March 23, 2022


Constructor: Enrique Henestroza Anguiano

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
SWEET CAKES (20A: Term of endearment)
BITTER PILLS (37A: Outcomes that are hard to swallow)
SOUR GRAPES (56A: Sore losers attitude)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer is one of the five TASTE modalities: SWEET, BITTER, and SOUR. (The other two TASTEs are salty and savory, also known as umami)

Things I learned:
  • TASTE MAKERS (title) TASTE MAKERS is a 2021 book by Mayukh Sen with the subtitle Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America. There is also a PBS TV show called TASTE MAKERS (the show and the book are unrelated) hosted by Cat Neville.
  • DUCK (5A: Zhangcha ___ (tea-smoked dish)) Zhangcha DUCK is a dish in Sichuan cuisine, made by marinating DUCK, and then smoking it over a combination of tea and camphor leaves.
  • ROSALIA (40D: "El Mal Querer" singer) El Mal Querer (Spanish for "The Bad Loving") is ROSALIA's second studio album. The album was inspired by an anonymous 13-century novel, Flamenca, and each song on the album corresponds to a chapter of the book. The album was ROSALIA's baccalaureate project before she graduated from Catalonia College of Music (located in Barcelona, Spain).
  • NOVEL (50D: Kazuo Ishiguro creation) One of Kazuo Ishiguro's NOVELs is The Remains of the Day (1989), which received the Booker Prize for Fiction and was adapted into a 1993 movie of the same name. In 2017, Kazuo Ishiguro was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and moved to Britain with his family at the age of five.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • NBA (29A: Steph Curry's org.) Steph Curry plays basketball for NBA's Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry holds the NBA career record for three-pointers (3117). He also holds the record for the most three-pointers in a single season (402 in 2015-16). 
  • AKITA (34A: Dog breed that was an integral part of samurai culture) The AKITA is a large, powerful breed of dog originally from the mountainous regions of northern Japan. The AKITA is the national dog of Japan. The dogs served as companions for samurai (hereditary military officers) from the 1500s into the 1800s.
  • ESO (48A: "___ es!") "ESO es!" is a Spanish phrase meaning, "That's the idea!" or "That's right!"
  • EVIL (65A: Resident ___ (horror game series)) I learned about the Japanese horror video games, Resident EVIL, from the October 3, 2021 puzzle. The video games have been adapted into movies, TV series, comic books, and novels.
  • BEGONIAS (37D: Showy flowers) Here's an interesting fact pertaining to day's theme: Most BEGONIAS have a SOUR taste. Although some people do eat them, BEGONIAS contain oxalic acid, and have the potential to be toxic in large quantities.
  • DEBATE (42D: Event in "What the Constitution Means to Me") What the Constitution Means to Me is a play by Heidi Shreck. It premiered on Broadway in 2019 with Heidi Schreck in the leading role. Since 2020, What the Constitution Means to Me has been available on Amazon Prime Video. The play is partially autobiographical, telling of Heidi Shreck's experience participating in Constitutional DEBATEs when she was a teenager. 
  • AMELIA (46D: ___ Boynton Robinson (civil rights leader) AMELIA Boynton Robinson was a Civil Rights activist. She was a key figure in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. In 2015 during the Selma Voting Rights Movement 50th Anniversary Jubilee, AMELIA Boynton Robinson, in her wheelchair, was next to President Obama as they led people across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. AMELIA Boynton Robinson died in 2015 at the age of 104.
  • MYSELF (47D: "Me, ___ and I" (Beyonce song)) "Me, MYSELF and I" is a 2002 song by BeyoncĂ©. It was included on the singer's debut studio album, Dangerously in Love. The song is about lessons learned from dealing with a philandering partner.

    Geography review:

    • UCLA (6D: School hidden in "Eau Claire") Although UCLA is hiding in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the University of California, Los Angeles is located almost 2,000 miles southwest of Eau Claire.
    I enjoyed today's theme. I especially like that the theme answer are all things you "could" eat - CAKES, PILLS, and GRAPES, though the phrases have non-food meanings. Appropriately for a puzzle titled TASTE MAKERS, there were a number of food and drink references: Zhangcha DUCK, a glazed or cream-filled DONUT, SLOE gin fizz, KALE, and NUT MILK. We also have "Too many COOKS in the kitchen!" (7-Down) and ATE (31D: Got your grub on). This puzzle was a deliciously fun way to begin my Wednesday.