March 27, 2022


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
DROP OF WATER (17A: Bead not used for jewelry)
DEAD OWINTER (33A: Cold season's coldest period)
DAY OWORSHIP (55A: Time for sermons)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer has the initials DOW.

Things I learned:
  • TEA (19A: Nokcha or doncha) Nokcha and doncha are Korean TEAs. Nokcha is green TEA. Doncha is a variety of fermented tea sold in coin-shaped discs.
  • ISRAEL (2D: "Hawai'i '78" singer Kamakawiwo'ole) ISRAEL Kamakawiwo'ole, also known as Bruddah Iz, or IZ, was a Hawaiian singer and songwriter. In his song, "Hawai'i '78," the state motto of Hawaii - "Ua Mau Ea o ka 'Δ€ina i ka Pono" ("The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness") - is repeated multiple times. One of IZ's most popular songs is a medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow & What a Wonderful World." In 2011, NPR featured ISRAEL Kamakawiwo'ole in their "50 Great Voices" series, dubbing him "The Voice Of Hawaii." ISRAEL Kamakawiwo'ole died in 1997 at the age of 38. (Side note: In the "50 Great Voices" series, NPR also featured Asha Bhosle, who I learned about from yesterday's puzzle.)
  • ROAD (14D: Aizhai Winding ___ (scenic route in Hunan)) The Aizhai Winding ROAD in the Hunan province of China is a steep, ROAD with multiple switchbacks; there are 13 bends in the 6-kilometer (3.7 mile) route. The ROAD connects the Aizhai township, and the Aizhai Bridge
  • FAVA (56D: Bean in doubanjiang) Doubanjiang is a hot and savory paste in Chinese cuisine made from fermented FAVA beans. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • DORA (25A: Explorer who says "Swiper, no swiping!") In the animated children's TV series, DORA the Explorer, Swiper is an anthropomorphic fox that steals things. To prevent this, DORA, often with the help of the audience, must say, "Swiper, no swiping!" three times. 
  • INU (42A: Shiba ___ (spitz breed)) Shiba INU is a Japanese breed of hunting dog. A spitz, of which the Shiba INU is an example, is a type of dog characterized by long, thick fur, pointed ears, and tails that curl.
  • NETS (70A: Sepak takraw court dividers) In sepak takraw, also known as kick volleyball, players are only allowed to use their feet, knees, and head to get the ball over the NET. 
  • BODEGA (1D: New York corner store) Any mention of a BODEGA reminds me of the Twitter user BODEGA Cats
  • AHA (6D: ___ moment (sudden insight)) My "AHA moment" with today's theme occurred when this answer and LOWERED (5D: Brought down) made me realize that 17-Across was DROP OF WATER, not DROP OF sweat...AHA! D-O-W. Another "AHA moment" provided by this clue/answer was the realization that "AHA moment" appears to be one of my favorite blog phrases...I have used it quite a bit.
  • TRAN (23D: Movie star Kelly Marie ___) Kelly Marie TRAN played the role of Rose Tico in the Star Wars movies, The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). She also voiced the title character of the 2021 animated movie, Raya and the Last Dragon.

    Geography review:

    • BAHAMAS (51A: Country with the most Olympic gold medals per capita) The BAHAMAS is a country in the West Indies. It is comprised of more than 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of the BAHAMAS is Nassau. And as the clue informs us, the BAHAMAS is also the country with the most Olympic gold medals per capita. Isn't this an interesting fact? The BAHAMAS has participated in the Summer Olympics since 1952. During that time, they have won sixteen medals, and eight of those have been gold medals. Eight gold medals over 70 years may not seem like a lot, but when your population is around 400,000, that's an impressive number of gold medals. (In case you were wondering, the BAHAMAS have never participated in the Winter Olympics.)
    The DOW COMPONENTS in this puzzle are not companies that are part of a stock index, but the initials of the theme answers. I liked the consistency provided by all of the theme answers being of the format ___ OF ___. Other answers I liked today: HERE IT IS, FLORAL, FATHER TIME, WILD GOOSE, and I'M SO MAD. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Sunday.