April 12, 2022


Constructor: Erik Agard

Editor: Erik Agard

Guest Blogger: Shannon Rapp

Theme Answers:

ESTHER VERGEER (26A: Pro tennis player with a career singles record of 695-25)

GREENS KEEPERS (45A: People who maintain golf courses)

PREVENT DEFENSE (14D: End-of-game football strategy)

BETWEEN THE LEGS (7D: Like some dribbles and dunks)

Theme synopsis: All answers are sports-related terms that contain only Es as their vowels, thus the title "E-Sports."

Things I learned:

  • ESTHER VERGEER (26A: Pro tennis player with a career singles record of 695-25) Vergeer is a Dutch tennis player with 48 Grand Slam titles, 23 championships, and 7 Paralympics titles. She is considered by many to be the most dominant player in professional sports.
  • BEANS (7A: 2020 Tracey Deer film) Beans is a semi-autobiographical story about Deer's experience living through the 1990 Oka Crisis at Kanesatake. The film won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Picture in 2021.
  • ERITREA (8D: Yemane Barya's country) Barya was an Eritrean singer-songwriter whose music often contained themes of national independence. While writing this post, I enjoyed listening to his album Zemen.

Geography Review:

  • ENID (41A: City in northern Oklahoma) Enid is a small city about 100 miles north of Oklahoma City whose original name was Skeleton.
  • USSR (1D: Space Race country) The USSR launched Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite in 1957 and Vostok 1 in 1961, which carried the first human being into space.
  • NILE (10D: River in Egypt and Ethiopia) The Nile travels through or along eleven countries in eastern Africa.

Random thoughts and interesting things:

  • This puzzle has three sets of twin clues: 15A/17A: Battery type (AAA/SOLAR); and 31A/32A: "Cool!" (WOW/NEAT); 2D/3D: Item of clothing in an airport bin (SHOE/BELT). I find these clue pairs super-fun and was delighted to see three of them in one puzzle.
  • GAMER (25A: E-sports player) is another cute way to nod toward the theme of the puzzle outside of the notable theme answers.
  • EYEROLL (54A: Over-it gesture) I just love this clue because it feels so evocative of being sooo done with something.
  • IRONEGG (42D: Taiwanese snack) Iron eggs are made by stewing in spices and air-drying. The resulting delicacy is chewy and flavorful compared to plain boiled eggs. 
  • NETTIE (47D: Celie's sister) Nettie and Celie are characters in "The Color Purple," the novel by Alice Walker.

Hi readers! I'm Shannon Rapp, and I'm back with my third guest blog for Sally's Take today. I loved reviewing yet another fun puzzle from Erik! While all four sports themed answers were unfamiliar to me, they were each a delight to uncover. I was about halfway through my solve when I realized that each theme answer was only going to contain Es, and I was impressed by the answers chosen for the marquee entries to build this puzzle. Very happy to learn about Esther Vergeer especially. Erik, thanks for the fun solve! 

I'm wrapping up three consecutive posts from the STL crossword crew - please see Matthew's and Sid's posts too. What a fun coincidence! I also wrote today's Lil AVC X puzzle that I think is super fun and I'd love for you to try it and let me know how it goes for you. 

Sally, thanks for letting me fill in today, and enjoy your day off! 

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