Title: FOLLOW THE MONEY
Constructor: Neville Fogarty
Editor: Erik Agard
BALL IS LIFE (17A: Devoted hooper's motto)
CLIPBOARD (29A: Petition holder)
TALKS SHOP (49A: Discusses work at happy hour, for example)
MAKERSPACE (65A: Communal creation location)
Theme synopsis: The first part of each theme answer can FOLLOW THE word MONEY to create a new phrase. We have MONEYBALL, MONEY CLIP, MONEY TALKS, and MONEYMAKER.
Things I learned:
- TOTO (16A: "Rosanna by ___ but every time it says rosanna I say banana and take a bite of a banana" (YouTube video)) This is quite a silly clue, so of course I like it! "Rosanna by TOTO but every time it says rosanna I say banana and take a bite of a banana" is a 2018 video by YouTuber Sven Johnson. The title describes exactly what happens in the video, and (although I didn't watch the entire five and a half minutes) I laughed out loud. Such a goofy, silly concept. Sven Johnson produces short comedic videos for his YouTube channel.
- CLARA (27D: Civil rights leader Luper) For 41 years of her life, CLARA Luper taught history in Oklahoma. She also made history with her leadership and civil rights activism. CLARA Luper organized one of the first sit-ins of the civil rights movement at the segregated Katz Drug Store in Oklahoma City. On a Tuesday afternoon - August 19, 1958 - CLARA and thirteen of her students entered Katz Drug Store, sat at the counter, and asked to be served. They were refused service, but remained for hours, even though they were kicked, punched, and had things poured on them. CLARA and her students returned the following two days. On the third day of the sit-in, an employee served them food. Katz corporate management desegregated its lunch counters in three states. CLARA Luper died in 2011 at the age of 88. A scholarship in her name is awarded annually to 30-45 students each year at Oklahoma City University.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- ERIE (19A: People who lived in present-day Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania) Our crossword-friend ERIE starts out September strong, with an early-in-the-month appearance and a non-geographical clue. The ERIE people lived along the southern shore of Lake ERIE until the mid-17th century. Five years of warfare with the neighboring Iroquois forced most of the tribe to leave the area. ERIE, Pennsylvania, and Lake ERIE are named for the ERIE people.
- ADDRESS (1725 Slough Avenue, Scranton, PA, for example) This particular ADDRESS belongs to the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc., the business portrayed in the American TV series, The Office. There isn't actually a 1725 Slough Avenue in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The address is a reference to the British version of The Office, on which the American version is based. The British show is set in Slough, England. This is a delightful clue. It is completely inferable even if you know nothing of The Office, because it's obviously an ADDRESS. And fans of The Office have the delight of seeing a reference to the show.
- ACLU (26A: Org. co-founded by Helen Keller) The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 by a group of people, including Helen Keller. Founded in response to the Palmer Raids of 1919 and 1920, the ACLU continues its work today. Through litigation and lobbying the ACLU works to protect the individual rights of all people in the United States.
- CAV (39A: Cleveland athlete, for short) The Cleveland Cavaliers, informally known as the CAVs, are an NBA team founded in 1970.
- MAKERSPACE (65A: Communal creation location) A MAKERSPACE might be found in a school or in a community. Iowa City, where I live, has a MAKERSPACE called the Fab Lab. If the concept of a MAKERSPACE is new to you, here's an article that talks about the use of MAKERSPACEs in education.
- AIDA (73A: "The Gods Love Nubia" musical) AIDA is a musical written by Elton John and Tim Rice. And yes, it's based on the opera, AIDA, by Antonio Ghislanzoni and Giuseppe Verdi. The musical AIDA premiered on Broadway in 2000. "The Gods Love Nubia" is the final song of the first act of the musical.
- ALI (6D: "Always Be My Maybe" star Wong) ALI Wong plays the role of Sasha Tran in the 2019 movie, Always Be My Maybe. I have previously written about Keanu Reeves starring as himself in the movie, as a love interest of Sasha's.
- PHIL (31D: Punxsutawney ___ (groundhog)) Punxsutawney PHIL usually only gets attention once a year on Groundhog Day, but you can visit his website any day of the year.
- KAREEM (50D: "Jeopardy!" champ Abdul-Jabbar) KAREEM Abdul-Jabbar - yes, the former basketball star - has competed on Jeopardy! four times. He was a contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy! in Seasons 11 and 15, and in the Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational Tournament during Season 26, and Power Players Week in Season 28. Jeopardy! has been in the news recently, as I'm sure you've noticed. KAREEM Abdul-Jabbar recently shared his thoughts on "Why the Host of 'Jeopardy!' Matters."
- DRIP (57D: ___ coffee) and ICED (63D: ___ coffee) Looking back over the puzzle, I was thankful this tricky pair were Down clues, because that meant I already had the DR__ filled in when I encountered the first [___ coffee] clue. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have filled in ICED.
- DETROIT (57A: City home to the AUDL's Mechanix) The DETROIT Mechanix are a professional ultimate team. They compete in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).
- BALTIC (5D: Sea north of Poland) The BALTIC Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to Poland, the BALTIC Sea borders Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Russian, and Sweden.
- MALI (62D: African country hidden in "Somalia") MALI is a landlocked country in West Africa. Somalia is a country on the eastern coast of Africa, situated on the peninsula known as the Horn of Africa. So, although MALI is hidden in the word "Somalia," the two countries are not neighbors.
FOLLOW THE MONEY is a fun puzzle title, and the puzzle itself is enjoyable as well. Although I'm not a devoted basketball fan, BALL IS LIFE is my favorite theme answer today. It's so playful and fun. I enjoyed the cluing today, as you probably noticed from my comments above. In addition to those entries I've already highlighted, I especially liked NO RELATION (10D: Clarification regarding two people with the same last name). I haven't had to use that explanation at all since I've been married, but my maiden name was Hayes, as in the 19th president of the U.S., Rutherford B. Hayes - NO RELATION. This puzzle was a delightful way to begin my Thursday.
Occasionally I like to let you know about things happening in the crossword world, and I have three things to tell you about today.
First, Boswords, which provides seasonal crossword events organized by John Lieb and Andrew Kingsley, has opened up registration for their Fall Themeless League. The League will be held on Monday evenings in October and November. You can choose the difficulty at which you'd like to compete. The Boswords events are always a delight, not only for the puzzles, but also for the accompanying interviews. Also, you'll recognize the names of some of the constructors for the Fall League from the USA Today constructor roster. If you like your puzzles on the easier side, this puzzle league still has a spot for you. I've demoted myself from the Choppy (medium hard) division to the Smooth (easiest) division for the Boswords Fall League. Feel free to join me!
Secondly, guest blogger for Sally's Take, Sid Sivakumar has offered to send four crossword puzzles to anyone making a donation of $10 or more to an organization that supports Afghan women and girls. Sid has provided a list of such organizations on his website. Sid has promised the puzzles are hard. If hard puzzles aren't your thing, you can still make a donation - it's definitely a worthy cause.
Thirdly, if you construct crossword puzzles, or have ever thought you might like to start constructing puzzles, there is a new resource available. It's a free wordlist called Spread the Word(list). The wordlist is curated by USA Today constructors, Enrique Henestroza Anguiano and Brooke Husic.
I know I said three things, but here's a bonus! If you'd like to receive more frequent news about happenings in the crossword world, I highly recommend subscribing to Matt Gritzmacher's email lists! Matt provides a daily email with links to published crosswords from a multitude of venues, and occasional "News and Notes" emails with updates on happenings. His emails are extremely informative and helpful.