December 25, 2022


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
TURBO PROP ENGINE (16A: Power source for some planes)
I SURE HOPE NOT (25A: "That would be awful!")
TATTOO PEN (61A: Tool used to ink an ankle)

Theme synopsis: The word OPEN appears in each theme answer, and is CRACKED as it falls across two words.

Things I learned:
  • TALE (9A: "The Green Frogs," for example) "The Green Frogs" is a Korean folktale about two frog brothers that always do the opposite of what their mother asks. Author and illustrator Yumi Heo retold the TALE in the 1996 children's book, The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale.
  • GIN (23A: It's replaced by sparkling wine in a Negroni Sbagliato) A Negroni is an Italian cocktail made of one part each GIN, vermouth, and Campari. As the clue informs us, to make a Negroni Sbagliato, the GIN is replaced by sparkling wine. The Italian word "sbagliato" means "mistaken," so a Negroni Sbagliato is a "mistaken Negroni."
  • YALE (31A: Ivy League school where Edward Bouchet studied) Physicist and educator Edward Bouchet (1852-1918) was the first African American to earn a PhD from an American university. He received a PhD in physics from YALE in 1876. Notably, it took another 42 years for another Black man to receive a PhD in physics. That man was Elmer Imes
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • CATSAT (42A: Looked after a friend's kitty) Willow is delighted that there was a cat
    Willow's welcome mat

    reference in the puzzle today, because she wanted me to share a picture of her new welcome mat with you.
  • SHE'S (57A: "___ in Love With the Boy" (Trisha Yearwood song)) "SHE'S in Love With the Boy" was Trisha Yearwood's debut single, released in 1991. 
  • ARIEL (64A: "Modern Family" star Winter) ARIEL Winter plays the role of Alex Dunphy on the TV sitcom, Modern Family. We saw ARIEL Winter as a theme answer in November 2020
  • OSSO (68A: ___ buco) OSSO buco is Italian for "bone with a hole." The dish is made with cross-cut veal shanks that have a narrow hole in the center of the cut. The marrow in the hole is an important feature of the dish. The veal shanks are braised with vegetables, white wine, and broth.
  • AKITA (10D: Dog known as the "silent hunter") An AKITA rarely barks, thus earning it the nickname, "silent hunter."
  • GEENA (23D: "A League of Their Own" star Davis) A League of Their Own is 1992 movie set in 1943, that tells a fictionalized account of the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. GEENA Davis plays the role of catcher and assistant manager, Dorothy "Dottie" Hinson. The TV series of the same name that premiered in August of this year is an adaptation of the movie.
  • MARS (56D: Where the Spirit rover landed) The MARS Exploration Rover known as Spirit, was active from 2004 to 2010. Its mission ended when the rover got stuck in a sand trap, at an angle that didn't allow recharging of its batteries. There have been six successful robotic rovers on Mars, three of which are currently active: Curiosity, Perseverance, and Zhurong. Curiosity and Perseverance are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Zhurong is operated by the China National Space Administration.

    Geography review:

    • SCOT (37D: Glasgow resident) Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. One of Glasgow's nicknames is "The Dear Green Place."
    A classic hidden word theme today. I appreciated that each OPEN was CRACKED in a different location. UP IN THE AIR, WE'RE TOAST, and TAMALE PIE were enjoyable long answers. I also like the word OODLES - it's just fun to say. Thank you, Zhouqin, for this puzzle that was a great way to begin my Sunday. Merry Christmas and Happy last day of Chanukah to those celebrating. I wish you joy and peace in whatever your day may hold.