Title: SPORTS SHORTS
Constructor: Erik Agard
Editor: Erik Agard
LAX SECURITY (19A: Advantage in pulling off a heist)
HOOP EARRINGS (36A: Door knockers, for example)
FOOTIE PAJAMAS (54A: One-piece sleepwear)
Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer is a nickname for a type of SPORT. Our SPORTS SHORTS are LAX (lacrosse), HOOP (basketball), and FOOTIE (Association football, Australian rules football, or rugby league football).
Things I learned:
- UGLY (15A: "The ___ Cry" (Danielle Henderson memoir)) The description of The UGLY Cry on Danielle Henderson's website says, "Under the eye-rolling, foul-mouthed, loving tutelage of her uncompromising grandmother - and the horror movies she obsessively watched - Danielle grew into a tall, awkward, Sassy-loving teenager who wore black eyeliner as lipstick and was struggling with the aftermath of her mother's choices." The 2021 book is also described as "An uproarious, moving memoir about a grandmother's ferocious love and redefining what it means to be family." Danielle Henderson's previous book, published in 2012, is titled Feminist Ryan Gosling. That book is a record of a Tumblr site Danielle started as a joke to make her friends laugh about their homework when she was getting her Master's degree. The site paired a picture of Ryan Gosling from a "Hey girl" meme with a block of text from feminist theory or scholarship.
- HOOP EARRINGS (36A: Door knockers, for example) Although I am familiar with HOOP EARRINGS, the term "door knockers" to refer to such earrings was new to me.
- LEE (51A: Activist Grace ___ Boggs) Grace LEE Boggs was an author, social activist, philosopher, and feminist. Her 2011 book is titled, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century.
- SALES (68A: The S in the job title SDR) SDR here stands for "SALES development representative."
- VOTE (7D: "I Won't ___" (1956 Du Bois essay)) In 1956, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote an essay, "I Won't VOTE," explaining why he wouldn't VOTE for President.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- LIV (5A: Nickname of the main character on "Scandal") On the TV series Scandal, Kerry Washington plays the role of Olivia "LIV" Carolyn Pope, who runs a crisis-management firm.
- NIA (18A: "Soul Food" actress Long) Soul Food is a 1997 movie about the close-knit Joseph family that lives in Chicago, and the trials they face when the matriarch of the family dies. NIA Long plays the role of Robin Long, nicknamed Bird,
- LAX SECURITY (19A: Advantage in pulling off a heist) This clue made me laugh. I've never really considered pulling off a heist, but I suppose LAX SECURITY would definitely be an advantage were I to do so.
- GEN Z (24A: The demo after millennials) "Demo" here is short for "demographics," hinting at the abbreviation of generation in the answer. GEN Z. Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1995. GEN Z includes those born between 1996 and 2010. (Realizing, of course, that there is no clear delineation between the generations and these years are approximations.) By these definitions, my son is a millennial, and my daughter is GEN Z.
- ONION (48A: Bhaji veggie) A bhaji is an ONION fritter. The Guinness World Record for the largest ONION bhaji was set on February 4, 2020.
- RELATED (3D: Like Gabrielle Union and Saweetie) Actress Gabrielle Union and Rapper Saweetie are indeed RELATED; they are cousins.
- LYNXES (5D: Short-tailed wildcats) Although Willow is not a wildcat, mentioned previously.
- WEARY (8D: Solange song with the lyric "You're feeling like you're chasing the world") "WEARY" is a song from Solange's 2016 album, A Seat at the Table.
- LIZZO (19D: "Rumors" singer) "Rumors" is a 2021 song by LIZZO, that features Cardi B. My daughter introduced me to LIZZO a few years ago, so please don't tell her how many letters from crossing answers I needed to get this answer!
- LIAM (28D: Four-letter name that, when read backward, can be any number of letters) This clue completely confused me when I first read it, and then when I got the answer, "Oh, that's clever!" LIAM backwards is "mail," which can refer to letters (any number of them).
- EID AL-ADHA (35D: The Feast of Sacrifice) EID AL-ADHA, the Feast of Sacrifice, is one of two official Islam holidays. The holiday honors Abraham's obedience to God. This year it will be celebrated July 9-13.
- EAGLE (53D: Bird known as migizi) Migizi is the Ojibwe word for a bald eagle.
- LAS (29A: ___ Vegas) LAS Vegas is the largest city in Nevada, and is known for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and night life.
- EURO (Coin in France or Germany) France is a country in Europe, although there are French territories in other continents. The capital of France is Paris. Germany is a country in central Europe. Its capital is Berlin. The EURO is the currency in France and Germany.
- IDAHO (43A: Boise's state) Boise is the capital of IDAHO, and its most populous city.
- IOWA (56D: Ottumwa's state) Ottumwa is a city in IOWA. Ottumwa, IOWA is the hometown of Radar (Corporal Radar O'Reilly) on the TV series M*A*S*H, (Usually I say, "Hello from IOWA!" but I happen to be out-of-state at the moment.)
I felt a little bit like Indiana Jones when I opened today's puzzle, though instead of saying "Why did it have to be snakes?" I thought, "Why did it have to be SPORTS?" I've often said that "(Almost) everything I've learned about SPORTS I've learned from crossword puzzles." It's definitely not my strong suit. Taking that into consideration, if I've missed an aspect of the theme today (or completely gotten it wrong), please let me know! Of course, there are plenty of things to enjoy in every crossword, and as you can see from the number of answers I've highlighted, I found plenty to enjoy, and this puzzle was a great way to begin my Friday.