July 17, 2021


Constructor: Mark McClain

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
ZERO-SUM GAME (20A: Event where gains are balanced by losses)
SOCKET WRENCH SET (40A: Basic collection for a mechanic)
MIX AND MATCH (58A: Combine different items to make a set)

Theme synopsis: The last word of each theme answer is a term used in TENNIS. Moving down through the puzzle we have GAME, SET, MATCH.

Things I learned:
  • IAN (54A: Wright of BBC Sport) Ian Wright is a former professional footballer (known as a "soccer player" to those in the United States). He played in the Premier League and also on England's national team. Since his retirement from professional sports, IAN Wright has provided commentary for several BBC Sport programs. In 2019, he appeared on Series 19 of the British reality TV series, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Fun Fact: In 1993 Wright co-wrote and released a song called, "Do the Right Thing." Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys was the co-writer and producer of the song.
  • KROC (41D: One-time world record-holding powerlifter Janae) Janae KROC has competed as a professional powerlifter and competitive bodybuilder. In 2015, KROC came out as transgender and genderfluid. In an interview with Muscle & Fitness magazine, Janae explained that although she legally changed her name to Janae Marie, she still uses the name Matt and male pronouns when discussing her weightlifting records acquired before she transitioned. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • SARI (5A: Garment that might be draped in the nivi style) There are many methods of draping a SARI, which is a single piece of cloth 15 to 30 feet long. The nivi style is the most common draping method. 
  • HOME (14A: "Black Girl, Call ___" (Jasmine Mans book)) Jasmine Mans is the resident poet at the Newark Public Library. Black Girl, Call HOME is a collection of poems exploring what it means to be a Black queer woman from Newark, New Jersey. The book was published earlier this year. You can watch Jasmine Mans read one of the poems from Black Girl, Call HOME here
  • ZERO-SUM GAME (20A: Event where gains are balanced by losses) As the clue describes, in a ZERO-SUM GAME, gains by one side are balanced by losses by the other side. Poker is an example of a ZERO-SUM GAME, where any money won by one player results from other players' losses. In contrast, the stock market is not a ZERO-SUM GAME, because investors may realize gains when share prices increase as a result of economic forecasts, and those gains do not necessarily result from other investors' losses.
  • CHAZ (1D: Bono seen in "Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen") Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen is a 2020 documentary about the depiction of transgender people by Hollywood. The movie was directed by Sam Feder. CHAZ Bono is one of the people featured in the film, along with Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, and others. The movie won a 2021 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. 
  • OMAR (3D: Ilhan of Congress) Ilhan OMAR is a U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district. Along with Rashida Tlaib, she is one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress.
  • SCHUBERT (5D: "Unfinished Symphony" composer) Austrian composer Franz SCHUBERT started Symphony No. 8 in B minor - commonly known as Unfinished Symphony - in 1822, and although he lived until 1828, he only completed two movements. Musicians disagree about whether the symphony remained unfinished because SCHUBERT became distracted by other works he was composing, or because he associated it with initially contracting syphilis.
  • SIR (65D: Rumi and ___ (Beyonce's twins)) In 2017, BeyoncĂ© announced the birth of twins, SIR Carter and Rumi, on her Instagram page. The post became her second most popular post (behind her pregnancy announcement). 
Geography review:
  • CHAD (15A: African country that's also a name) CHAD is a landlocked country in north-central Africa. Its capital and largest city is N'Djamena.
  • LIMA (67A: Peru's capital) LIMA is the capital and largest city of Peru.
  • PARIS (68A: The Louvre city) PARIS is the capital and most populous city in France. The Louvre Museum is the world's largest art museum, and the home of the Mona Lisa
If you're not up for TENNIS today, may I interest you in a TENNIS-themed puzzle instead? Although I had heard the phrase ZERO-SUM GAME, I'm not sure I could have described it, and so it was interesting to learn more about the concept. This puzzle was a fine way to start my Saturday (which will not include TENNIS, but perhaps a bike ride).