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.