in this answer?
  • BRO (8D: Steph, to Seth Curry, for short) Steph Curry and his BRO, Seth, both play basketball  in the NBA. (I'm pretty sure I learned this from crosswords.) Steph Curry plays for the Golden State Warriors. Seth Curry plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • POSE (9D: TV show featuring the House of Evangelista) In drag ball culture of the 1980s and 1990s - the focus of the TV series, POSE - Houses are communities that support each other. In addition to the House of Evangelista, POSE has featured the House of Abundance, the House of Ferocity, the House of Wintour, the House of Khan, the House of Xtravaganza, the House of Pendavis.
  • TIN (12D: Pewter component) Pewter is an alloy of TIN, antimony, copper, and bismuth. Silver is sometimes a component of pewter. Depending on the pewter, TIN may make up 85-99% of the alloy.
  • ODIN (18D: Frigg's husband in Norse myth) I have previously written about ODIN, Frigg's one-eyed husband. 
  • PROWL (56D: Hunt like a puma) This is the third mention of pumas we've seen this week. We saw PUMA as an answer on December 4, PUMAS as an answer on December 6, and today we see puma in the clue for PROWL. All three of these puzzles were constructed by different people. Prior to this, we hadn't seen puma as an answer in the puzzle since January 27. There is no real point to my ramblings here, other than I think these coincidences are fun. All of a sudden, everyone's thinking of pumas! My cat, Willow, approves of this cat content.

    Geography review:
    • OHIO (45A: State where Halle Berry was born) Halle Berry was born in Cleveland, OHIO (a city located on the southern shore of Lake ERIE). In 1986, she was Miss OHIO, and was first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant. Fun fact: Her given name at birth was Maria Halle Berry. It was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry when she was five years old.
    • AMMAN (27D: University of Jordan City) AMMAN is the capital and largest city of Jordan, a country in Western Asia. The University of Jordan was founded in 1962 by royal decree, and is the oldest university in Jordan.
    • ERIE (63D: Pennsylvania City) ERIE, Pennsylvania is on the southern shore of Lake ERIE, about 100 miles from Cleveland, OHIO. I was curious whether there are cities in the United States named ERIE that are not located on Lake ERIE, and the answer is yes. Cities, towns, or villages named ERIE can be found in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and North Dakota.
    O, what a fun puzzle. It seems like it's been a bit since we've seen a letter-focused theme such as this. TOO MUCH TOO SOON was my favorite theme answer today. My favorite research today was learning about the FBI heist of 1971 that resulted in the leak of TOP SECRET information. This puzzle was a fine way to begin my Wednesday.