August 31, 2022


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
ESPRESSO BAR (16A: Place that serves cappuccinos)
MISO BUTTER (25A: Umami-rich condiment for grilled fish)
I'M SO BORED (47A: "Ugh, there's nothing to do")
CALYPSO BAND (60A: Musical group with steelpans)

Theme synopsis: The word SOB is found INSIDE each theme answer.

Things I learned:
  • AMBER (66A: "Prey" star Midthunder) Prey was released in July of this year, and is the fifth installment in the Predator franchise, a series of science fiction horror movies. Prey is a prequel to the first four Predator movies. It focuses on Naru, a skilled Comanche warrior portrayed by AMBER Midthunder, who is trying to protect her tribe from a humanoid alien. 
  • STEW (5D: Dubu jjigae, for example) Dubu jjigae is a Korean STEW made with firm tofu and seasoned with red chili paste, soy bean paste, and soy sauce.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ANNA (6A: "PEN15" actress Konkle) I have previously written about PEN15, a TV series starring Maya Erskine and ANNA Konkle.
  • PINTA (21A: Spanish word that's aptly an anagram of "paint") Although the anagram hint made this answer fairly easy to figure out, I'm not proficient enough in Spanish (read: not proficient at all...) to figure out why the anagram is apt. Two possible explanations: 1) The Spanish verb for "paint" is "pintar." 2) One translation of the Spanish word "PINTA" is "pint," which is a common unit of paint. Feel free to let me know if I'm overlooking an apt explanation.
  • NAMED (30A: "A Boy ___ Sue") "A Boy NAMED Sue" is a 1969 song by Johnny Cash. One thing I learned about this song today is that it was written by Shel Silverstein. Apparently, Shel Silverstein wrote a number of songs. I am familiar with his books of poetry, but if I knew he wrote music, I had forgotten that fact.
  • RAW EGG (53A: Tamago kake gohan ingredient) Tamago kake gohan is a popular Japanese breakfast food that consists of rice topped with a RAW EGG and soy sauce. 
  • CALYPSO BAND (60A: Musical group with steelpans) Steelpans are pitched percussion instruments made from 55 gallon industrial shipping drums. Like CALYPSO music, steelpans originated from Trinidad and Tobago. Here's a sample of a CALYPSO BAND playing steelpans.
  • TESLA (2D: Serbia's Nikola ___ Museum) I have previously written about the Nikola TESLA Museum located in Belgrade, Serbia.
  • UMPED (3D: Officiated at Target Field) Target Field is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the home field for MLB's Minnesota Twins.
  • NPR (4D: "Code Switch" network) Code Switch is a weekly NPR podcast featuring journalists of color having "the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for."
  • ALOES (6D: Medicinal succulents) My daughter recently gave me an ALOE plant for my birthday, and at her suggestion I have placed it on my desk. Now every morning as I write this blog, the crossword-friendly ALOE plant keeps me company.
  • EIDI (31D: Holiday money in an envelope) EIDI is a gift of money given as part of the celebration of the Muslim holidays Eid-al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
  • CASABAS (46D: Melons with wrinkly skin) CASABAS are related to honeydews. The melons tend to have one pointed end, and, as the clue informs us, their skin is textured furrows, wrinkles, and folds. CASABAS are generally yellow, with some greenish coloration, and the fruit is light green.
  • BIG CAT (48D: Leopard or tiger) My husband recently took this great photo of Willow striking her "leopard pose." When you're a housecat, your "tree" is whatever furniture is available.
    Willow's leopard pose

    Geography review:

    • SRI (50A: ___ Lanka) SRI LANKA is an island country in South ASIA. The official languages of SRI Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil.
    • ASIA (54D: Can Tho's continent) Can Tho is a city in Vietnam, which is in Southeast ASIA. Can Tho is known for its canals and floating markets. Our crossword-friend ASIA is squeezing in a second appearance this month just before August ends. After making six appearances in April and four in May, ASIA is now on a three-month streak of two appearances a month. As always, the only thing this signifies is that I like data.
    • BALI (57D: Island near Java) Indonesia is a country consisting of over 17,000 islands, two of which are BALI and Java. 
    This is the first time I've encountered a crying puzzle, so I wasn't quite sure how to comfort it...solving it seemed to help it release its SOBs. Jokes aside, I enjoyed this theme. I'M SO BORED is my favorite theme answer, but I promise I wasn't! I also liked GUESS WHAT and ON THE DL. Thank you, Zhouqin, for this puzzle that was a fine way to start my Wednesday.