Title: NO-WIN SITUATIONS
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Erik Agard
FREE CAR WASH (17A: Perk for a driver)
LUCKY DRAW (34A: Chance-based game with prizes)
DESIGNER TIE (64A: Fashionable piece of neckwear)
Theme synopsis: The last word of each theme answer is a NO-WIN SITUATION: a WASH, a DRAW, and a TIE.
Things I learned:
- INCENSE (27A: It's burned in kodo ceremonies) The three classical Japanese arts of refinement are kōdō (a ritualized INCENSE ceremony), kadō (the art of flower arrangement), and chadō (tea ceremony).
- NERO (28D: Villain in "Star Trek" (2009)) My Star Trek knowledge wasn't quite extensive enough to fill in this answer without the help of crossing answers. Named after the Roman emperor, Star Trek's NERO is a character in the 2009 movie (the 11th in the franchise). NERO is Romulan miner from the late 24th century seeking vengeance for the destruction of Romulus.
- OSCAR (51D: Penny Proud's dad) Penny Proud is the main protagonist of the animated Disney TV series, The Proud Family, and its recent revival, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder. Although I learned about this TV show earlier this year, I did not learn (or remember anyway...) the name of Penny's dad. OSCAR Proud, voiced by Tommy Davidson, owns and operates Proud Snacks (a business producing disgusting snacks yet managing to stay in business).
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- GRETA (5A: Environmental activist Thunberg) I always welcome seeing Swedish climate and environmental activist GRETA Thunberg in the puzzle. In June of this year, GRETA Thunberg spoke at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England. She encouraged the crowd to take action, telling them, "If a bunch of school kids were able to get millions of people on the streets to start changing their lives, just imagine what we could do together if we really tried?" The Climate Book by GRETA Thunberg, is scheduled to be released in Britain the end of this month, and in the United States early next year. The book is a "guide to combating climate change," and features contributions from many activists and scientists.
- LYE (19A: Olive-curing chemical) and DELI (24D: Place with olives) A nice subtle pair of olive clues. About 90% of harvested olives are used to produce olive oil. The remaining 10% are processed as table olives, and may be green olives (picked at full size but unripe), semi-ripe olives, or black olives (ripe olives). LYE is used in the processing of olives to neutralize the bitter phytochemical oleuropein, producing a milder flavor and softer texture.
- DRED (23A: Husband of Harriet Scott) Harriet and DRED Scott were an enslaved couple who sued for their freedom in the 1840s and 1850s, a court battle that lasted over ten years. Their case ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in the 1857 decision, DRED Scott v. Sandford, that any person descended from Africans is not a citizen of the United States. The ruling is regarded as one of the worst and most consequential Supreme Court rulings in U.S. history, and was a factor in the outbreak of the Civil War. The Harriet and DRED Scott trials leading up to the
Supreme Court case were held in the Old St. Louis County Courthouse (seen here viewed from the top of the Gateway Arch). There is a statue of Harriet and DRED Scott in front of the courthouse. (I thought I had a photo of the statue, but I couldn't find it.)
Old St. Louis County Courthouse viewed from the Arch
- AREPAS (67A: Colombian breakfast fare) Made of ground maize dough, AREPAS are sometimes served with cheese and meats, and may be split to make sandwiches. AREPAS are a cultural symbol of Colombia.
- POEM (12D: Lucille Clifton fare) I have previously written about poet Lucille Clifton. You can learn more about Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) and read some of her POEMs on the Poetry Foundation site.
- TOSTADAS (39D: Chalupa alternatives) Both TOSTADAS and chalupas are flat (or bowl-shaped), thin layers of dough that are fried and used as a base for various toppings.
- ASU (40D: Sparky the Sun Devil's school, for short) Sparky the Sun Devil is the mascot of Arizona State University (ASU).
- TAIPEI (39A: Taiwan's capital) The country of Taiwan consists of 168 islands located at the junction of the Pacific Ocean and the East and South China Seas. TAIPEI, which is located on the main island of Taiwan, is the country's capital.
- CAIRO (52D: Capital city home to al-Azhar Mosque) CAIRO is the capital of Egypt. CAIRO's nickname is "City of a Thousand Minarets," a reference to the city's abundance of Islamic architecture. Minarets are towers built into or adjacent to mosques that are used to issue the Muslim call to prayer. Al-Azhar Mosque has five minarets. Established in 972, al-Azhar Mosque developed over time into Al-Azhar University, which I have previously written about.
Fortunately, I enjoyed solving this puzzle, and that's a WIN, in spite of the puzzle's title! For some reason I am hungry for CARROT CAKE with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting now. ALL THE RAGE is also a great long bonus. Thank you, Zhouqin, for this puzzle that was a fantastic way to begin my Wednesday.