Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, Sean Ziebarth

Our meta-theme week comes to a screeching halt today. But in the place of different shaped meals, we instead get a piece of history that's important to recognize. I won't attempt to summarize the DOUBLEV campaign that acknowledged the role that Black Americans played in the World War II effort, both at home and abroad, without experiencing the same rights and liberties as their fellow White Americans. Here's a link.

The puzzle celebrates this piece of American history through acknowledging four great Black Americans whose names happen to include a W, and then making that letter VV instead. Thus IDABVVELLS, the investigative journalist who reported on lynchings. JAMESBALDVVIN, GEORGEVVATSON, and VVEBDUBOIS all follow. It's very nicely done.


At a price, however. There are a ton of crosswordese answers in this grid. WIIS at 1D starts us off, but there's BTS, TBAR, MDS, UNLV, VMI, URL, GNC, GPA, MAHI, etc. Not the cleanest of grids, probably because of all of the Vs. 

Still, we also get the fun FLAPJACKS, appropriate HEROISM, and amusing WARBLY. It's a perfectly good puzzle over all. But also, congratulations to Mr. Ziebarth for his debut! 4:45.

- Colum


  1. This was a surprise on a Wednesday, and before I knew what was going on, the double Vs were troubling.

    I had never heard of the DOUBLEV campaign, so I call the puzzle good on that alone.

    Oh, and I'd never heard of SMERSH either. Did that make it into any movies, I wonder? Because that's the only contact I have with Bond. No novels for this guy.

    1. I think you're correct about SMERSH not being in the movies. Fleming probably didn't care about possibly antagonizing the Soviet Union. In the movies, it was SPECTRE, I believe.

  2. This was a fun chewy Wednesday puzzle. Took me 5:29, which felt respectable (so good work Colum! :) ) I was hampered by my sketchy command of American history. I remember SMERSH very well from the books but I think you're right Horace - it was never a part of any movie.

  3. I knew something was up when Ida B. Wells had V’s in her name, according to two fairly definitive Downs, but I, too needed the revealer to understand the reason behind the DOUBLEV’s. I agree with Colum about LOTSA letter-y answers, but in addition to the good fill and clues mentioned above, I also enjoyed EBB for “Beach retreat?” and the shout out to KING me in checkers. I’ve never heard of SMERSH either.