November 5, 2022


Constructor: Ada Nicolle

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
COOK UP A STORM (19A: Make a large quantity of food)
TSUNDOKU (35A: Japanese term for the act of buying books and never reading them)
SNOOKUMS (40A: Sweetie pie)
KILLER SUDOKU (57A: Number puzzle with elements of kakuro)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer contains the letter sequence OKU.

And now a word from our constructor:
Ada: I don't have much to say about the puzzle, but I do have a cat photo!!
This is my roommate's cat Pumpkin, who I've become good friends with. She wanders into my room and meows at me until I give her attention. Love ya Pumpkin! (For those wondering, the stuffed unicorn's name is Penelope.)

Things I learned:
  • TSUNDOKU (35A: Japanese term for the act of buying books and never reading them) The term TSUNDOKU originated in the late 1800s and early 1900s as a combination of two Japanese words; one meaning "to let things pile up" and the other meaning "read books." One time when my kids were younger, I had them count all of the books in our house. It was a great activity - it involved a lot of math, and led to the discovery of a number of forgotten titles. I don't remember what the result of that census was, but it was definitely a large number! After all, we have a total of 10 bookcases in one room of our house alone. I will say that most of the books in our house have been read. Many of them have been reread and some of them occasionally get loaned out to friends. All this is to say, I understand the appeal of TSUNDOKU
  • TUCK (4D: Conceal with a gaff, e.g.) A gaff (as used here) is one type of gender-affirming underwear. It can be used to TUCK certain body parts to make them less visible. I'm trying to be informative but also keep this blog family-friendly, so if you'd like more information, check out this article
  • STU (26D: Rasmussen who was the first openly transgender mayor in the U.S.) STU Rasmussen (1948-2021) served two terms as mayor of Silverton, Oregon. During his first term in office in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he came out as transgender. STU Rasmussen identified as a woman, though he usually used masculine pronouns. After a break from politics, STU Rasmussen was reelected mayor of Silverton in 2008, making him the first openly transgender person to be elected as mayor. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • LUAU (13A: Party where food is often cooked in an imu) An imu is a type of underground oven, often used to cook roast pork for a LUAU.
  • XHOSA (15A: Bantu language with click consonants) XHOSA is one of the official languages of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
  • ENO (27A: "Music for Airports" artist Brian) Ambient 1: Music for Airports is Brian ENO's sixth studio album. It was the first of Brian ENO's albums that used the title of "ambient" music, a term the artist coined to describe music designed to induce calm and be interesting and ignorable at the same time.
  • RAPS (45A: Makes music like Tierra Whack) I learned about Tierra Whack from the February 1, 2022 puzzle
  • KILLER SUDOKU (57A: Number puzzle with elements of kakuro) SUDOKU is a logic-based puzzle involving the placement of numbers in a grid. Kakuro is also a logic puzzle involving numbers, with the added feature that math is necessary to deduce the placement of numbers in a grid. Combine the two and the result is a KILLER SUDOKU, also known as sumdoku or addoku (both of which also fit this puzzle's theme). KILLER SUDOKUs have been around since the mid-1990s. 
  • ARIANA (5D: "Problem" artist Grande) "Problem" is a 2014 song by ARIANA Grande that features Iggy Azalea. It was the lead single from ARIANA Grande's album, My Everything.

    Geography review:

    • OTTAWA (50A: Canada's capital) Canada's capital, OTTAWA. is located in the province of Ontario in Eastern Canada. 
    • EUROPE (2D: Iceland's continent) Iceland is an island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is the most sparsely populated country in EUROPE. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik.
    • SAMOAN (3D: Like the fa'amatai system) Samoa is an island country located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, in the Pacific Ocean. American Samoa is an island southeast of Samoa that is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Fa'amatai is a traditional indigenous form of governance in both Samoa and American Samoa. The traditional SAMOAN political system is centered on the well-being of the extended family and protection of family property.
    Is this puzzle OK WITH U? It's definitely OK WITH me! No THUMBS DOWN here. I guessed the theme from the puzzle's title, and was immediately interested in solving to discover the theme answers, as OKU is not a common letter sequence. I enjoyed all of the theme answers today - the adorable SNOOKUMS was my favorite. ONE OF A KIND, LIKE SO, and OH SURE were also fun. Thank you, Ada, for this puzzle that was a great way to begin my Saturday.
    P.S. Welcome to the Cats of Sally's Take, Pumpkin!