December 24, 2022


Constructor: Erik Agard

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
RENO, NEVADA (5D: Major city in the Silver State)
RON O'NEAL (8D: "Super Fly" star)
RUN ON EMPTY (11D: Be out of gas, but keep going anyway)
TIFFANY (37A: "Come and trim my Christmas tree / With some decorations bought at ___")
FEUDALISM (45A: Social system in medieval Europe)
SPATULA (54A: Utensil for making pancakes)

Theme synopsis: The word NONE is found in each of the vertical theme answers. On the LEFT side of the horizontal theme answers, we find a synonym for BEEF or complaint: TIFF, FEUD, SPAT.

Things I learned:
  • YAI (38D: Fashion model Anok) In 2018, model Anok YAI opened the Prada's Fall Show. She was the second Black woman to open a Prada show; Naomi Campbell opened the 1997 show. Of the experience, Anok YAI said, "Me opening for one of the top fashion houses is a statement to the world - especially for Black women - that their beauty is something that deserves to be celebrated." Anok YAI was studying biochemistry in college when a photo taken of her at a party went viral on social media, resulting in several modeling agencies reaching out to her. Anok YAI was born in Cairo, Egypt where here parents were Sudanese refugees. She moved to New Hampshire with her family when she was two years old. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • OLDEN (17A: "Here we are, as in ___ days...") A nice nod to the season with some lyrics from the  song, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Many people have recorded this song, but Judy Garland was the first in the 1944 musical movie, Meet Me in St. Louis. When Frank Sinatra recorded the song in 1957, some of the lyrics were changed (to make the song more upbeat), including the line sampled in this clue. The original lyric from the movie was, "Once again, as in OLDEN days..."
  • SNOB (19A: Snooty person) and UNO (21A: Digit in this clue's number, in Spanish) and NOMINEE (23A: Person up for an award) In these three clues we have some bonus nothingness (NONE-ness?) in the form of the word NO.
  • OMW (35A: "I'm heading there now," for short) When I typed in "OMW", my computer automatically changed it to "On my way!"
  • TIFFANY (37A: "Come and trim my Christmas tree / With some decorations bought at ___") Another Christmas song sampling. This line is from the 1953 song, "Santa Baby," sung by Eartha Kitt. 
  • LAYERED (58A: Dressed for the cold) This clue is certainly appropriate, as much of the United States is currently experiencing cold weather! I'm pretty excited that the temperature here might get above zero today, which it did not yesterday. We're not going to talk about the windchill.
  • ENDS (3D: Split ___) Here we have a nice callback to yesterday's puzzle.
  • COINING (7D: Coming up with, like a phrase) This is a fun clue, and it made me curious about how the phrase, "COINING a phrase," was coined. In the early 14th century, coins were made using metal dies called coins. This led to the word "coin" or "COINING" being associated with inventing. It wasn't until later that the word was linked specifically to the invention of words. 
  • RON O'NEAL (8D: "Super Fly" star) I learned about RON O'NEAL and the 1972 movie, Super Fly, from the August 10, 2021 puzzle
  • ELLE (61D: Fashion magazine founded in Paris) ELLE was first published in 1945. It was founded in Paris by Hélène Gordon-Lazareff and her husband, Pierre Lazareff.

    Geography review:

    • RENO, NEVADA (5D: Major city in the Silver State) NEVADA is nicknamed the Silver State because of the importance of silver in the state's history and economy. In the two and a half years I've been blogging, we've seen the city of RENO in the puzzle 25 times. This is the first time we've seen RENO, NEVADA.
    • TIBET (13D: Lhasa's land) Lhasa is the administrative capital of TIBET, an autonomous region in Southwest China.
    • CST (27D: OKC time zone) Oklahoma City (OKC) is the capital and largest city of the state of Oklahoma. OKC is on Central Standard Time (CST).
    • WARD (36D: Division of New Orleans) New Orleans, Louisiana is divided into 17 WARDs. The WARDs were established in the 1800s for political reasons - local politicians represented specific WARDs. 
    • EL PASO (46D: Texas city near Ciudad Juarez) EL PASO is located in the southwestern part of Texas. The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo River separates EL PASO from Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
    We have a double theme today, and it's a fun one! The title, NONE CROSSWORD WITH LEFT BEEF, is a nod to the Internet meme, NONE pizza WITH LEFT BEEF. In 2007, Steve Molaro placed a deliberately absurd online order with Domino's Pizza, deselecting all toppings except BEEF, on the LEFT side only. He posted a photo of the result online, and the rest is Internet history. Today, instead of pizza, we are treated to a NONE CROSSWORD. I especially liked the grouping of bonus NOs. At first I was looking for a "cow-related" theme to appear on the LEFT, so there was a delightful "Aha!" moment when I noticed the BEEF! Such a silly and delightful theme! Thank you, Erik, for this puzzle that was a wonderful way to begin my Saturday.