September 14, 2022


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
STAR TREK BEYOND (47A: 2016 film dedicated to Anton Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy)
STAY BEHIND (61A: Not leave when other people do)

Theme synopsis: The word STAND is found on the OUTside edges of each theme answer.

Things I learned:
  • EAT (4D: Demolish some zhaliang) Zhaliang is a Cantonese dim sum dish made by wrapping rice noodle roll around fried dough.
  • CELEBS (31D: Paps take pictures of them) It took me quite some time to figure out this answer. I was not familiar with the use of "paps" as a short form of paparazzi, independent photographers that take photos of CELEBS. I also had "soda" at first instead of COLA for (41A: Carbonated drink), which did not help. The important thing is that I ultimately got there.
  • YALE (49D: Rory Gilmore's alma mater) Rory Gilmore, played by Alexis Bledel, is a character from the TV series, Gilmore Girls. Rory Gilmore begins attending YALE in Season 4 of the TV series, graduating in Season 7.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ALLAH (14A: The Kaaba, aka the House of ___) I wrote about the Kaaba when we saw it as an answer in May. The Kaaba is considered by Muslims to be the House of ALLAH, and is Islam's most sacred site. When Muslims pray, they face in the direction of the Kaaba.
  • DISC (29A: The second "D" in DVD) DVD = Digital Video DISC.
  • LAUREL (44A: Wreath used as a symbol by film festivals) The branches of LAUREL shrubs have been used to make wreaths since ancient times. (LAUREL is also known as bay, and is the source of bay leaves used in cooking.) In ancient Greece, LAUREL wreaths were used as symbols of victory by athletes, musicians, and poets. It is from this practice that the word "laureate", as in Nobel laureate, and the phrase "rest on one's laurels" have derived. Film festivals have been using LAUREL wreaths as a symbol of winning since the mid-20th century.
  • STAR TREK BEYOND (47A: 2016 film dedicated to Anton Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy) STAR TREK BEYOND is the 13th movie in the STAR TREK franchise. Anton Yelchin plays the role of Pavel Chekov in the movie, but died in an accident (at the age of 27) a month before the movie was released. Leonard Nimoy, who played the role of Spock for almost 50 years, died while STAR TREK BEYOND was in pre-production.
  • ARCH (12D: Structure with a keystone) The keystone is the wedge-shaped piece at the top of an ARCH. An ARCH cannot be self-supporting until the keystone is placed. Here's a photo of the keystone being placed in the Gateway ARCH in St. Louis. The keystone of the St. Louis Gateway ARCH weighs 10 tons.
  • VINE (58D: Passion fruit plant) The passion fruit plant is a perennial VINE grown in tropical and semitropical regions. The VINE is commercially cultivated for its fruit.
  • ANTS (59D: Insects with "fire" and "ghost" species) Fire ANTS are a stinging variety of ANTS. When they sting, they inject a toxin that causes a painful reaction in humans with a sensation similar to being burned by fire. Ghost ANTS have translucent legs and abdomens.
  • YEE (62D: "Millicent Min, Girl Genius" author Lisa) I wrote about Lisa YEE and her book, Millicent Min, Girl Genius when we saw a similar clue used to clue LISA in the August 15, 2020 puzzle.

    Geography review:

    • AMMAN (15A: The Jordan Museum's city) The Western Asian country of Jordan sits at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The Jordan Museum is located in AMMAN, the country's capital and largest city. The Jordan Museum was built in 2014 to house Jordan's important archaeological findings including the Dead Sea Scrolls.
    • LAVA (57A: It flows from Pacaya) Pacaya is an active volcano in Guatemala. In 1961, after being dormant for over 70 years, Pacaya began erupting. Since then it has erupted on a frequent basis, spewing LAVA and ash.
    • SAFARI (6D: Maasai Mara trip) Maasai Mara, a popular SAFARI site, is a national game reserve in Kenya. The reserve is named in honor of the ancestral inhabitants of the area, the Maasai people. Along with the contiguous Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Maasai Mara is the location of the Great Migration, considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
    Well, you could say that today's theme answers certainly STAND OUT. This is a fun take on a classic USA Today theme type. In addition to the theme, I liked the answers SALSA VERDE, TOOK A HIT, SPORK, and GUESS AGAIN. Thank you, Zhouqin, for this puzzle that was a great way to start my Wednesday.


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