December 23, 2023


Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Jared Goudsmit

Theme Answers:
ARCADE FIRE (15A: "Rebellion (Lies)" indie rock band)
SALAD BOWL (26A: Dish for fattoush or gado-gado)
VEAL OSCAR (42A: Dish of cutlets topped with crab meat and asparagus spears)
FRENCH OPEN (57A: Tennis tournament played on a clay court)

Theme synopsis: The final word (FINALE) of each theme answer can be paired with the word SEASON, to give us FIRE SEASON, BOWL SEASON, OSCAR SEASON, and OPEN SEASON.

Things I learned:
  • ARCADE FIRE (15A: "Rebellion (Lies)" indie rock band) ARCADE FIRE is an indie rock band formed in Montreal, Quebec in 2001. "Rebellion (Lies)" is a song from the group's debut album, Funeral. ARCADE FIRE's latest album, title We, was released in 2022.
  • INUIT (22A: Many celebrants of Quviasukvik) Quviasukvik, is also known as the INUIT New Year.  Starting on December 24 and ending on January 7, the festival of Quviasukvik celebrates the coming of the new year.
  • SALAD BOWL (26A: Dish for fattoush or gado-gado) Fattoush is a SALAD consisting of fried pieces of khubz (Arabic flat bread) with mixed greens and vegetables. Fattoush originated in the Levant (an Eastern Mediterranean region). Gado-gado is a SALAD in Indonesian cuisine consisting of vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, potato, tofu, and longing (compressed rice cake wrapped in a banana leaf), served with a peanut sauce.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • SAO (33A: ___ Paulo FC) SÃO Paulo FC is a professional football club (known as a soccer club in the U.S.) in SÃO Paulo, Brazil. 
  • FONT (37A: Baskerville or Comic Sans) It is amazing to me how many different FONT choices there are! Baskerville is a FONT designed in the 1750s by printer John Baskerville. I have previously written about the FONT Comic Sans, which some people really like and others don't, and which has been shown to be a helpful FONT for persons with dyslexia. I'm unable to get Comic Sans to appear correctly on the blog, but this sentence is written in the newer and related FONT, Comic Neue.
  • VEAL OSCAR (42A: Dish of cutlets topped with crab meat and asparagus spears) VEAL OSCAR is a dish that has been around since 1897. It is said to be named in honor of King OSCAR II, the king of Sweden from 1872-1907.
  • FRENCH OPEN (57A: Tennis tournament played on a clay court) and COCO (39D: Tennis champ Gauff) The FRENCH OPEN, which begins in late May each year, is one of the four major tennis tournaments known as the Grand Slam tournaments. The other three Grand Slam Tournaments are the Australian OPEN, Wimbledon, and the U.S. OPEN. The FRENCH OPEN is the only one of these four tournaments held on a clay court. In 2023, COCO Gauff was defeated in the Women's Singles quarterfinals by Iga Świątek, who went on to win the tournament. COCO Gauff went on to win the 2023 US OPEN.
  • WNBA (59A: Lisa Leslie's league) Lisa Leslie played for WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks from 1997 to 2009. During that time she was the WNBA MVP three times. She was also the first player in the WNBA to dunk. In 2015, she was inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. LISA Leslie is currently the head coach for the Triplets in the BIG3 basketball league.
  • OSSO (60A: Venison ___ buco) OSSO buco is Italian for "bone with a hole." The dish is often made with cross-cut veal shanks, but can also be made with venison shanks. Cross cut shanks have a narrow hole in the center of the cut. The marrow in the hole is an important feature of the dish. The shanks are braised with vegetables, wine, and broth.
  • ERA (4D: Cenozoic, e.g.) The Cenozoic ERA is the Earth's current geological ERA. The Cenozoic ERA, also known as the Age of Mammals, is considered to have begun about 66 million years ago.
  • TOMATO SOUP (9D: Dish often paired with grilled cheese) Yum! I just might make grilled cheese and TOMATO SOUP for lunch today.
  • SLAV (30D: Croat or Slovak) SLAVs are a group of people who speak any of the SLAVic languages: Russian, Belarusian, Ukranian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, and Slovene. The SLAVic people are the largest ethnographic-linguistic group in Europe.
  • RHINO (44D: Large horned animal) RHINOs are certainly large; they can weigh over three tons. A RHINO's horn is made of keratin, the same protein that human hair and nails are made of.
  • COWS (49D: Animals that belch methane) Have you ever wondered whether the belching or the flatulence of COWS is a bigger source of methane? If so, you're in luck, because NASA has the answer for you. (Don't want to click the link? The answer is belching.)
  • ANNE (50D: "The Devil Wears Prada" actress Hathaway) In the 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep portrays Miranda Priestly, a powerful fashion magazine editor. ANNE Hathaway plays the role of Miranda's junior personal assistant, Andrea "Andy" Sachs.

    Geography review:

    • CAIRO (49A: Capital northeast of Giza) The Egyptian city of Giza is famous for being the site of the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx. Giza is located along the Nile River. Northeast of Gaza, also located along the Nile River, is the capital city of Egypt, CAIRO. 
    When I read the title, SEASON FINALE, my mind immediately went to the SEASONs of spring, summer, winter, and fall. Therefore, there was a nice "Aha!" moment when I realized what the theme was. Thank you, Zhouqin, for this puzzle that was a superb way to start my Saturday.