Title: PAY UP
Constructor: Lynn Lempel
Editor: Erik Agard
NAME CHANGE (17A: Reason to get a new ID card)
UTILITY BILLS (28A: Some monthly mail)
COURSE CREDIT (44A: Unit counted for graduation)
SPELL CHECK (59A: Typo-catching feature)
Theme synopsis: The last word of each theme answer denotes a method used to PAY UP: CHANGE, BILLS, CREDIT, CHECK.
Things I learned:
- TAMI (6A: TV star Roman) TAMI Roman is a reality TV personality who first appeared on the MTV show The Real World: Los Angeles in 1993. She has also appeared on other shows, including Basketball Wives and Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars.
- NAIR (19A: "Monsoon Wedding" director Mira) Mira NAIR's production company, Mirabai Films, specializes in producing films for international audiences about economic, social, and cultural aspects of Indian society. Monsoon Wedding centers around a traditional Punjabi Hindu wedding in Dehli.
- BETSY (67A: Rawls or King of golf) BETSY Rawls and BETSY King have both had impressive golf careers. BETSY Rawls has won eight major championships and 55 LPGA Tour events. Rawls is also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. She retired in 1975 and is currently 92 years old. BETSY King has won six major championships and 34 LPGA Tour events. King is a member of the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- EBONY (26A: Wood for old piano keys) Here's your earworm for the day: "EBONY and ivory live together in perfect harmony/Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don't we?" And your reminder that Black Lives Matter. EBONY was also traditionally used to make the black pieces of chess sets. In many places EBONY is now a protected species, having been threatened by over harvesting.
- PRICE (38A: Number with a dollar sign) and REMIT (3D: Send as payment) and RECEIPTS (39D: Slips from cashiers) Bonus theme subset! It made me smile to see that we could check the PRICE, REMIT our payment, and receive RECEIPTS.
- LEO (56A: Sign before Virgo) Also known as the "Sign most frequently appearing in crossword puzzles." According to my quick research, LEO has appeared more than twice as often as ARIES, its next closest competitor for this title. Also, it's almost time for us LEOs to celebrate our birthdays (July 23-August 23)!
- HOPI (18D: People whose flag features a black circle divided into quadrants with a black dot in each) The Hopi are an indigenous people who primarily live on the Hope Reservations in northeastern Arizona. The circle described in the clue is the Tuuwaqatsi, or earth symbol, and is the main symbol of the Hopi people.
- ERIE (12D: Lake west of Buffalo) Lake ERIE was named by the ERIE people, Indigenous Americans who lived along its southern shore. ERIE is a shortened form of the Iriquoian word, "erielhonan," meaning "long tail." (It's been 12 days since we've seen ERIE. We've missed you!)
- SERB (52D: Person from Belgrade or Kragujevac) Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. Kragujevac is Serbia's fourth largest city. Serbia is a landlocked European country.
This puzzle's straightforward category theme was elevated by the bonus theme answers. NAME CHANGE and SPELL CHECK were my favorite theme entries. SPELL CHECK and I have a complicated relationship. I'm grateful for the times its saved me from embarrassment, but wish it would read my mind and know when to leave my typing as is! The answers I didn't know today were all names, but they had fair crossings and I was glad to learn about these people. Speaking of names, I've come to associate Lynn Lempel's name with smooth, enjoyable crosswords. Today was no exception.