Title: WANDER AIMLESSLY
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Erik Agard
GAME WARDEN (16A: Conservation officer)
SAINT ANDREW (28A: Patron of Barbados)
YOU'VE BEEN WARNED (63A: Forbidding, foreboding phrase)
Theme synopsis: The last word of each theme answer is an anagram of WANDER. (AIMLESSLY) rearranging the letters of WANDER gives us the words WARDEN, ANDREW, and WARNED.
Things I learned:
- TANGO (62A: Dance to a bandoneon) A bandoneon is an instrument similar to an accordion. When played, it is held between the hands, and pulled and pushed to force air through the instrument's bellows and reeds. TANGO ensembles often include violins, flute, piano, double bass, and at least two bandoneons.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- PAULA (14A: "Forever Your Girl" singer Abdul) "Forever Your Girl" is the title track from PAULA Abdul's 1988 debut album. Fun fact: The music video for "Forever Your Girl" shows PAULA Abdul directing a children's performance. One of the children in the video is an 8-year-old Elijah Wood. I haven't heard this song in quite some time, but it may now be my earworm for the day.
- SMITH (22A: Fashion designer LaQuan) LaQuan Smith learned to sew from his grandmother, who gifted him her sewing machine when he was 13 years old. He applied to fashion schools, and when he wasn't accepted, he went on to design and launch his own brand anyway. I first learned about LaQuan Smith from the November 4, 2021 puzzle.
- COBRA (35A: Snake with a "forest" species) The forest COBRA is also known as the black COBRA. This species is native to Africa, and is the largest of the COBRA species, growing to a length of 10 feet. Due to its forest-dwelling habits, the forest COBRA is one the least frequent causes of snake bites among COBRAs. However, if you do happen to get bit by an African COBRA, it's a life-threatening emergency, as the venom is a neurotoxin.
- PREY (40A: "Predator" prequel starring Amber Midthunder) Predator is a 1987 science fiction horror movie that was the first installment in what is now the Predator franchise. PREY, the fifth movie in the franchise, was released in July of this year. As the clue informs us, PREY is a prequel to Predator. PREY focuses on Naru, a skilled Comanche warrior portrayed by Amber Midthunder, who is trying to protect her tribe for a humanoid alien.
- ULNA (44A: Bone whose name is Latin for "elbow") The elbow is a hinge joint connecting the humerus bone in the upper arm to the ULNA and radius, the two bones in the forearm. The ULNA is the longer of the two forearm bones, and runs from the elbow to the pinky finger side of the hand.
- HE'S (60A: "___ So Shy" (Pointer Sisters song)) "HE'S So Shy" is a 1980 song by The Pointer Sisters. This song may compete with "Forever Your Girl" to be today's earworm. Fun fact: The Pointer Sisters guest starred and sang "HE'S So Shy" on an episode of the TV show The Love Boat in 1981. I probably saw this episode when it originally aired, as watching The Love Boat (followed by Fantasy Island) was a regular part of the Saturday evening routine when I was in high school.
- ADAM (2D: "Severance" actor ___ Scott) Severance is a TV series that premiered in February of this year. ADAM Scott plays the role of Mark Scout, one of the workers at Lumon Industries who agrees to a "severance" procedure that separates work memories from non-work memories.
- INCA (25D: Worshipper of the sun god Inti) The Incan sun God Inti was worshiped as the patron deity of the INCA Empire.
- YEAR (39D: "___ of the Tiger" (Alice Wong memoir)) I have previously written about disability activist Alice Wong, who founded the Disability Visibility Project, and hosts the Disability Visibility podcast. YEAR of the Tiger: An Activist's Life is the title of Alice Wong's memoir which was published in September of this YEAR.
- OAHU (18A: Hanauma Bay's island) Located on the southeast coast of the Hawaiian island of OAHU, Hanauma Bay is a Nature Preserve and Marine Life Conservation District. It is home to green sea turtles and about 400 species of fish. The coral reefs in Hanauma Bay have suffered as a result of tourism, leading to current restrictions on the number of daily visitors.
- SAINT ANDREW (28A: Patron of Barbados) Barbados is an island country in the West Indies. Barbados is divided into regions known as parishes. The Parish of SAINT ANDREW is named after the island's patron SAINT. (A patron SAINT is considered to be a heavenly advocate.) ANDREW, referred to in the New Testament of the Bible as an apostle of Jesus, is the patron SAINT of several other countries in addition to Barbados, including Romania, Scotland, Ukraine, and Russia.
- ERIE (31D: Southernmost of the Great Lakes) Our crossword-friend Lake ERIE is the southernmost of the Great Lakes. The southernmost point of Lake ERIE is located near Huron, Ohio. The southernmost part of Lake Michigan is located in Gary, Indiana, which lies just slightly more north than Huron, Ohio. Lake Superior is both the westernmost and northernmost of the Great Lakes, and Lake Ontario is the easternmost. And to complete our review of the Great Lakes, the only one I haven't mentioned yet is Lake Huron.
I enjoy anagram themes, and it was fun to see this version featuring anagrams of a six letter word. All of the theme answers are great, and the ominous YOU'VE BEEN WARNED seems like a fitting entry heading into Halloween weekend. Thank you, Zhouqin, for this puzzle that was a fantastic way to begin my Friday.