Word Count: 76
Average Length: 5.03
Here’s a gentle puzzle celebrating labor organizers and the power of unions, as told in songs, a movie, a book, and a Broadway show. (Fear not, next up will be a challenging themeless, followed by a music-related puzzle featuring a great Australian band that too few people in the US know.) Enjoy and share!
15A: I had to give Bruce first mention in the theme fill. He’s written several other songs that more directly address workers and unions, but those either are not as well known as the answer or not grid-construction friendly.
39A This is the latest of so many wonderful books from Jess Walter.
51A: The most famous version of this song was recorded by Paul Robeson. Here’s a link to a version sung by Springsteen in concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2UF8yw89yE.
6D: Backman is another of my favorite authors. He’s gentle, humane, humorous, and quietly inspirational.
Entire SE corner: Oy. I’d had a hard time filling the SE but finally achieved something I was reasonably happy with, only to realize – after sending it to my son to test-solve – that I’d placed the theme answer (currently 68A) asymmetrically (at 64A). Fortunately, when I ripped out the whole corner and started over, it proved easier to fill as properly configured, although 56D and 61A aren’t ideal. I re-clued the corner and was about to send it back to my son when something told me to make sure my clue for 56D was correct. It wasn’t. I’d clued it by reference to the homonymous coffee company (I really like their Major Dickason’s Blend). The coffee company, however, is spelled differently. Hence the plural name, which I try to avoid