December 25, 2023

Title: HO HO HO!

Constructor: Jared Goudsmit

Editor: Jared Goudsmit

Theme Answers:
HOME OFFICE (17A: Remote worker's space)
HIPPOCRATIC OATH (37A: Physician's pledge)
HANGING OUT (59A: Casually socializing)

Theme synopsis: Each of today's theme answers has the initials H.O., providing us with a timely HO HO HO!
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • AARON (1A: "___ Burr, Sir" ("Hamilton" song)) "AARON Burr, Sir" is the second song in Lin-Manuel Miranda's 2015 musical Hamilton.
  • ABBA (6A: "Honey, Honey" pop group) From "AARON Burr, Sir" to "Honey, Honey" – that's quite a range, just in the first two clues of the puzzle! ABBA released "Honey, Honey" in 1974.
  • HOME OFFICE (17A: Remote worker's space) This blog post is coming to you from my HOME OFFICE.
  • OMAR (20A: "Julie's Aria" opera) OMAR is an opera composed by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels that is based on the 1831 autobiography, A Muslim American Slave: The Life of OMAR ibn Said. OMAR premiered at the Spoleto Festival USA in 2022, and won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Rhiannon Giddens released a recording of "Julie's Aria" prior to the opening performance of OMAR. 
  • CAN (23A: Tuna containers) This is Willow's favorite answer in the puzzle, though she does note that the tuna she's used to comes in a pouch rather than a CAN.
    A woman wearing a purple dress and a multi-colored scarf is leaning on her elbow that is propped up on a desk near a keyboard. A calico cat sits on the other side of the keyboard
    Happy Holidays from me and Willow!
    Whatever holidays you celebrate, Willow and I hope they are full of joy and crosswords!
  • TET (28A: Holiday during which hat dua is eaten) TET is the Vietnamese New Year, which in 2024 will be celebrated on February 10. Hạt dưa are roasted watermelon seeds.
  • TWIX (34A: "Left" or "Right" candy bar) I have previously written about the TWIX marketing campaign that asked consumers to choose between "Left" TWIX or "Right" TWIX. 
  • HIPPOCRATIC OATH (37A: Physician's pledge) We saw HIPPOCRATIC OATH as a theme answer November 18, 2021. As I wrote then, "The original HIPPOCRATIC OATH was written between the fifth and third centuries BCE. It is an OATH of ethics historically used by physicians. Although the HIPPOCRATIC OATH has been updated and modified many times, it is not widely used anymore, having been replaced by ethical codes issued by medical associations."
  • RARE (54A: Like a super blue moon) A supermoon is a full moon that coincides with the Moon being the closest that it comes to the Earth in its orbit. During a supermoon, which happens three to four times a year, the Moon appears larger than usual (up to 14 percent bigger). A blue moon refers to the occurrence of two full moons during a month. Since the Moon's cycle is 29.5 days, or slightly shorter than 11 of the 12 months of the year, a blue moon happens every two to three years. On RARE occasions – every 10 to 20 years – a supermoon and a blue moon coincide, resulting in a super blue moon. The last super blue moon occurred in August of this year, and the next super blue moon won't happen until 2037, but we'll have two that year, in January and March. This information courtesy of NASA.
  • BASS (65A: Big Mouth Billy ___ (singing prop fish)) Do you remember when the animatronic singing fish known as Big Mouth Billy BASS was popular? It was first sold in January 1999, and was popular in the early 2000s.
  • ROMAN (3D: "How often do you think about the ___ Empire?") This year there has been a trend on Instagram and TikTok that features women asking the men in their lives "How often do you think about the ROMAN Empire?"
  • APE (9D: Primate such as Cranky Kong) Cranky Kong is a character in the Donkey Kong video game franchise. The APE is usually a non-playable character.
  • WOK (13D: Pan for beef chow fun) Beef chow fun is a Cantonese dish that originated in Guangdong, China. It consists of stir-fried beef, wide rice noodles, and bean sprouts.
  • FAST (18D: Like the Formula Rossa roller coaster) The Formula Rossa is a roller coaster at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The roller coaster train is FAST; its top speed is 149.1 mph. 
  • CEO (39D: Karen Lynch, for CVS Health) Karen S. Lynch has been the CEO of CVS Health since February 2021. I'm always happy to see a CEO clue that highlights a female CEO.
  • Bonus holiday answers:
    • WRAP (15A: Word after "bubble" or "gift")
    • DOO (45A: "A Scooby-___! Christmas")
    • ACTS (61A: The musical "Elf" has two)

    Geography review:

    • CHAD (38A: Libya's neighbor) CHAD is a landlocked country in Africa. In addition to being a neighbor of Libya, CHAD is also a neighbor of Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Niger. The capital of CHAD is N'Djamena.
    HO HO HO! A festive and timely theme for today. In addition to the answers I've already highlighted, I also enjoyed BACON BITS, PROOFREAD, EGO BOOSTS, MONOLOGUE, and DIRTY RICE. Thank you, Jared, for this holiday puzzle. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!