February 6, 2022


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editors: Mollie Cowger & Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
DEFICIT HAWK (3D: Hard-liner on government budget policies)
BABE RUTH AWARD (14D: Baseball honor named after "The Bambino")
TOAST HAWAII (24D: Open sandwich with ham, pineapple and cheese)

Theme synopsis: Reading down each vertical theme answer, we discover the word THAW.

Things I learned:
  • ANTHEM (32A: "Kimigayo," for Japan) The lyrics of Japan's national ANTHEM, "Kimigayo," form a waka poem. (Waka is a type of classical Japanese poetry.) With lyrics comprised of only 32 characters, and music that is 11 measures long, "Kimagayo" is one of the shortest national anthems. 
  • SOHO (37A: "Last Night in ___" (2021 film)) Last Night in SOHO is a psychological horror film starring Thomasin McKenzie as Ellie Turner, a young woman aspiring to be a fashion designer who begins dreaming of events that occurred in the 1960s. The film also stars Anya-Taylor Joy, Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp, and Matt Smith. Last Night in SOHO is the final film appearance of Diana Rigg, who died in 2020 at the age of 82.
  • EBAY (46A: Parent company of Gmarket) Gmarket is a South Korean online store. Gmarket was founded in 2000, and in 2006 launched a global website. The company was acquired by EBAY in 2009.
  • MAT (44D: Piloga surface) Piloga is a hybrid of Pilates and yoga, combining asanas with controlled resistance exercises.
  • ANA (61D: ___ Luisa jewelry) Founded in 2018, and based in Brooklyn, New York, ANA Luisa is a direct-to-consumer jewelry company. ANA Luisa emphasizes ethical and sustainable manufacturing and production, using recycled materials when possible, and maintaining 100% carbon and water neutrality. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • EMOTES (43A: Chat symbols on Twitch) Twitch is a video livestreaming service. It is most widely, but not exclusively, used for video game livestreaming. I, not unpredictably, associate Twitch with the streaming of crossword events, including the Boswords Winter Wondersolve happening this afternoon. Hopefully some of you will be puzzling along with me at Boswords! Similar to emojis, but specific to Twitch, EMOTES are emoticons that Twitch viewers can use in the chat stream. I've never really grasped the proper use of EMOTES, but I see there's a "Cool Cat" one. I might have to try that out this afternoon.
  • ASH (48A: Residue in a tandoor) and ATE (53A: Enjoyed some tandoori chicken) A tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven that can be used to prepare tandoori chicken, a dish of chicken marinated in yogurt and spices before being roasted.
  • BAGPIPER (60A: Musician at a St. Patrick's Day parade) If you need to watch some BAGPIPERs today, here's a video clip of BAGPIPERs in the 2019 St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City.
  • FORK (1D: Bad utensil for eating soup) and INANE (2D: Ridiculous) Ha! This clue for FORK was delightful and made me laugh. I enjoyed the appropriateness of the very next clue being [Ridiculous].
  • DEFICIT HAWK (3D: Hard-liner on government budget policies) I'm sure I've heard the term DEFICIT HAWK, used to describe those that place an emphasis on controlling government spending, but it took some letters from crossing answers to jog my memory. 
  • THETA (6D: Delta Sigma ___ (sorority)) Delta Sigma THETA was founded at Howard University in 1913. Delta Sigma THETA's first act of public service was participating in the Suffrage March of 1913.
  • BABE RUTH AWARD (14D: Baseball honor named after "The Bambino") "The Bambino" was one of BABE RUTH's nicknames. ("Bambino" means "babe," specifically "baby boy" in Italian.) The BABE RUTH AWARD is given annually to the Major League Baseball player with the best postseason performance. The 2021 winner of the BABE RUTH AWARD was Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves.
  • TOAST HAWAII (24D: Open sandwich with ham, pineapple and cheese) Broiled so the cheese begins to melt, and served with a maraschino cherry in the center of the pineapple slice, TOAST HAWAII was popularized by German chef, Clemens Wilmenrod. Andy Fletcher, the founding member of the electronic band, Depeche Mode, launched his own record label in 2002, naming it TOAST HAWAII, after the sandwich.
  • PEPPA (52D: "___ Pig" (children's cartoon)) PEPPA Pig is an animated TV series centering on an anthropomorphic piglet, her family, and friends.

    Geography review:

    • UPSTATE (56A: ___  New York (Albany's region)) Albany is the capital of New York. As the clue informs us, Albany is located in UPSTATE New York, the geographic region comprising most of the state, but excluding the New York City and Long Island. 
    • CHILE (25D: Coastal South American country) CHILE is a long, narrow country along the western coast of South America. The country is 2,653 miles from north to south, and its maximum east-west width is 217 miles. CHILE has close to 4,000 miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean. The capital of Chile is Santiago.
    When the hidden word in the theme answers is hinted at, but not explicitly stated, in the puzzle's title, there's a nice "OHO!" (31A: "Well, whaddya know!") moment when the word is discovered. Since many of Zhouqin Burnikel's recent puzzle have had asymmetrical grids, I noticed the rotational symmetry today. The grid shape is interesting, and results in enjoyable answers in each corner: FIDGET, ONEISH, BACTERIA, ALMANACS, BAGPIPER, ON RECORD, PARROT, PLEASE, and POLITE. This puzzle was a fine way to begin my Sunday.