Mexican root vegetable popular in salads / WED 3-25-20 / Energy snack marketed to women / Mother Bethel Church Philadelphia congregation since 1794

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Constructor: Laura Taylor Kinnel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (due solely to two extremely *non*-iconic "rolls")

THEME: SPRING ROLLS (59A: Chinese appetizers ... or a punny description of 17-, 28-, 35- and 45-Across) — tv and movie roles (there's the pun!) where part of the name is a spring (!) month:

Theme answers:
  • MARMEE MARCH (17A: Laura Dern, in "Little Women")
  • APRIL KEPNER (28A: Sarah Drew, on "Grey's Anatomy")
  • MELINDA MAY (35A: Ming-Na Wen, on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.")
  • JUNE CLEAVER (45A: Barbara Billingsley, on "Leave It to Beaver")
Word of the Day: JICAMA (45D: Mexican root vegetable popular in salads) —
Pachyrhizus erosus, commonly known as jicama (/ˈhɪkəmə/ or /ɪˈkɑːmə/ [...] from Nahuatl xīcamatl[ʃiːˈkamatɬ]), Mexican yam bean, or Mexican turnip, is the name of a native Mexican vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant's edible tuberous root. Jícama is a species in the genus Pachyrhizus in the bean family (Fabaceae). Plants in this genus are commonly referred to as yam bean, although the term "yam bean" can be another name for jícama. The other major species of yam beans are also indigenous within the AmericasPachyrhizus tuberosus and Pachyrhizus ahipa are the other two cultivated species. The naming of this group of edible plants seems confused, with much overlap of similar or the same common names.
Flowers, either blue or white, and pods similar to lima beans, are produced on fully developed plants. Several species of jicama occur, but the one found in many markets is P. erosus. The two cultivated forms of P. erosus are jicama de agua and jicama de leche, both named for the consistency of their juice. The leche form has an elongated root and milky juice, while the aguaform has a top-shaped to oblate root and a more watery, translucent juice, and is the preferred form for market. (wikipedia)
• • •

Back-to-back solo women constructors! In the regular flow of puzzles, and not part of some "let's publish women for a change" gimmick! Huzzah. I thought this was very clever, though two of these names were completely unknown to me. I somehow exist in an ecosystem where noone I know seems to watch, let alone talk about, "Grey's Anatomy," despite its being a long-running popular show, so the actress, the role ... zero idea. None. I think there's a doctor on it who was in that teen movie "Can't Buy Me Love" in the '80s ... and I'm almost certain it was created by Shonda Rimes, whom I *definitely* know. But aside from the fact that "Grey's Anatomy" is a medical show that takes place in Seattle, I got nothing to tell you about "Grey's Anatomy." I know that I was *startled* to find, recently, that it was still on the air. I have much better reason to watch "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," since it's a Marvel property and I teach a class on comics, and yet ... nope. Not one episode. Ever. Marvel properties—not really my thing. I am aware of their existence, but do I have a complete knowledge of all of their casts lists and roles? I do not. This is all to say that I got the "spring" thing early (w/ MARMEE MARCH), so I could infer the month parts of the unknown names fine, but the other name parts were a total crapshoot, which slowed me down considerably. Not terribly hard to put together MELINDA (it's a common name), slightly harder to get KEPNER (familiar, but ... last names can be bleepin' anything).

This jarring contrast between the iconic "roles" of MARMEE MARCH and JUNE CLEAVER, on the one hand, and the more recent TV roles, on the other, took some of the joy and delight out of the solve. Slogging through marginal names, never a great feeling. This is not just a generational thing. It's not that "old" answers are OK and "modern" ones aren't. It's that there are so many ways for people of all generations to know MARMEE MARCH and JUNE CLEAVER (whose TV show is now old, yes, but who is an iconic TV mom on an TV show that's practically synonymous with a cultural phenomenon, namely white suburban conformity)—whereas you pretty much have to watch the TV shows in question to have any idea who APRIL KEPNER and MELINDA MAY are. But again, the concept is sound and the reveal is cute. The rest of the grid is more than good enough. Thumbs up.

Five things:
  • 45D: Mexican root vegetable popular in salads (JICAMA) — I don't know why I love this answer so much, but I do. Maybe because it seems like a food item that is super familiar in my real life, but that I can't remember seeing in crosswords much, if at all. I like that it sits next to LUNA BAR (another good answer—is there a JICAMA LUNA BAR? There is not ... but it looks like you can get JICAMA slaw at Luna's Tacos in Greeley, CO. Just a suggestion.
  • 49A: Santa's helper? (UPS) — boo. This is cynical and dumb. Seems like it could be pretty tricky, esp. if you are unfamiliar with the OPI nail polish brand (which provides the "P" cross here). But from here on out, you should not remain unfamiliar with OPI, because it's a genuinely popular brand and ... well, think how often you see OBI. Yeah. Brace yourself for the OPI wave, esp. if you start seeing more puzzles made by women.
  • 3D: Gets cozy (CURLS UP) — possibly the hardest part of the puzzle for me. I got to this answer very early, got the "CU-," wanted only CUDDLES (UP), and figured that there must be some kind of rebus going on. Usually don't see rebuses on Wednesdays, but sometimes you do. But no. Not today. CUDDLES UP just seems cozier to me than CURLS UP, which is a phrase I can imagine preceding the words "and dies." Nobody CUDDLES UP and dies, is what I'm saying.
  • 64A: Academic's "and others" (ET ALIA) — nah, we use the "et al." shortening like the rest of y'all, trust me
  • 52D: Team head: Abbr. (MGR.) — tomorrow was supposed to be Opening Day ... sigh.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:22 AM  

Brilliant, brilliant theme -- Laura's jaw must have dropped when it hit her.

Thank you, Laura, for what was a superb journey for me, overcoming the resistance of not knowing three of the characters, but aided by realizing that months were part of their names. On top of that, a momentous aha at finally cracking [Santa's helper] on my second alphabet run, having the U and the S. And finally... food, glorious food, in clues and answers: Jicama (which I love), plum, Luna Bar, peach oysters, corn, brie, egg, spring rolls, even carry-out.

Everyday life, I MISS YOU, but TGFC for helping to tide things over.

GILL I. 6:53 AM  

Why is a professor in a library a PLUM?
I read Little Women, oh about 100 years ago but haven't seen the movie. Forgot about MARMEE. I could only recall Jo or Amy or maybe Beth.
I used to watch Grey's Anatomy but I thought they all died in some sort of plane crash. I guess they survived. Never have watched SHIELD. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the women in this puzzle were unknown to me. Well, I did know JUNE CLEAVER. She always had an apron on, no? I think she also handed a martini to her husband when he came home from a job somewhere.
I enjoyed this VERY female puzzle. Had to actually wait till the end for my required AHA. PEACHY keen idea. I like SPRING ROLLS and they are easy to make with leftovers. JICAMA is good only one way......Lime. You need lots of lime. And then they become like popcorn. You can't only eat one.
By the way, @Rex....Men also use OPI. Just look at RuPaul's fingersnails.

Hungry Mother 6:57 AM  

I needed the theme to finish. One typo to fix and I was done. Pretty fast overall and quite a nice challenge.

pabloinnh 6:58 AM  

After finding MARCH and APRIL, pretty clear that MAY would be next, very helpful, as that was a complete unknown, and my fondest hopes were realized when JUNE turned out to be Mrs. CLEAVER. Have to admit the roles/ROLLS pun was lost on me, inexplicably, as I love puns, but thanks to OFL I am now enlightened. I was pretty sure he'd be in a good mood after two female constructors in a row. I was happy that they were both good puzzles, the end.

Today's answers included the names of both my granddaughters (neither of which is a month in spring) which was nice to see but also reminds me of how much I miss them. One is too young to understand where the hugs went, and the other is in England. But we're all healthy and connecting electronically, so thank goodness for that.

Nice job by you, LTK, even if you were a little too clever for me. More of these would be fine, say in an hour or two.

Stay well and sane, y'all.

amyyanni 7:08 AM  

Really clever, although had the problem Rex described at UPS and OPI. Must confess, don't do my nails. I was named after one of the 4 Little Women, but the wrong one. The Cleavers remind me of Eddie Haskell, a character. Grateful for puzzles and this blog. Using vacation time to stay home because I work for the state and our governor is a fool.

Tale Told By An Idiot 7:12 AM  

My sisters and I ran toward Marmee -
April, May, Melinda, June, Fran, Malia,
Emma, Tessa and even Leia - as though we were entrants in a race.

Suddenly we stopped and stared.
We saw food: jicama, carry-out spring rolls, Brie, plum jam, eggy bread and peachy cobbler! A feast after months of nothing but remnants of Luna Bars and some larvae. How could this be?

Marmee said a Roman capo brought it. He bragged that he had taken a cleaver to his former lover and filched her food so he could march to Marmee with a plea that she be his amie.

When I woke from my coma I was alone in the ICU. Soon the on-call neurologist came to see me. She said that if I want to continue in rodeo, the next time I ride a horse that erupts from the gate like a bat out of hell I’d better hang on to the mane.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

Guess I'm the anti-Lewis today. Whooee, was that awful or what? Three of the five themers I had no idea whether they were right even after all the letters were in. That is too much obscurity – and not the kind that broadens your vocabulary, but rather pop culture. Don’t rely on pop culture for your difficulty.

Add to that OPI, LUNA BAR, EMMAS, ALA/AGA/AMA and AME and ILE.

I liked the clue for PLUM.

SouthsideJohnny 7:15 AM  

Icky. Definitely not in my wheelhouse, as I had no clue about the theme entries (except for June C - but by that time I had lost interest). I played it as a themeless, so there was really no “there” there. Probably good stuff if you have heard of the actresses and are familiar with the movies or shows or whatever they are.

If the puzzle were (was?) constructed by a man, Rex probably would have been all over it like white on rice.

Abby Friedman 7:18 AM  

"Brace yourself for the OPI wave, esp. if you start seeing more puzzles made by women." - that was pretty sexist, Rex.

I am 40; I know who June Cleaver is SOLELY because Nick at Nite used to play Leave It To Beaver when I was a kid... in the summer? maybe?... so my parents told me. I'm pretty sure most people under 40 don't know her. Melinda May and April Kepner were there for people my age and under. June Cleaver was for people older than me. I thought it was a nice mix, tbh. And those are both pretty big properties - Grey's has been on for 16 seasons; Marvel is just a juggernaut. (Also Melinda May is one of the starts of Agents of SHIELD, and an easy to infer.) I know you specifically say in your write that it's "not just a generational thing. It's not that "old" answers are OK and "modern" ones aren't." -- methinks you doth protest too much. Especially given how often those ARE your complaints, or the line your complaints fall along. It's not the constructors fault you don't know about two currently iconic media properties.

mbr 7:28 AM  

@Gill.I: Professor Plum is a character in the board game CLUE, where people & weapons are found in rooms of a big mansion.

Loren Muse Smith 7:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 7:34 AM  

Very nifty repurposing of SPRING ROLLS. That it was a homophone of the actual word was lost on me until I started typing. Sheesh. ROLL or role. That’s one that is not instinctual. I mean, I never struggle with affect/effect, complement/compliment, capitol/capital, principal/principle… but roll/role, a while/awhile, discrete/discreet, born/borne. . . I’m wobbly with these. The roll/role one is just dumb that I have to slow down and think about it. The others are understandable. Ah… the minefield of homophones we must navigate to avoid the judgment of those more learned and educated.

CARRY OUT. Ok. So I usually say take-out but CARRY OUT is ok. Not ok – take away. Sorry, Brits. I’ll enjoy your bonnets, crisps, jumpers, fan ovens, castor sugar, treacle (Great British Baking Show, anyone?), but hearing someone talk about getting take away just flat smacks me in the face. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that it’s so jarring. A take away is a lesson you learned after an ordeal.

Briefly considered “global warming” before YULE LOG for the thing that might give you that nice, warm Christmas feeling just kidding not really I’m feeling magnificently snarky and angry and outraged and helpless and stupefied and hopeless when I think about this history book chapter we’re living through. Not just the horror that is upon us now, but the horror that has been this whole ERA.

Sorry. I get the feeling we’re all mightily avoiding the ick, but it’s consuming me, and I’m alone and I’m scared. (Hey Rex – could you start a little separate page for us to “be together” during all this? I feel like lots of commenters are my good friends, friends whose opinions I care about as I soldier on alone out here in MAGA land. We could talk about the weird stuff we’re doing while staying at home. I’m doing a lot of wandering around and staring out windows. Eating cookie dough with a spoon. Doing a 30-minute YouTube workout with this cute British guy who probably gets take away spring rolls.)

Laura – thanks for the little diversion that I’ve just peed all over for everyone. I thought it especially elegant that you managed to put the themers in their proper order. Very nice.

JJK 7:40 AM  

Sorry, I can’t join in with the laudatory comments. MARMEE, as far as I know and have believed since I first read Little Women back in the day, is what Jo and her sisters affectionately call their mom, a version of Mama or Mother, NOT Mrs. March’s actual first name. So that answer doesn’t fit into the theme properly. I also didn’t get the theme at all until I read Rex’s explanation, because that first answer, MARMEE, made me think the theme was about moms, not about spring months (also, being from New England, I have to say we really do not see March as a spring month). and on top of all this, I had no idea who the characters from the two more contemporary shows were, having never watched either of them. Call me out of it, but there you go. So this puzzle was a bust for me.

Suzie Q 7:40 AM  

Cute little holiday corner in the SE. Santa's helper, yule log, Noel, and eggy nog.
The theme helped me with the names I did not know. I did not remember if it was Marmie or Marmee but easy enough to fix. Is that a form of Mommy?
Filch was my favorite answer. You don't hear that very often.
Rex's constant harping about female constructors is grating on my nerves. I wish we could solve without knowing the name of the constructor, at least in this setting.
I liked the roll/role pun at the end. Pleasant final moment.

Ms. Scarlet 7:50 AM  

Got it!

I accuse Professor PLUM of committing the crime in the ICU with the CLEAVER.

Sadly, though, I suspect the villain will COP A PLEA.

Rug Crazy 7:51 AM  

Very happy Rex didn't like the UPS / OPI cross
went through the alphabet for the P, and went Q-Z just to make sure because it was so lame

ChrisM 7:53 AM  


I think we’re all feeling the isolation. I know I am. The crossword puzzles, and especially the archive, have been a great mental vacation from the nonstop torrent of news. If I find myself repeating Dorothy Parker’s famous phrase, “What fresh hell is this?” I remember that somehow we’ll get through all of this together! - Chris

Laura 8:05 AM  

Nice puzzle at a time we need nice puzzles. I do celebrity names just with crosses so it was nice to have a few names I could be sure of once i got them...Though there are a lot of characters on Grey's Anatomy. I got that with crosses and theme as well.

thfenn 8:05 AM  

Bit of a slog for me. Two runs through the alphabet didnt make any lightbulb go off on the OPI/UPS cross and I ended up needing to come here to finish the puzzle with that last square, the P registering in my mind as ups - as opposed to downs. Only new March and June answers. Not only was the pun lost on me, but also the string of months. Clearly not my morning. Always nice to come here and learn there was more to appreciate than I thought. And, of course, enjoy reading the comments.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

From Clue. As in “Professor Plum in the Library with the knife.” I liked that entry, it made me chuckle.

Geezer 8:20 AM  

JUNE CLEAVER's show was family fare. There was no alcohol, but lots of beaver.

Joaquin 8:24 AM  

CARRYOUT over SPRING ROLLS. Can’t get much more timely than that, unfortunately, in the age of social-distance-dining.

OffTheGrid 8:35 AM  

I'm with those who liked this. Seemed perfect for Wednesday. The theme was clever and smooth. The only bad smell is TAUTENED and it reeks.

feinstee 8:39 AM  

I would have preferred 'spring roles' for 59A and 61D as EEG to be more punny

Barbara S. 8:44 AM  

Liked the puzzle. I was lucky enough to know three of the four themers and the other one (APRIL) was gettable from crosses.

I chuckled at the Clue clue on PLUM. FILCH is one of my favorite words, so Yay! HORSE was good one, too, although we could debate proportions. I'd say that two-thirds of a centaur is three-quarters of a horse (but who's counting?). I liked the clue on EMMAS -- two real people and one fictional. Swell for PEACHY was a good misdirect. When I saw "___ ears" I had what must have been an acid flashback and immediately thought of Big Ears from the Noddy books. I knew that couldn't be right since ears wasn't capitalized but, good grief, I can't imagine from what lower crypt in my brain that arose. And I'd just like to say sadly that Canada used to be a powerhouse in international women's soccer and (brightening) will be again!

QuasiMojo 8:46 AM  

DNF due to the two TV names I've never heard of. PAY should have been obvious so I blame myself. But still little pleasure. The WSJ today is much better.

Paul Emil 8:49 AM  

Rex correctly zeroed in on the obvious feminism of the puzzle. Unfortunately the puzzle was mostly fluff. I am sure that a woman can construct a puzzle with clues other than from popular culture.

RavTom 8:55 AM  

While for many of us in higher latitudes, March may not feel very springlike, part of it is in astronomical spring, as is all of April, all of May, and part of June.

TJS 9:12 AM  

Best TV Guide Puzzle Ever !!! And so perfectly Wednesday. I mean names,names,names ! Yes ! Emmas,Tessa,Leia,Malia,Noel,Fran,Enid,Aga, Arp,plus the 4 themers ! And I love words that aren't words, don't you ? RPM<REV<AMA<PR<ICU<ECO<OPI<USA<MGR<RTES. And how about that sneaky little Christmas theme with yule log and Santa and sled and Noel. Maybe we will see this one in December,too ! Fun !

Loved how Rex didn't give this one any special treatment because of the female constructor thing. Just stuck to his guns and reveiewed it with no bias. That's what I call integrity.

Z 9:17 AM  

It’s been answered, but how did everyone resist “@Gill I doesn’t have a Clue™️.”

If I were giving grades this would be an A-. Why the minus? Well, a PPP based theme can never be a straight A for exactly the reason Rex and @Abby Friedman said, it’s inherently you know it or you don’t. You can get into an inane argument over who is more iconic, JUNE CLEAVER or APRIL KEPNER, but c’mon dudes, it’s an inane argument. Do we really think either will be remembered as long as Juliet? So, points off for a PPP theme. Another point off for going PPP cluing on PLUM. You already have a PPP heavy puzzle because of the theme and you’re going to game PLUM? And then there’s the UPS/OPI crossing with the oblique (and, yes, cynical) UPS clue. PPP crossings are always potentially naticks, muddying that with a misdirect is suboptimal in my opinion.

Quickie PPP Analysis
27 of 79 for 34%. Some subset of solvers will likely struggle with this (although having 4 months might help a little).
(Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Names)

Teedmn 9:25 AM  

While I was solving this, I kept an eye on all of the female-leaning clue-and-answer pairs. It reminded me of an Inkubator offering (I subscribe) and to me it pointed out the truth of the Natan Last piece in the Atlantic someone here mentioned that addressed the gender bias of crosswords. As Rex mentions, OPI would definitely be crosswordese by now if more crosswords by women were published. So instead of becoming frustrated that I wasn't flying through this thing (I never do my nails either), I tried to enjoy being exposed to a different view. I'm sure the same thing would be true if there were more constructors of color. I'm not on a crusade here, I just think the bias is a real thing and the somewhat odd (odd being "different") feel to this puzzle is what makes me think so.

Meanwhile, I somehow managed to miss the springiness of the names while solving - I think I was concentrating on the crosses because the middle two names were WOEs - so the revealer was lots of fun. That the themers were in monthly order and also alternated last, first, last, first names was really a nice touch.

REMN___ at 10D looked a bit odd - not a common letter combo, and not clued as carpet. Nice to see REMNANT in the grid along with ASTRAL and ENTRANT. I always CURL UP with a good book so while I first looked for CUddles at 3D also, I wasn't dismayed by the actual answer.

JICAMA, I'm not a fan, too little flavor for my taste, the same as with celery. I guess I'll have to try Gill I's lime and see if it changes my mind.

Laura Taylor Kinnel, thanks for the eye-opening Wednesday puzzle and congrats on having two puzzles in one month! The last one, the Sunday NACL rebus, was also great.

@LMS, I have been pondering how strange it is to be living through such a world-shaking event, one historians will look back on, knowing how it all ends and being able to point to pivotal choices or mistakes made while we who are living it can only watch it unfold. It's weird and frightening.

Nancy 9:49 AM  

As I filled in each theme answer, I was saying to myself: "Who on earth cares?" (Some of you actually will, of course). But emphatically not a Nancy puzzle.

The comments section looks great, though, and I will peruse it now.

BarbieBarbie 9:51 AM  

Loved seeing OPI even though I never do my nails and could only write down the O and come back later. The reason: I’m a long-time nail-biter, and I’m having to get serious about quitting in this era of Don’t Touch Your Face. It’s hard. So I loved the reminder that there an upside to everything, even the coronavirus.

In practicing physical isolation (true social isolation is not necessary!) I am so lucky to live in the suburbs, and so worried about our more-crowded urban friends. @Nancy, please be careful.

puzzlehoarder 9:57 AM  

Well MARMEEMAY and tickle me pink this Wednesday played like a Friday. I didn't know there was a S.H.I.E.L.D. shoe show much less the names of its characters.

As always the fill made almost all clear. OPI is a relatively new piece of three letter fill that has yet to be pounded in. Strangely it was the "I" that I had lingering doubts on. The UPS clue was easy to get so I had no doubt on that P. I was well over 90% sure that MALIA was not spelled with an E just not quite 100%. I was 100% on everything else when I finished.

@lms, as long as you're "peeing all over" things I know a certain president you could make very happy. In this time of crisis we have to do all we can to help each other through.

P.S. he'd like to know if you'd eat asparagus.

Sir Hillary 9:59 AM  

I missed the ROLL/role pun until @Rex pointed it out for me, so I wasn't as impressed while solving as I should have been. I'm impressed now. Nice work.

No idea what AME meant, so I looked it up. Fun to learn things.

Inspired by @Z's post yesterday, I searched for meaningful row combos. Only a couple struck me:
-- ICU APRILKEPNER. Guessing she spends time there.

Oddly, I noticed the top row backwards could be "Lead vehicle in Greta's convoy". GARBO PACE CAR. This is what passes for activity these days.

tea73 10:15 AM  

Ooh the penny just dropped on the "professor in the library"! I nominate that for best clue of the week.

At first I was cross that we just had a puzzle of names of characters, most of whom I couldn't quite get right. Just reread Little Women, so I wrote MARMiE and blanked on the last name. I too never watched Grey's Anatomy. Watched every single Agent of Shield and MELINDA MAY was one of the most interesting characters in the ensemble, so glad to see her, but it's been a while, so I couldn't come up with her name either. And then I wrote in JUNECarVER. Oops.

I'm a woman, but don't use polish often and never pay attention to brand names. I'll learn OPI eventually, I know we see it pretty regularly.

I'm in a CV hotspot, so life here is extra-surreal.

Still came in somewhat faster than average and smiled at the revealer.

Newboy 10:16 AM  

Three cheers for Laura’s puzzle that mystified this solver—probably suffering from testosterone poisoning? Mrs Newboy gave me a “clue” to Professor Plum in the library with her usual game face. UPS/OPI (nasty cross) was a brow bender for us both even with the question mark after the clue.

This time the reveal did actually help me recall characters from dramas that were not on my viewing list.

COP A PLEA was a giggle inducing clue.

Mrs just read me @LMS plea for an alternative board to support the isolated & lonely. A good idea indeed. now I’m off to enjoy y’all.

RooMonster 10:26 AM  

Hey All !
What was that you say? That SPRING started last Tuesday, the 19th? And why wasn't this puz last Wednesdays offering? I guess in this topsy-turvy times, nothing is for sure.

Anyway, puz is 16 wide today, no one mentioned it, not even Rex, which he usually does. At least it's not arbitrarily extra wide, had an even number themer (10) that had to be the middle to keep the month in order.

Agree the first three themers were relatively unknown. Although, Little Women is a literary biggie, but y'all should know by now, I'm not well read. Know of Grey's Anatomy, but never watched it, was into Scrubs at that time. Comedy, not reality -ish stuff like GA. Into Marvel-anything, but never watched Agents of SHIELD. Man, I'm usually good on TV or movie PPP, but not today.

I did finish 100% error free though! Last letter was that P that everyone struggled with. UPS kind of a stretch for that clue. And OPI unknown, I don't polish my nails. 😀

Apt descriptor in these sequestered times - I MISS YOU everyone. Har.

One F

Anonymoose 10:28 AM  

@Puzzlehoarder 9:57. HAR!

Suzie Q 10:54 AM  

@ Sir Hillary 9:59, Glad to see you exercising your mind with your idle time. Funny stuff. It reminded me of an old one-liner about an Olympic skier who donated money to a hospital and had a unit named for her. Picabu ICU.
Sorry if you find that a groaner.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

mindful of spoiler prohibition, and couldn't get a connection yesterday, there's some data on the 5D over there, if anyone cares.

Unknown 11:05 AM  

"Tautened" Really? Does this bother anyone else? I get really mad when words are invented to fit the construction.

Robert A. Simon 11:12 AM  

Which state?

tkincher 11:12 AM  

I got hung up on the ET ALIA / AGA crossing as well as the UPS / OPI crossing, which made this take a lot longer than it would have. Well, that and my wife coming in from the other room, having just finished watching Little Women, helped me knock out MARMEE as well as KEPNER, both of those names being firmly out of my own wheelhouse.

@Unknown 11:05: I am also not a fan of "TAUTENED".

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

if your old enough, and a devote` of saloon folk music (once the majority venue, but that's another story), Gottlieb did a 'while there tuning up' shpiel which ends with (appr.)
"That was massive trauma, I raced home tearfully, leaped into bed, assumed the prenatal position, and turned the electric blanket up to 9!" audience goes wild. the prenatal position, of course is CURLS UP. thumb sucking optional.

just so OFL knows, the lead is Ellen Pompeo (relation to Trump toady unknown, but from my home town), who, just before she got that gig (and, may be because), she played two really creepy villain roles on "Law&Order"

jae 11:21 AM  

On the tough side. The theme helped me as like Rex and others,I didn’t know two of the theme characters...I have read Little Women and seen Leave It To Beaver and I am way over 40.

Delightful, liked it a bunch.

Kathy 11:25 AM  

I found the puzzle to be easy, even though I didn’t recognize the pun while I was solving. The months showed up on my radar early and there were so many gettable crosses that I encountered no Naticks despite the PPP.

I am perplexed by Rex’s comment about olden vs modern answers, of which this puzzle had a good mix. He generally rages against anything boomer in favor of modern pop culture. Yet today he is employing the “test of time” standard. (Although, I admit it is a crap shoot which of today’s pop culture will pass the test when the millennials are oldsters.) I, too, wonder how his review might have been had he been unaware of the gender of the constructor.

Ah, yes, June Cleaver in her heels and pearls. And Ward, who could bolt home from wherever it was he worked—on a moment’s notice—if there was any problem with the boys at school. Because certainly June couldn’t deal with the school principal alone.

Loved Professor Plum! Clue was one of my favorite board games and it has surely passed the test of time. I play it with my kids and grandchildren to this day!

Only because I watch Chopped Kitchen on Food Network did JICAMA fall for me. It makes regular appearances in the mystery basket. I’ll wager Laura is a foodie.

BarbieBarbie 11:26 AM  

Unknown@1105: active voice tautened would be pretty bad. But “the main rope was tautened” is OK in my book.

GILL I. 11:28 AM  

@mbr....Muchas thank you's. Never have played Clue. The only PLUM I know has a pudding. @Z...Haha. You're right....much of my time is spent without a clue!!!!
I just sent @Loren a YouTube clip called "A Desperate Mothers' Prayer" but I'm not sure it went through. I've lost my little cheat sheet on how to embed but you can Google it. It's really funny.
Another funny one is Zia Lucia Goes To the Doctor. In these times, we do what we havta to keep entertained. My friends send these little gems all day long and it's pretty cool.

Whatsername 11:28 AM  

This could have been just a cutsie “character “ theme, but it was made exceptional by the names of the months in chronological order. Very nicely done. I knew Grey’s Anatomy had an APRIL but no clue on the last name. I stopped watching that show years ago and never even heard of the Shields one. @Unknown (11:05) I agree. TAUTENED was just annoying.

@Loren (7:35) I love your idea of a lockdown blog. It is a dark and lonely time but rest assured you are not alone in your aloneness. Many of us are struggling to cope with an unexpected and unprecedented overdose of solitude. It’s a landmark chapter in this generation of history for which no one was prepared and no one really knows what is yet to come. If you or others do get something started, please let us all know. I’ll be right there to sign up.

On the plus side, my fur kids are loving that I’m home 24/7 to CURLUP even more than usual, and my house is getting a rare SPRING cleaning. I’m finding that moving furniture can reveal all sorts of unexpected surprises and items thought long lost. I have friends who are sewing face masks from REMNANTS and donating them to hospitals and medical clinics. FYI, anyone willing to join this effort can obtain FREE kits from any Joann’s Fabric Store. Stitch them together and return them to the store for distribution. They offer curbside pickup or will even ship the materials to your home. This may not show up blue but here is a link for more information:

What? 11:35 AM  

Easy partial fills - the months. The rest? Obscure actors (except for Cleaver). This is a puzzle, all right. Deep, bright green paint. Obscurity doesn’t belong in any crossword, especially not in the “best”.

Ron 11:36 AM  

I've never heard of a single name from the theme answers.. super painful solve for me!

Frantic Sloth 11:38 AM  

APRILKEPNER and MELINDAMAY are complete unknowns to me, and I never took trigonometry, so that whole Middle East (autocorrect keeps capitalizing) was a disaster. Hmmm. Wonder if anyone has said that before...

Finally figured there had to be a Greek letter in there (at least it wasn't a alphabet sequence thing!) and THETAS was the logical fit.

Once I got beyond those interlopers-as-famous-roles people, I had fun with this. And even though the revealer was no help for a while, ignoring the theme was.

Being dense and not feeling very "Springy" (it snowed yesterday) I never even saw months in the answers.
That revealer had me going between MARMEEMARCH and JUNECLEAVER (all I had thus far) and with the Chinese food appetizer link, all I could come up with was DIM SUM...MOMS? Three letter words that end with and "m"....zzzzzzzzzz. So obviously not it.(couldn't choose whether to insert a comma between "so" and "obviously" depending on how I wanted it to sound. "Let the people decide" was my conclusion. Yeah - I still think people actually read what I have to say. Hahaha!)

Never warmed to JICAMA. Perhaps I need some kind of recipe other than "in salad" - and perhaps someone out there has one? Perhaps?

Now I'm gonna read Rex and the rest of youz guyz before I go any further. This is already getting out of hand, what with all the ( )s and the " "s, and the --s, and the ....s
Later, dudes!

Oddly enough, I completely agree with Rex today and always enjoy a Peanuts strip!

I don't do my nails either and OPI was a ?? until I sussed out UPS (not the best) and even then - no idea.

@GILL I. Is there enough lime in the world to make jicama taste like...well, anything?
@LMS It's okay that you peed all over it - that just means you claim/own it.
@ Suzy Q 10:54 What does it say for me that I liked your groaner?

Not sure if it's better to post a novella or go over the allotment. Clearly neither is ideal, but what to do...? Take a Ritalin?

Frantic Sloth 11:40 AM  

@GILL I. What is it with you and PLUM PUDDING?? LOL!

egsforbreakfast 11:40 AM  

@ Suzie Q 10:54. Not to nitpick, but just FYI, the skier is Picabo (not PicabU) Street, named after the tiny town of Picabo, Idaho, which is a half hour south of Sun Valley. She was actually born in Triumph, Idaho, which is closer to Sun Valley. The roadway running in front of the Warm Springs Lodge in Sun Valley is now also named Picabo Street.

deb 11:40 AM  

What’s imho. 19 across don’t get it

Frantic Sloth 11:45 AM  

This is important to nobody but myself, but I'd just like to go on record as admitting my original comment was a sloppy-ass hot mess of spelling, grammar, and what-all. Ugh.

@Suzie Q - and apologies for misspelling your name!

xyz 11:46 AM  

Obscure names, the bane of fine crosswording

This was still OK, doable from crosses. In a way the relative absence of knee jerk fill is refreshing, maybe only 3-5 entries of that ilk

Crimson Devil 11:49 AM  

Good to see tha Professor re-surface.
Knew none of 4 women, but all were getable via crosses. “P” not so good, but otherwise enjoyable puz.

pabloinnh 11:57 AM  

Hey @SuziQ-I liked your groaner too. In a "sorta like" kind of way, there used to be a chain of supermarkets in NY called "P&C", which I always thought would be a good name for a home pregnancy test.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

since I'm no longer allowed out of the house, no puzzle today (may be ever!!!), didn't have the opportunity. but the discussion of the theme leads me to point out that *real* spring (i.e., weather spring) is March 1 to May 31, e.g. June isn't. June starts summer, and February ends winter.

Nancy 12:03 PM  

@Barbie Barbie (9:51) -- That's so nice of you. Thank you! I am being extremely careful, but perhaps not as careful as I could be, because in nice weather, I'm walking in Central Park and afterwards sitting on a bench by myself and reading the paper. To keep me completely safe, you should root for truly awful weather over the next month -- like this past Monday's. Then I wouldn't be at all tempted to go to the park... and there's nowhere else to go anyway. What worries me is that the park is getting more and more crowded as the weather gets more springlike. Harder to keep away from people walking or running in the opposite direction. I'm staying off the Reservoir, which is narrow, and sticking to the Bridle Path which is much wider.

A really nice man in my building called me last week to say that if I needed anything, he or his son would get it for me. That really helps put my mind at ease. It's now been 6 bleeping days since I placed a (non-Rx, but OTC things I need) order with the pharmacy that's been delivering to me for 45 years. I finally yelled at them this morning: "I'm about to be [ ] bleeping years old and if I come into your place in person, which I've been instructed under no circumstances to do at my age, I could bloody well DIE." I hope that got their attention. If the order doesn't come today, I'll take advantage of the offer of the nice man in my building tomorrow. But I'd rather not use him until I really need him -- for the Rx meds I get from a different pharmacy. Normally they deliver, but they may not be able to now.

I did say to a friend (who's two years younger than I am) after the man made the offer: "You know how everyone tells me I look quite young for my age? Maybe I don't look all that young."

Deliveries are being made to the building and sent up in the elevator by the doorman. I just ordered a case of wine -- ordered in the a.m. so that the building porter, who goes off at 4, will be here when it arrives. I can't lift a case of wine. The wine store let me know they're an "essential service" so they're sti [It's here!!! It's here!!! The wine is here!!! To be continued. Wait!!!] they're still open. "Yes," I said, "you are an essential service! Really essential!!!" Anyway, it seems I have a wine store that is delivering and two pharmacies that aren't.

I'm amazed at my friend @GILL. She's the one who's looking out for others, whereas I'm being cautious and, when absolutely necessary, allowing others to look out for me. And while GILL's younger than I am, she's not exactly 17 either. Her bravery and selflessness are a source of inspiration. OTOH, I am not completely without a sense of civic duty. Just as I am working hard to keep my wine store solvent -- singlehandedly, if required -- I also feel a societal obligation to support the most high-end restaurants in my nabe as they struggle to stay afloat via deliveries. These are places I couldn't really afford to frequent all that often, but now -- what the hell? I can stretch one order to two days and I want them to still be there when this is all over. So that's one of my missions.

I'm joking of course. But if I don't laugh, I'll probably cry. Anyway, all of this was inspired by @Barbie Barbie's very kind and thoughtful shout-out.

MJB 12:03 PM  

Sprinkle some tajin on jicama and mangoes -- delish; my grandkids love it on popcorn.

Z 12:05 PM  

I forgot to ask earlier if anyone else suspects that the sullen otter cuddles up and dies?

@unknown 11:05 and @tkincher - I hate to ruin a perfectly good nit, but Merriam-Webster says its first use was 1777. It seems TAUT is the adjective, TAUTEN the verb, and TAUTENED the past tense.

@deb - In My Humble Opinion or In My Honest Opinion. Also, IMO, which eschews the humble v honest debate, is pretty common.

@Frantic Sloth11:40 - Tee Hee.

@LMS - Mayhap you could organize the Commentariat Choir. Or at least write some appropriate lyrics for said Choir and @JoeDipinto could find the music.

jberg 12:09 PM  

I often don't know the names of characters in movies and TV shows, and if I do I often know only the names they're called by. I did know JUNE CLEAVER and MARMEE MARCH, but that only brought up my other problem: I rarely know the names of the actors who are playing a role. And since movies, unlike, say, stage plays, just scroll the names in the credits, it's hard to learn if one doesn't know already. So this one was tough for me, with a couple more actresses names outside the themers. I did get them all in the end, and the theme itself was delightful.

I do want to stick up for TAUTENED as a perfectly respectable and long-used word. At least, I feel like I've seen it fairly often. says tauten first appeared in print in 1810.

As for OPI -- no, I didn't know it, but once you've got the U and the S UPS is inevitable. It may be a lame joke, and a spoiler for any six-year old kids doing the puzzle, but it's obvious.

Aside from not knowing the actresses, by two big problems were throwing in CUddles and sticking with it obstinately, and deciding that since the first two across answers were categories of which the clue was an example, that the answer for Crow must be Bird. That one didn't last as long.

I've never purchased or prepared JICAMA, but have certainly had it in restaurants -- but I still put in JaCAMA at first.

Is Professor PLUM the only man in the puzzle? If so, nice work! (For those who haven't played the game, we know the Professor is male because his picture is on his card.)

Stay healthy and safe, everyone. On Point this morning interviewed a guy from Singapore who said they'd had their first planning meeting re: coronavirus on January 1, and had the quarantine and treatment protocols and necessary equipment and protocols in place before they had a case. I just started shaking with fury.

TJS 12:11 PM  

@Frantic Sloth, not to worry, as long as Anon 11:18 is around, everyone else is going to sound like Hemingway.

Masked and Anonymous 12:15 PM  

I kinda liked this puz, but man o woman did I ever have trouble with the themers. I reckon I don't watch enough TV shows and such. Did know JUNECLEAVER, tho. And was pretty sure of the MARCH part of MARMEEMARCH.

fave fillins included:
* COPAPLEA. Sorta looks like somebody at a nightclub beggin not to be bounced.
* CURLSUP. Primo vowel choices. Wanted CUDDLES for a long time … cuz who don't like cuddles?
* FILCH. Just cuz it's a word U don't see in the puz all that often -- probably becuz of the challengin letter makeup. Variety is always fun.
* YULELOG. Had a clue one could cuddle up to.
* ABAT. Nice desperate partial. Again, variety is sooo nice.
* TAUTENED. This word is likely not gonna be real popular here, but it is unusual. M&A likes unusual. Besides, this coulda been worse: Consider RETAUTENER, say.

staff weeject pick: OPI. M&A should remember this weeject by now, but just cannot nail it. Must try to use it in some runtz...

JICAMA? LUNABAR? day-um. That SW corner went plumb nuts on m&e. I guess I don't get out enough (and shouldn't, sooo … ok).

Thanx for the frisky WedPuz fun, Ms. Kinnel darlin. Learned a lot. Does OPI have opiates in it?

Masked & Anonym007Us


Anonymous 12:29 PM  


he who laughs last, didn't get it. how many ways can one needle an English professor?

Another Anon 12:29 PM  

Sorry, it's just impossible to read a comment beginning "If YOUR old enough....."

Joe Dipinto 12:41 PM  

Too bad the month called June wasn't called Jive instead. Barbara Billingsley was memorable as Jive Lady in "Airplane".

Al R. 12:44 PM  

@Anonymous 12:01. I never heard this before. How does the weather know what day it is? Is it the same for all latitudes? Fascinating.

OffTheGrid 1:05 PM  

Here's Barbara in a different roll

OffTheGrid 1:07 PM  

@Joe D. You beat me to it. I didn't see yours before I posted.

jae 1:18 PM  

I just finished the Jan 21, 1995 Sat. puzzle by Charles E. Gersch. Parts of it were on the tough side for me because (1) what I thought was a pretty well established crossed word rule was violated and (2) my personnel rule of "if it looks weird its probably wrong" didn't hold true. As always, your mileage may vary.

Anonymous 1:18 PM

jb129 1:29 PM  

I didn't get I'm Ho & had "alum" for plum. ( I was waiting for our Gov to speak).

What is happening now feels like "Twilight Zone" - what did Rod Serling know what we didn't?

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

just noticed. the English prof. missed the fact that some % of puzzles cite ET ALII as translation. let's see what the books say ... yes. and one of those tricks that Mammy Yokum just hates.

Smith 1:34 PM  

@LMS In the library of a school where I once worked there was a sign in the computer section (remember those?) reading "Do not touch the power polls!"

Joe Dipinto 1:37 PM  

@OffTheGrid – I'll cut you some slack, Jack.

old timer 1:38 PM  

APRIL KEPNER? I felt I had fallen into a Firesign Theatre warp. Wasn't she an alias for Betty Jo Bialowski, aka Audrey Farber, in the adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye? (BTW if you haven't listened to FT albums in years, they make excellent listening if you are required to stay at home -- available online too, I think),

I only got her on crosses, but I did somehow manage to finish with no outside help.

bertoray 1:41 PM  

Or Professor Plum in the Study with June's Cleaver.

Smith 1:50 PM  

@Deb. IMHO = In My Humble Opinion, something to type before your "take" or perspective

Smith 1:56 PM  

@ Joe yes!!! Thanks for the memory!

Smith 2:00 PM  

Weirdly, I guess, this seemed easy, even though April and May were complete unknowns. Got them from the crosses. Have not done daily puzzles since hs, just every Sunday forever. Thanks to all for your interesting and intelligent comments. Makes social distancing a little less isolating.

Frantic Sloth 2:02 PM  

@GILL I. I swear I'm not stalking you, but that Mother's Prayer video was hilarious. So I linked it for you(and others).
@Joe Dipinto Surely you can't be serious.
@Whatsername What a great idea! In case nobody else (lookin' at you, @Z) "blues" your link, I'll do it here.
@MJB Not familiar with tajín, but thanks for the suggestion- looks promising!
@Nancy Why do people feel the need for the at your age qualifier? Do they want to compliment you or not?? Seems wussy to me.

GILL I. 2:12 PM  

@Nancy....Thank you, amiga, and stay safe!...Truth be told, I'd go bananas if I could not leave my place of abode. I'm VERY careful because of my husband. Always wear a mask and gloves. Wash hands about 30 times a day. We all know the routine. What pleases me no end are the people who are generous with their time and their ability to help others. I can, so I do. I think most would.
I'm really trying to NOT imagine you lifting a case of wine. But I can't help it. I know you are somewhat short; I see you teetering in your front door holding a 60 lb case of red Tinto. AAAACK. Call @JC66 and invite him over!
@Frantic Sloth 11:38. JICAMA really has no taste in my mind. It's really between an apple (without the sweetness) and a radish (without the tartness). It's really good for you so I buy it. You can fry them up like French fries and add some salsa caliente.
Happy trails.....lalalala......

Frantic Sloth 2:32 PM  

@LMS - avatar=performing arts? (sorry if this constitutes a spoiler)

albatross shell 2:37 PM  

My nit is the clue for TIC. A tic is not a nervous habit, is it? It may be done habitually, but not a habit.

But so much to love about this Wednesday. PLUM COPAPLEA FILCH.AND YOU The nest of women's names. The foods sprinkled about. The concentrate of Christmas in the spring. The EGGY EAGLE SPRING ROLLS.
Clue and Leave it to Beaver. Was not Eddie Haskel one of the worst two-faced characters on TV? Didn't everyone know somebody like him?

I did not know JIMICA MARMEE (tried to fit in Maggie Margie Margie etc) APRIL KEPNER (watched the first season and a half, but all those shows usually bore me after a couple seasons, NCIS and some detective shows being exceptions) OPI, but the crosses were doable for me. UPS jumped right out when ELF failed.

History channel has been showing The Food that Built America. Story of Heinz Post Kellogg Birdseye Hershey Mars Sanders. Harlan Sanders became the sole gas station owner in town by use ofguns and violence, and launched the chicken business from there. Check it out. Stay Well.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

No idea who any of those people are, which seems to be the case for many regular solvers... yes a clever theme idea, obscurity of the names made parts of this a joyless slog unfortunately.

webwinger 2:59 PM  

Thought this was a worthy effort, artfully done theme. I knew MARMEE from the recent excellent movie with Laura Dern, and of course the lovely Mrs. Cleaver. (I too remember her hilarious cameo in Airplane.) Other two actresses not hard to get from crosses, even without help from the theme. Last entry was the P in OPI/UPS: Wife knew the Down answer right away; Across I then grokked with a d’oh! and headslap. Great clue for PLUM!

@albatross shell: A TIC is neither a habit in the usual sense nor an expression of "nerves" or anxiety, but a repetitive semi-involuntary motor action of unknown neurologic origin.
@old timer: Thanks for reminder about the Firesign Theater.
@Nancy: A rumor that beverage stores might have to close in Colorado led me to pick up a case of wine this morning. Daughter carried it into the house.

My heart aches for NYC, but I’m hopeful based on the very different way this seems to be playing out in most other parts of the US that had their first cases around the same date as New York.

March has always been my least favorite month. Much more winter than spring in the Midwest, where I lived most of my life, and by then you’re sick, sick, sick and tired of it—plus much of the ground is often still covered by disgusting black ice that has been there for months. Here in Colorado, March is said to be the snowiest month of the year, but what falls one day usually melts the next. I’m cool with fresh white spring snow now.

Another bright side: In cities blessed with perfect x-word-like E-W/N-S street grids (including Chicago and Fort Collins), we get to experience “henge” sunrise and sunset effects at the equinox, and after it, the return of early and late sunlight falling on north faces of buildings after a 6-month absence.

Sadly, in the future we may have trouble thinking of March apart from memories of this plague year...

Monty Boy 3:01 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Easy-medium for me, a very pleasant solve. I’m so old, I the only themer I knew was JUNECLEAVER. Had to get the rest by crosses which were fair.

I’m glad when SPRINGROLLS around. 65 degrees in Denver today, most of last week’s foot of snow almost gone. Nice that the months are in order for SPRING. My wife’s extended family name is SPRING. My deliverer for CARRYOUT today had green hair to welcome SPRING. NOEL, YULELOG and Santa are misplaced, not in SPRING. That’s enough; I’ll quit now.

Other Random Thoughts:
It’s appropriate that ICU is next to a Grey’s Anatomy character.
I first had human before HORSE. The MANE should be on the HORSE, not below.
Did Han Solo ever say “LEIA I MISS YOU”
REV your RACE car and the RPM increases.
Hand up fore CUddles before CURLSUP
My son, the deputy, is often ONCALL, especially these days.
I liked FILCH. Long time no see.

And one more comic following yesterday’s late link:
Frazz xword II

P.S. for binge watching during the home-time, I like to read old comics from years ago at Frazz, For Better or Worse, and a new one to me, That Is Priceless (funny captions on old masters paintings).

Pamela 3:02 PM  

I usually do only Sunday puzzles, always enjoy comIng here afterward but rarely comment. Lately I have extra time on my hands (!), and something to say for a change, so here I am. I found this pretty easy, even though two of the themes were completely unfamiliar. I did have a dnf, though, because I had aLUM instead of PLUM. I Down could have been anything as far as I knew, so RaM seemed OK.

I’m struck by how many men here complained about women’s clueing being unfairly unfamiliar-too ‘women-centric!’ Really? How many years of puzzles have I slogged through that were loaded with sports trivia? Not to mention muscle cars, cars in general, engines, etc. Really! it’s about time we got a little something into the mix! Man up, guys. You can’t have it all your way all the time.

Anonymous 3:07 PM  


MSNBC is doing similar on Sunday night. Zimmern is doing his best impression of Bourdain, but just in the states. sugar supports (and other dry land mass plantings) from the Damn Gummint have been on point. a few episodes to go.

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

You can’t have it all your way all the time.

who said? our Orange Julius has pulled the scales from our eyes, showing us that all that gender neutral snowflake crap is just ... crap!! of course, he also treats all snowflakes, irregardless of sex with equal contempt.

Mammy Yokum has spoken.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

oops. hit publish too soon

add :):)

just in case the satire is opaque

GILL I. 3:31 PM can stalk me any time you want.... :-). Thank you for the really tickled my hahah bone and it reminded me of @LMS. Sweet @JC66 sent me a cheat sheet so I now have no excuses.
@Pamela. Pull up a chair and join the fray. I might nag you to get an avatar. I did to @Whatsername and she finally got one.....

Nancy 3:43 PM  

Frantic Sloth (2:02)-- Actually it was my modifier, not anyone else's. Their compliment tends to be the dropping jaw when I reveal my actual age and the comment: "In a million years, I never would have guessed it!"

A friend once said to me: "Why are you so quick to reveal your age? Where I'm from (the American South), we believe that a woman who revels her age will blab anything." And I said -- if no one knows how old you actually are, how can you ever get a compliment for looking young. I also said: If it's good enough for Gloria Steinem, it's good enough for me. I'm pretty sure that when Gloria turned 40 and everyone said, no it's not possible that she's 40, she said: "This is what 40 looks like, but how would anyone know?"

But the inability to get my hair cut will make me look my age soon enough. See if you can find ex-Sen.Barbara Boxer's most recent TV interview. I gasped when I saw it.
A PSA for Social Distancing. Shapeless, droopy, heavy-looking medium-long, totally unbecoming hair on a woman who's always had a cute and stylish and short haircut (compare with her earlier interviews). That's gonna be me in a minimum of five or six more weeks :)

Z 3:49 PM  

@albatross shell & @webwinger - Medically I don't think TICs are a sign of nervousness. However, a "nervous TIC" can also just be something one does when nervous or stressed, like a poker player's "tell."

I just saw a report that some areas in China coming out from under imposed shut-downs are seeing a spike in divorce filings. There is also anecdotal stories of lots of other activity that's going to result in a mini-Corona Baby Boom. There's also been a significant drop in carbon emissions. We probably won't recognize all the impacts of this pandemic for years, or even decades. May all our corona induced seclusion have at least a little PLUM pudding.

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

May all our corona induced seclusion have at least a little PLUM pudding.

Boccaccio - "The Decameron"
Newton - calculus

during plague isolations. may be OFL will prove to be the next Cheever?

MJB 4:04 PM  

My three sisters and I text each other in the a.m. to make sure we're all okay, and share appropriate music to keep us going. Here's one for all of us "of a certain age" and RIP Kenny Rogers:

okanaganer 4:18 PM  

Help! I don't understand Loren's avatar today. Art-[someone]-Bing???

Whatsername 4:30 PM  

@Frantic (2:42) THANK YOU!! Now tell me how you did that. @JC66 graciously sent me a cheat sheet with instructions which I attempted to apply but no luck. My fault I'm certain. As Denzel Washington said to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia . . . "explain it to me like I'm a six-year-old."

@Pamela (3:02) I have to agree with you about the disproportion of “male” vs. “female” clues. It really doesn’t matter much to me as I am both a sports fan and car enthusiast, but you make a good point. I noticed @GILL is recommending you set yourself up with a profile in the blog in order to “go blue.“ Yes, she nagged me but I have to admit she was right, plus you can skip the whole I”m not a robot business.

CDilly52 4:32 PM  

@LMS: you seem to be (self-deprecating humor to the contrary) one of the very “learned” folks here, so, while I think that “carry out” may either be the precursor to “take out,” or “carry out” may be regional, I gladly defer to your superior knowledge. These sorts of things intrigue me, though.

I grew up in Ohio where we did “carry out” if we were going to pick up pre-made food from a restaurant. A very rare occasion. Like pizza or White Castles. Nobody delivered. Fast forward to mid-70s Norman Oklahoma where folks did only “take out” or “to go” (in my experience). In the UK, when I worked in Lindon you would get a “takeaway” (spoken as one word, my favorite being a takeaway curry) and at the same time (early 90s) in Germany, you walk into the shop and place your order at the counter and the staff simply says, “Aus mit?” I only add that because I became very fond of “aus mit” sausages and pretzels (both the phrase and the divine food). Maybe I just like thinking of food. I vote regional with a hint of ERA and will bow to those far more learned than I - if it really matters.

CDilly52 4:43 PM  

Don’t know what I would do without the crossword as an outlet for my mounting stress. Continuity of local government without extra money in the county coffers is nigh impossible! Help is supposedly on the way, but not quickly enough.

Today’s light-hearted offering gave me a couple smiles. The Grey’s Anatomy was tough but as I began to tres through the downs it was gettable. Couldn’t remember the MELINDA but same story there and enjoyed the contrast of the rolls/roles rather a lot. Nothing too sparkly, but an enjoyable Hump Day!

Hang on everyone and please isolate as much as you can. My clients are having trouble with the younger employees who, upon being sent home are all over their social media that evening spouting off about being paid not to work and posting about the stores and eateries still open despite the Governor’s Declaration. Sheesh.

Cheers everyone. Keep smiling, spread the love. Or the virus and stay safe and healthy!

Joe Dipinto 5:24 PM  

@Okanager – Arts Garfunkel, Carney & Linkletter.

Richardf8 6:21 PM  

So the take away from the food poisoning episode was “no more take away from Sal Minella’s osteria?”

JC66 6:39 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 2:32 had it figured out:

Performing Arts

albatross shell 7:26 PM  

Anon 307pm
Misdirected to me, I think. But I don't mind.

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

@albatross (you wrote):
History channel has been showing The Food that Built America.

again, Zimmern is doing similar, and going after the bad actors. just like Bourdain, just not as trenchant.

albatross shell 10:03 PM  

What's eating America? Saw it advertised but did not know Zimmern at all. Haven't watched much chef tv since the Galloplng Gourmet got sober. Sundays 9 pm. Thanks. Sorry to make you post twice.

Frantic Sloth 12:37 AM  

@Whatsername 4:30pm You're welcome, but I whatever I know about it I owe to @Z who provided
this link.
The example is easy to find - only a scroll or two down the page.
Even after this I still had problems until he reminded us that we should be certain to use stupid quotes - not smart quotes. (Well, I call them stupid quotes!) I double-checked and sure enough that was the issue I was having.

If you're still confused, you can email me. Or maybe someone can explain things better than I. (I'd take that bet!)

@Nancy 3:43pm Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad you weren't shafted out of a true compliment. Given your self-description, you might want to remain indoors so the streak stays alive. 😉
People do say that "for your age" crap though!
@JC66 6:39pm - Thanks for the shout out! 😄

Loren Muse Smith 6:07 AM  

@okanaganer - my avatar is three men named Art. Hence ARTS. Sorry. It was all I could come up with!

John Hoffman 7:22 AM  

This is one of those few puzzles that I really disliked. Way too many proper names. And MARMEE?

kfja 8:57 AM  

Good job. I like your story!

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

This was so far and away my least favorite puzzle ever. Names are terrible clues because they are just trivia. When the grid is so name heavy it makes it impossible if you don't know them to infer enough letters. I knew none of the TV roles or OPI so was left chucking guesses at the paper essentially. Truly terirble.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

39 down, clue: Energy snack marketed to women"....I had all but the "L" and "A"...thought is was CUNT BAR!!

Burma Shave 10:55 AM  


JUNE won’t LEIA guy in a DIVE BAR,


spacecraft 12:15 PM  

Not my thing; too many PPP's. I knew the Alcott family was MARCH, but totally forgot MARMEE and needed every cross there. Hand up for CUddle, once having the CU. Wrote it in, so an ink mess there.

PARTII: the fill. See where I'm going? Milady does provide a slew of DOD ENTRANTS; I'll stick with FRAN Drescher. Yeah, I know, old school. Like me.

I did get a food education, as I had no idea what JICAMA (another "needed every cross" word)--or even SPRINGROLLS were. If they're gluten free I'll try 'em. Ms. Kinnel tries to elicit an EAGLE in the grid, but it won't work this time. Bending over backward to encourage distaff contributions, I give it a par.

Is there light? A team at Oxford has begun human testing on a vaccine, possibly ready for fall! If only...

thefogman 2:32 PM  

Rex is being kind because he wants to encourage gender parity in the NYT. That is laudable, but I still think he should do blind reviews I.e. without knowing who the constructor is before passing judgement on its quality or lack thereof.

leftcoaster 3:26 PM  

Great show, with an ALL-female cast, theme, and extras.

The latter including EMMA, TESSA, FRAN, LEIA, MALIA, and ENID. An extra-extra would be BRIE Larson, best known for her film performance in "Room", which was the opposite of cheesy.

With the ROLL of SPRING months, we've got a pretty clean sweep.

Very nice work, LTK.

Diana, LIW 3:39 PM  

I agree, @Foggy and @Spacey - Rex should do "blind" reviews so he doesn't seem so partisan.

Even with the PPP, I breezed thru this. Or ROLLed along.

Wish the virus would ROLL away, but alas.

Diana, Lady in Waiting

rondo 6:07 PM  

Wow, the estrogen is dripping off this puz, just like OFL's favorite movies. No lack of candidates for any award. There’s a joke about JUNECLEAVER talking to Ward about his scolding of son Theodore the previous evening, but I’ll leave it there.

Yesterday the old four corners had COOT. Today it’s GRAY GARY. Ageism.

Quite adequate.

strayling 6:56 PM  

Lots of PPP in this one, but inferrable from the crosses so no complaints from me.

I hadn't noticed the all-female cast of names until I read the comments here. Neatly done. I wonder if there's a version of Cluedo where Professor PLUM is a woman?

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