July 12, 2023


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editors: Jared Goudsmit and Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
DEAD RINGER (17A: Exact look-alike)
DESK CALENDAR (Item for keeping track of business appointments)
DILL PICKLE SPEAR (62A: Sliced, briny sandwich side)

Theme synopsis: The word DEAR, a synonym of SUGAR, is found at the outer edges of each theme answer, making each theme answer SUGAR-COATED.

Things I learned:
  • ARIAS (67A: Solos for Ying Fang) Ying Fang is a principal soprano at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, where she made her debut in 2013. Ying Fang was born in China.
  • MISO (69A: Paste in tonjiru) Tonjiru is a pork and vegetable soup flavored with MISO. Tonjiru originated in Japan.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • SNOW (19A: Common forecast in Alaska) This is a fun way to clue SNOW. Alaska is a big state, and obviously weather patterns vary, but in general, winter in Alaska lasts from October through April. During winter, SNOW is common.
  • JEDI (1D: "Star Wars" knight) This reminded me of a conversation I had last month with my friend Olivia, who is a tremendous Star Wars fan. We saw JEDI ORDER as a theme answer on June 4, and I wrote "In case your Star Wars knowledge is rusty, the JEDI ORDER are the good guys." When I told Olivia what I had written, she said, "that being said, they made many mistakes." Even the "good guys" don't get it right all the time.
  • EGAN (3D: Pulitzer-winning author Jennifer) Jennifer EGAN won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2011 for her novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad.
  • USGA (7D: Golf. org.) The United States Golf Association (USGA) is golf's governing body in the U.S. and Mexico.
  • ADORE (12D: Love, love, LOVE) This is a nice bonus answer for this SUGAR-COATED puzzle with its DEAR, DEAR, DEAR theme.
  • CDC (26D: Health org. based in Atlanta) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Established in 1946, the CDC is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The current director of the CDC is Mandy Cohen, who took office just a few days ago.
  • SEA TURTLES (29D: "Loggerhead" marine reptiles) Loggerhead SEA TURTLES live in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. The SEA TURTLES got the name "loggerhead" because of their large head.
  • ALIBI (52D: "I couldn't have done it! I was out bowling!" e.g.) This made me chuckle. What a great ALIBI.

    Geography review:

    • AREA (49A: 474,300 square miles, for Tibet) The Tibet Autonomous Region, often referred to simply as Tibet, is located in Southwest China. Tibet is the second-largest province-level division of China, following Xinjiang.
    • CHI (5D: Ho ___ Minh City) Ho CHI Min City, also commonly known as Saigon, is the most populous city in Vietnam. 
    • EURO (28D: Currency in Croatia) Croatia is one of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU), and one of the 20 EU members that use the EURO as currency. The capital of Croatia is Zagreb.
    • ASIAN (54D: Shanghainese or Tokyoite) Shanghai is a city in China, and is the third most populous city in the world. Tokyo is a city in Japan, and is the most populous city in the world. 
    I appreciated the fact that each possible break of the word DEAR was represented in the theme answers. With a theme such as this I like when either the break is consistent, or each variation is used. As it happens, I am going to be a plane passenger today. I don't have an AISLE SEAT, however; I booked that for my husband. Thank you, Zhoquin, for this excellent Wednesday puzzle.