Typical John le Carré work / MON 12-14-20 / Greek goddess of the dawn / "Gangnam Style" rapper / Kendrick with 13 Grammys and a Pulitzer Prize

Monday, December 14, 2020

Constructor: Jessie Bullock & Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: About average for a Monday

THEME: WOMEN OF LETTERS (Female scholars ... or a hint to 19-, 28-, 34- and 42-Across) — The puzzle contains four theme entries that are WOMEN whose first or last names represent the sounds OF LETTERS

Theme answers:
  • ELLE MACPHERSON (Model/TV host on a record five Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers)
  • SANDRA OH ("Grey's Anatomy" actress)
  • SAMANTHA BEE ("Full Frontal" Host)
  • KAY HAGAN (North Carolina senator who unseated Elizabeth Dole)

Word of the Day: ELLE MACPHERSON (Model/TV host on a record five Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers) —

Eleanor Nancy "ElleMacpherson (/məkˈfɜːrsən/; née Gow; born 29 March 1964) is an Australian model, businesswoman, television host and actress.

She is known for her record five cover appearances for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue beginning in the 1980s, leading to her nickname "The Body", coined by Time in 1989. She is the founder, primary model, and creative director for a series of business ventures, including Elle Macpherson Intimates, a lingerie line, and The Body, a line of skin care products. She has been the host and executive producer of Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model from 2010 to 2013. She is an executive producer of NBC's Fashion Star and was the host for the first season.

As an actress, Macpherson appeared in supporting roles in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) and as Julie Madison in Batman and Robin (1997) as well as lead roles in The Edge (1997) and South Kensington (2001). She also had a recurring role on Friends and hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.

• • •

Hi all, Rachel Fabi in for Rex today. And, ok, I'll be honest, I didn't know ELLE MACPHERSON or KAY HAGAN, but that didn't slow me down too much, since the theme was pretty clear even before I hit the revealer, and it's a Monday, so most of the crosses were pretty straightforward. The solve was fairly smooth, with just a couple tough spots (again, by Monday standards), and a couple patches of fill that I could live without. 

The themers today were all women with a letter sound as either their first or last name. Although I'd probably have preferred consistency on that variable (either all first or all last names), I still appreciate this theme a lot— it's simple enough for a Monday, and the revealer WOMEN OF LETTERS [53a: Female scholars... or a hint to 19-, 28-, 34- and 42-Across] is *excellent*. It is also, coincidentally, the name of a fabulous crossword puzzle pack edited by Patti Varol and Amy Reynaldo, which solvers can receive in exchange for proof of a $10 donation to a women-centric charity. And today's puzzle is a debut for Jessie Bullock, who is herself a woman of letters, pursuing a doctorate in Government. Coincidentally, this puzzle puts the spotlight on [Female scholars] just as a(nother) national culture war is erupting around whether people with doctorates (and, in particular, one very important woman) should use the title "Doctor." (I'm not going to link to the piece, because it is garbage). In another strange twist of fate, this puzzle also coincides with the death of John LeCarré, whose work in the SPY NOVEL genre is celebrated at 34d [Typical John le Carré work].

Theme and serendipity aside, I have some issues with the fill of this puzzle (although of course clunky fill is hard to avoid when you have four theme entries and a revealer in a 15x15 puzzle!). Still, I could live without OTAY, YSLACHSHA, and, especially, HAMAS (43d: Gaza Strip governing group) which the U.S. and several other countries classify as a terrorist organization. Not getting into the history or politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it seems likely that many solvers will be upset by their inclusion in the puzzle. These entries aside, the puzzle was pretty smooth, and the representation of groups that are often underrepresented in puzzles was excellent. Alongside the four WOMEN OF LETTERS, I was glad to see Kendrick LAMAR and ALVIN Ailey.

Overall, a nice debut by Jessie Bullock (and 35th puzzle for co-constructor Ross Trudeau!). If you missed the link above, definitely consider looking into the WOMEN OF LETTERS puzzle pack. 

Signed, Rachel Fabi, Queen-for-a-Day of CrossWorld

[Follow Rachel on Twitter]
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:15 AM  

Medium, but this could be tough for a beginner. Some of the theme WOMEN are not exactly“tip of the tongue” familiar, plus ASSAM, ALVIN, AURORA....

Jesssie at Xwordinfo said it was originally intended to be a mid week puzzle, but that some of the cluing was changed to make it more Monday friendly. I’m not sure it worked.

Solid and reasonably smooth, liked it. A fine NYT debut for Jessie Bullock.

Anonymous 12:19 AM  

So what now? Are you going to tell me that HUE rhymes with blue? Please, don't waste your breath. It does not.

Joaquin 12:21 AM  

@Rachel, channeling @Rex, believes "many solvers will be upset" by the inclusion of HAMAS as an answer. She's probably correct.

There are many things I dislike. Hamas is near the top of the list which also includes most rap and rap 'artists', all Trumps, and oysters. But all these things are part of our world and, IMO, fair game to be included in a crossword puzzle.

RAD2626 12:27 AM  

Terrific puzzle with apt theme and four distinguished themers. Gigi Hadid too new, Sandra Dee too not new. Only wish the negative reply to the General could have been “No Ma’am”. Good start to the week.

Blackhat 1:09 AM  

This puzzle belongs in People Magazine, not the NYT.

ezra roenfeld 1:22 AM  

A woman whose claim to fame is flaunting her body on the cover of a sexist magazine is a woman of letters?

albatross shell 1:24 AM  

Please don't degrade the OTAY answer. Looks ugly, not a word, yadablah yadablah yadablah. Have you, finally, no shred of human decency? Just spend more time with the Rascals.

I do love flea circuses and their history. I can barely envision the glories of an EARWIG BALLET!

I do find find the sighting of a ROO BOAST crossing a bit ominous.


Frantic Sloth 3:21 AM  

From late yesterday
@GILL When you say "I agree on omitting Streep"...does that mean you agree with me that she should not have been omitted, or with the heretics who think she should be omitted? If you want to hear her sing something, watch this clip of the Postcards from the Edge finale.

@Z 🤣 You should quit while you're behind, my friend. 😘

As for today's crossword..,

Nice Mondee. Cute theme, easy solve, decent fill.
But, it's a real "girl grid", so just how are we supposed to take it seriously, all reeking of estrogen and chick juice and stuff??

WOMENOFLETTERS? Never heard of such a thing. It's a fantasy, because letters? Words? Guy stuff.

Shirley I jest. It was a treat to watch the patriarchy take it on the chin for once, says I.

And why can't I read ABBA CARL CLUE without thinking of Fred Flintstone?

One minor nit:
SANDRAOH hasn't been on Grey's Anatomy for years. Meanwhile, she has been starring in Killing Eve going on 4 seasons now. Try to keep up with the important things in life, will ya?


Another Anon 5:00 AM  

16A rhymes with blue. Maybe that's close enough for Monday. And so does 41A.

Anonymous 5:02 AM  

"No Ma'am" doesn't fit.

Z 5:06 AM  

Speaking of serendipity, ABBA at 1A made me feel Streepy all over.

I flew threw this BLUE HUE puzzle in what felt like record time. Hard not to love a puzzle with ELLE MACPHERSON in it. She was (probably still is) my favorite Aussie. KAte fAGAN, ran temporary interference on the late KAY HAGAN and I was wondering why Adele and Cher weren’t cluing alto today, but those were barely hiccoughs in my race to the finish. I feel like you have to get up pretty early to have both EOS and AURORA in the puzzle, so I see @jae’s point about some of the fill not being beginner friendly.

Dear God, that editorial. The writer has been an embarrassment to my gender since 1970 and it’s hard to believe anyone would publish anything he writes, but the WSJ is trying to defend it. That the WSJ editorial page is racist and sexist is hardly news, but they are usually subtler about it. I’m pretty sure it generated a thousand new think pieces on its underlying sexism and racism.

So, let’s see, our Meryl Streep discussion, John le Carré’s passing, the WSJ kerfuffle... About the only current event from yesterday’s news this puzzle missed referencing was the Cleveland Baseball Team about to get rid of its racist mascot. Not bad for an innocent Monday puzzle.

Anonymous 5:10 AM  

The clue for SANDRA OH does not say current actress so no problem.

OffTheGrid 5:51 AM  

BUCKWHEAT, an interesting little video.

ChuckD 6:24 AM  

Thought I had opened TV Guide or some airline magazine here. Strong basic theme - but just a trivia fest of a puzzle. Liked the SHE HER inclusion but it couldn’t overcome all the other garbage. Would have liked to see Rex’s take on a truly racist organization as compared with some moron senator from Utah who just talks a good game.

Not a NYT quality puzzle.

SouthsideJohnny 6:38 AM  

Probably on the difficult side for a Monday - with all of the themers being PPP and a quadruple stack (1,12,16,19 Across) of trivia coming right out of the gate in the NW. Throw in a few references to mythology, the off-putting HAMAS and the two non-words crossing each other OTAY and PSY and that ends up being a lot of gunk for a Monday. Probably not the constructors’ fault - seems like the editing may have failed them on this one though (not much of a surprise there, lol).

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

Some solvers are upset by the inclusion of Israel in a puzzle, and some governments classify as "terrorist" a country that assassinates the scientists of another sovereign country...: HAMAS is a legitimate entry by any standard that includes Israel!

Hungry Mother 7:30 AM  

A bit on the slow side today. For some reason I was going for Amy Poehler before SAMANTHABEE. My wife and I are binging on Grey’s Anatomy, so Christina’s actor was easy. Even so, way more names than I want. More wordplay please.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

Is it possible that coincidence isn't at play here?

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

I know a lot of people with doctorates and PHDs. None of them calls themselves doctors outside of professional circles.

bocamp 7:48 AM  

@Jessie & Ross, Thank you for this Mon. offering to get the week started. Liked the "Women of letters" theme.

Seemed harder than my av. time indicated. Just not on my wave-length, but still enjoyable.

New: "weirds" (ac); "brulee".

Hazy: "Lamar"; "Samantha Bee"; "Kay Hagen"; "Alvin".

Fav clues/answers: "fried"; "clue"; "weirds"; "ornate"; "hue"; "trove"; "brulee"; "Gatorade"; "Madam"; "tangents" "meshed"; "Roo".

WOTD: "Roo"

LOTD: Swedish

SOTD: "ABBA" - I Have a Dream

FOTD: crème brûlée

"Swan Lake"

Maybe in four or eight years the US will have a "Madam" President. :)

y.d. p.g. -1

Peace Salam Paix ειρήνη Fred ειρήνη Pax 평화 Frieden🕊

Guilherme Gama 7:50 AM  

How many days in advance are these puzzles designed? This couldn't possibly be a response to the aforementioned oped, could it?

kitshef 7:51 AM  

Not really sure that one-term US Senators are fair game for a Monday.

Theme definitely helped with the solve today – and I liked it.

Interesting to see ABBA at 1A after the late Mamma Mia discussion yesterday.

TJS 7:53 AM  

Hue doesn't rhyme with Blue ? Who knew ?

There's a Merle Streep reference in the puzzle? Otay.

If what is hitting the D.R. right now is turning into snow when it hits the Northeast U.S., get the shovels and sleds ready.

Believe Women 7:55 AM  

@Z - They also missed Lindsay Boylan’s accusation of sexual harassment by Andrew Cuomo.

albatross shell 7:57 AM  

@Anon 502am
I think the point Sloth was making was the clue could have gained "currency" being about Killing Eve, not accuracy.

GILL I. 8:01 AM  

Well I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to think of this one. I mean should I clap and yell yay it's all about WOMEN? We have a model and actress, a host and a senator, and if you take their "letters" they come out spelling LOBK? Or ELLEOHBEEKAY? I suddenly want to sing B I N G O.
Not sure this was Monday material insofar as toughness goes. I rate my Mondays thinking of newbies wanting to get their toes wet. This one may have cause a bit of frost bite.
@Frantic....I meant that Streep probably should not have been omitted. BUT....she's received so many acolytes that maybe the torch was being passed on to some others? I know she's a trained singer but to me, she sings out of her nose. I think even I sound better when I belt a few out in the shower. My pups (who follow me everywhere) can attest to that..... I'm glad she chose acting as her career because that is something she does VERY well. (I can't act worth shit) even though I starred in my high school play as "Kate" in Taming of the Shrew." I think my teacher might've been drunk that day when she cast me.

GILL I. 8:12 AM  

Damn autocorrect and its Communist leanings. I meant accolades...... Well, maybe Streep is assisting the celebrant in a religious service....?

GHarris 8:16 AM  

Did the puzzle early last night and couldn’t spot the theme. This morning as I lie awake it dawned on me. I’m writing this before reading Rex’ write up. I’m sure he’ll say the theme was weak, unconnected, inconsistent and unnecessary but absolve it as being a Monday.
The Big Brat is still waging his refuse to lose war, terrified by the impending loss of his immunity from prosecution. But it’s going to happen notwithstanding his misuse of the pardon power.

TTrimble 8:16 AM  

Hear, hear. Wish Rex would stop complaining about certain names appearing. (Yes, I know it's Rachel Fabi today.)

(I'm not big on rap or rap artists either, but I do know who Kendrick LAMAR is. He's definitely a cut above your average rap artist.)

Bad start to the day, not getting the happy music and taking *forever* to track down the misdeed (a typo in SANDRA OH -- OH, OH). Had drawn a blank on RKO. Put in BulkS instead of BEEFS. Blanked on ALVIN.

WOMEN OF LETTERS. I wouldn't have said any of women named merit that description, or at least that's not their claim to fame, so I'm guessing it's supposed to be a cutesy way of saying nothing more than "Women of this crossword puzzle (which is composed of letters)". Otherwise, I don't get it.

And yeah, the CLUE for HUE is suboptimal. OTAY, then.

MKV 8:25 AM  

This was closer to best than average for us, interesting to see the general theme of it being harder in the other direction in comments. Liked BRACE and LIMP adjacent, slightly sad I didn't even see the clue for SHA, and as a tea nerd nice to see ASSAM pop up.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Come on! Everybody knows exactly what kind of person needs to be called Doctor when they don't have an M.D. It's funny and sad. The WSJ editorial is dead on.

Whatsername 8:39 AM  

Congratulations to Ms. Bullock on her NYT debut. Maybe it was me, but this seemed hard for a Monday. The basic premise of the theme was fine but it was certainly an odd mix. Three famous and widely recognizable women in the entertainment industry and then bizarrely, a little known one-term Senator. That last one just seemed totally out of place and disconnected from the rest of the puzzle. The first three would have sufficed.

Thanks to Rachel for guest hosting today. I read the article she refers to about a “debate“ over whether the title of Doctor should be used by people of letters, in particular one famous and widely recognizable female scholar. I found it to be arrogantly postulated and condescending, the very definition of mansplaining.

But speaking of smart women, here’s a recent tweet from our newly elected VP: “I may be the first, but I will not be the last. It’s on those of us leading the way to leave the door more open than it was when we walked in.”

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Note the "OR" in the revealer. Letters has two meanings. Women of letters-scholars. Women of letters-women with a name that has the sound of a letter.

GBurnett 8:45 AM  

Whoopi Goldberg said Dr. Jill Biden should be surgeon general.

Unknown 8:47 AM  

I may be wrong but I think many female officers use "sir" in the military

Nancy 8:59 AM  

Normally I don't like themes built around proper names, but the wordplay of the revealer endeared this one to me. And I bet that SANDRA and SAMANTHA and ELLE would just love being known as WOMEN OF LETTERS. I'll bet no one has ever called them that before.

Were they known to me? Sort of. I wouldn't know ELLE if I felle over her, but her name is sort of out there in the zeitgeist. SAMANTHA I know. KAY -- the name rings a vague bell. And I heard about SANDRA OH years and years ago because my niece was in the dorm with her at Oberlin. I think they were pretty good friends.

GATORADE brings back memories. It was 1962 and I was spending the summer -- an inexpensive, outdoorsy one, filled with tennis and swimming and no classes -- on the Berkeley campus. (I recommend this as a summer vacation to all New Yorkers). I had just played tennis, was enormously thirsty, and some sales rep was standing by the courts next to some enormous orange vat. "This is a new product: GATORADE. It not only will quench your thirst; it will restore all the electrolytes you've lost." I took one swallow of the awful stuff and gagged. It was oily and viscous -- thick enough to completely coat my tongue, the roof of my mouth and the back of my throat. "This product will last for like the next five minutes," I thought.

Wrong. It's still here almost 60 years later. They must have changed the formula -- they simply must have! But I have never once had another swallow in all those 60 years.

One big nit. BLUE does not rhyme with HUE (52A) -- it just doesn't. I would have been kicked out of the BMI Composers and Lyricists Workshop for such a grievous error.

pmdm 9:07 AM  

Whenever I see Ross's name, I expect a puzzle with a high amount of PPP I don't care about. I did not feel let down today. Not a puzzle I would publish on a Monday since if a new solver is not on the puzzle's wavelength they might not come back for more. Then again, foir a solver who is ...

RooMonster 9:08 AM  

Hey All !
Is Jessie Bullock related to Sandra? I like me some Sandra Bullock...

That creepiness aside, thought this a good puz. My nit (have to have one, otherwise life wouldn't be complete 😊), is the Quite Large black square count. 44 of 'em! Yow. Normal maximum is 38. Thus endeth today's nits.

Knew the WOMEN except for KAY HAGAN. Non-political follower here. It makes my hair wriggle trying to keep up with all the political shenanigans that go on. Didn't know RKO either, but the Revealer helped me with that last letter entered K. Then... Happy Music!

@albatross 1:24
LOL! Not too big of a BOAST on ROO being in puz! 😁 Also a wave to me (sorta) in the Mini.

Is the AFLAC duch male or female?

Three F's

mmorgan 9:08 AM  

@anon 8:34 —. I’m sure that Dr Henry Kissinger and (if he were alive) Dr Zbigniew Brzezinski would agree with you.

Good puzzle — I found it tough for a Monday.

RooMonster 9:10 AM  

"Things we're thankful for"

The Return of Toilet Paper to our grocery store shelves. Let's try to keep it that way. (Paper towels/napkins/disinfectant stuff, too.)


G. Greene 9:11 AM  

Saying that John le Carré wrote spy novels is almost akin to saying that Michelangelo painted ceilings.

May he rest in peace.

Rock Steady 9:16 AM  

Is there an alternate pronunciation for hue besides "(h)yo͞o/" ? For blue besides "/blo͞o/". They look and sound almost identical to me. The anti-rhymers are pretty adamant - perhaps one of you could enlighten us ?

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

Reality check. Despite Nancy's claims she certainly didn't have any Gatorade in 1962. No one did. The first swig, by most folk's reckoning, came in October of 1965. And it wasn't where anywhere near Berkeley's campus. Rather it was on Florida's campus (Florida gators get it?)
As for the product being viscous? Moore hooey. It's water with some sugar dissolved in it. It may be called a lot of things but neither thick nor oily is among them.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  


My point exactly. You cite two of the most self-important, pompous, wrong-headed empty suits of the last century.

TTrimble 9:29 AM  

Heh. Maybe it's MD's who are more anxious to be known as "doctors". It would be interesting to find out, how often you would be corrected addressing an MD as Mister (let's say Mr. here, because I'll bet it's mostly men who are anxious about this type of thing) as versus when a professor is addressed as Mister.

(Somewhere I heard that at Harvard, every faculty member is Mr. or Mrs. or Ms., because it's automatically assumed that a faculty member has the degree. Now that's elitism! But I don't know how much truth there is to that.)

From an etymological point of view -- "doctor" means "teacher" -- most physicians aren't "doctors". From that point of view, I would sooner apply the term to a teacher with a PhD who is engaged in and professes his or her scholarship.

Anyway, most people who received their PhD worked very hard for it. Address them as they would prefer, or as the default, as you would an MD. Anything else, and you're just being an asshole.

Nancy 9:33 AM  

@Rock Steady: HUE rhymes with "cue" (or "queue"), "you", "few" and "pew".

BLUE rhymes with "true", "flu, "glue" and "crew".

Don't take it personally, @RS, because I just know you're a very nice person, but if your ear can't tell the difference, you have no future as either a [traditional rhyming] poet or a lyricist.

Z 9:55 AM  

Both the phonetic pronunciation and the audio seem to indicate a rhyme. I have two hypotheses. The first is that mild sound before the U sound (represented by “y” by M-W) is causing people to hear it as a different sound. Second is, of course, regional variation of pronunciation. I’m with Merriam-Webster on team rhyme.

@Believe Women - Isn’t that more of a today headline as opposed to a yesterday headline? Color me not surprised.

@Giilherme Gama - I think it is typical for constructors to know a week ahead of time when their puzzles are actually going to run. It is complete coincidence that this happened to run the day after that piece ran.

@TTrimble - Just in case, ELLE = L, BEE = B, OH = O, and KAY = K, so they are all WOMEN whose names are made up OF common “spellings” of LETTERS.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

OK. HUE rhymes with FEW. Blue rhymes with SHOE.

Sami 10:02 AM  

So hue rhymes only with skew and blue only rhymes with flew. I get it now.

I have to re-up my puzzle subscription, after stopping my home delivery of the times, in order to afford some other important seasonal obligations. I will try to refinance my house in order to be able to keep doing the puzzle every morning, however...I'll be damned if I will call to talk to the NYT customer service again. I feel for customer service people and I try to make each call somehow tolerable for both parties. It never works with the NYT people. They lie. They manipulate. They put me on hold for hours. I can't stand them.

And they fail to effect any change I request. I got my times in the drive yesterday, after cancelling my subscription. Perhaps they are trying to reinstate me after I cancelled? My deliverer is on authopilot? And this is somehow my problem.

Ernonymous 10:03 AM  

Yeah Buckwheat was famous and loved, but he had to use a separate Colored restroom most of his life.

CS 10:05 AM  

@Rock Steady

I think the issue is the lack of the "y" sound so Hue sounds like "Yoo" and with Blue it's more like "oo".
I'm sure there are etymologists out there who can better explain.
That said, this didn't upset me particularly.

As a grammar nerd, I was delighted to see the correct use of the word "comprise" in 1A.


Tori Sandifer 10:07 AM  

I got stuck in the SW corner - I had GOP instead of REP, and ALTO instead of DIVA (a word I associate more with Mariah Carey than Adele - and one with a negative connotation I wouldn't expect to see in a WOMEN OF LETTERS puzzle, but that's me being a nitpicky feminist) so it took me a while to sort through it, not knowing RKO. But overall, I really liked this one!

Ernonymous 10:07 AM  

@anon 8:34 the fact is that she is a college professor. In my colleges most professors went by Dr. I could see if she was not a professor, but that is her title at her job.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

What are you going on about?! William Thomas Jr., the actor who played Buckwheat, was born, raised and lived in L.A. There were no Jim Crow laws there which would've necessitated "colored " restrooms. You don't know what you're talking about.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Try this perspective. Are HUE and WHO homophones?

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Your post underscores my point precisely. Hers is an academic degree, and in an academic setting it is fitting, proper and courteous to use the title Doctor. Outside the academic setting, it has more than a whiff of self- indulgent neediness. By the way, she is no longer a college professor. when she returns to campus I'll; be glad to call her doctor, Until, then, nah.

kitshef 10:25 AM  

@Anon 10:13 no, but they rhyme. Put in me in the clue/blue/hue/stew/you/moo all rhyme camp.

Lewis 10:26 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week
(in order of appearance):

1. Ivory, but not ebony (4)
2. It hits close to home (3)
3. A constant celebration (2) (3)
4. Something about which you might say, "It's good!" (5)(5)
5. It requires some assembly (6)


jae 10:26 AM  

@Frantic - IMBD lists SANDRA OH as a Grey’s cast member in 2020. They might be wrong as I stopped watching when they ran over George with a bus, so I have no idea who is still on the show.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

An old man wrote an opinion piece (one I happen to disagree with). So what ? The pearl clutching has been epic.

Karl Grouch 10:36 AM  

I've never heard the hypocorism "Bru" for Bruce Lee.
Surely 3D must be wrong

F. Stanton 10:37 AM  

One of the really fine memoirs by an American from the Vietnam War is CBS correspondent John Laurence's "The Cat from Hué; A Vietnam War Story""

So there's that..

Crimson Devil 10:42 AM  

Good to see Aussies ROO and ELLE, as well as shoutouts to BU-WHEAT et al., le Carre (RIP) and Dr. Jill, Kiddo !

Nancy 10:45 AM  

No, @GILL, I'm the one who can't act my way out of a wet paper bag. You, obviously, CAN act. Or at least you once could. People who can't act don't get cast as Kate in "The Taming of the Shrew". (Rhymes with "blue").

Does every high school put on "Shrew"? Ours did, too. Having almost single-handedly sabotaged our previous play, "Boy With a Cart" because stage fright made me improbably want to laugh while delivering my only line: "Cushman, your mother is dying. She is calling to you from the woods," (and maybe I succeeded in stifling it and maybe I didn't), I was given a non-speaking role in "Shrew". I was one of the two servants "serving" Kate as Petruchio bellows something like: "No this is not fit for my wife, she shall not eat this. No she will not eat this either" as he systematically starves her. If you remember "Shrew", he throws the food back at the servants as he does this. In our case, the food was made out of hard plastic.

During every rehearsal, Andrea, the girl playing Petruchio (it was an all girls' high school at the time) missed me completely with the hard plastic. Then, knowing what a complete dud of an actor I was, and evidently determined to do something about it, she unexpectedly pelted me hard in the shin on the night of the performance. It really hurt, and I shrieked or screamed or yelped or something.

It was surely my most convincing moment onstage in my short and undistinguished "career" as a high school actress. But I refused to speak to Andrea for at least two months.

mathgent 10:47 AM  

I hope that those of you who get the Sunday newspaper noticed the twelve-page Puzzle section. Lots of good stuff including Building Blocks by Will Shortz, a lovely word puzzle.

Carola 10:51 AM  

I'm with those who thought that this would be an uninviting puzzle for newer solvers, but perhaps that was partly because I found it uninviting myself. Too much work to get L, O, B, and K.

Whatsername 10:55 AM  

@Z (5:06) That WSJ rebuttal? Not helping. “Why go to such lengths to highlight [condemn] a single op-ed on a relatively minor issue?” Okay so why go to the extent of writing an op-ed if it’s only a minor issue? And if they simply wanted to debate that point in general, why turn it into a personal critique of Jill Biden? Then they try to defend Epstein’s use of “kiddo” by claiming “the criticism was misplaced, since Mr. Biden has also used the term in reference to his wife.” More patronizing rot! Thanks for posting the link though as I might’ve missed it otherwise.

@Anon (8:34) It wasn’t the op-ed’s position on usage of the title which was the subject of criticism so much as it was the overall tone of the piece itself. You clearly agree with their position, and I’m not saying you’re wrong; but aside from that, there was nothing “dead on” about the WSJ’s snide disrespect directed squarely at the woman who is about to become the First Lady of the United States.

As far as the argument goes, @TTrimble said it quite nicely at 9:29 - “most people who received their PhDs worked very hard for it. Address them as they would prefer, or as the default, as you would an MD.” In other words, a simple matter of courtesy.

@Roo (9:10) Oh yay, oh yay! Yippee for TP! This time last year, who would ever have thought that finding a package of Charmin on the shelf would be reason to celebrate? Let us all give thanks from the bottoms ... of our hearts.

TTrimble 11:01 AM  

Oh, duh. I missed that. Thanks.

What? 11:02 AM  

Well, if she knows what “flaunting” means, then she gets a pass.

What? 11:13 AM  

Shortz typically sits on puzzles and publishes them when he sees fit, e.g. Le Carre’s death.

The Joker 11:15 AM  

There's no Rhyme nor Reason to many of today's comments.

RooMonster 11:21 AM  

I'm Team BLUE and HUE rhyme. All the examples that everyone gave, they All rhyme equally.
Unless you're saying HUE is with a W sound, and BLUE is not? Or vice versa?
You're all (AS AM I [😋]) reading (speaking?) way too much into this. Next thing you'll tell me, is nothing rhymes with "orange".

RooMonster Blue ROO Guy

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

I disagree kiddo. Not even Sharp feels the need to be called Doctor hereabouts. You know, cause here he's a PhD not a doctor. On campus, well, that's another matter.

Nancy 11:28 AM  

How did the WSJ and Jill Biden get into today's blog? I mean I know there's a "thread", but I don't know how and where it started or, more to the point, why.

When I saw the "WSJ op-ed" mentioned earlier (no reference to Jill), I Googled "controversial WSJ Op-Ed" -- having no idea what I was going to find. I found out they don't want to give her the title of "Dr.". Wouldn't ever have known about it, I suppose. I don't read the WSJ and I haven't seen the subject discussed on any of the TV news programs.

It's amazing how many controversies arise on this blog -- the initial cause of which I find untraceable. Does it possibly have something to do with KAY HAGEN :)

Sir Hillary 11:34 AM  

Super bummed about losing John Le Carre, my favorite author of all time. But nice to him referenced again in a puzzle, not long after his creation George Smiley got the same treatment.

I loved "The Little Rascals" as a kid. But OTAY made me squeamish, kind of like a reference to "Amos & Andy" would.

Given all the things to care about in this world, I can't believe anyone gives a crap what Jill Biden calls herself.

bocamp 11:35 AM  

@Frantic Sloth 3:21 AM

Thx for the Streep vid. Very nice singing voice! had no idea. :)

@OffTheGrid 5:51 AM

Thank you for the video; I didn't know the story of Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas, a true American hero. "Otay"! :)

@GILL I. 8:01 AM

Also got LOBK? was looking for something that made sense. LOL

@RooMonster 9:10 AM 👍

@Lewis 10:26 AM 👍

Jessie, Ross, Jeff comments at "XWord Info": here.

Jenni Levy comments at "Diary of a Crossword Fiend": here.

Re: "blue" vs "hue", does not the final sound of the diphthong validate the rhyme clue?

- 12

Peace Salam Paix ειρήνη Fred ειρήνη Pax 평화 Frieden🕊

old timer 11:38 AM  

Incredibly slow for a Monday and not entertaining.

But I didn't come here to comment on the solve, I am here to express my incredible admiration for Fred Piscop, whose Split Decisions was in yesterday's special Puzzle section. Way more difficult than the usual monthly offering in the Magazine. Quite a three-pipe problem, as Holmes would say. And yet, as Holmes also said, "It is strange how the brain controls the brain." On my fifth or sixth stab at the puzzle, all of a sudden every difficult corner fell into place. Why? Because my subconscious had been working on it all along. I was very proud of myself, at the end.

Where's Lewis? 11:44 AM  

When I filled in the NW and had ABBA, ACCESS, BALLET, ALEE, ELLE, SEE, and STEED, I thought the theme was going to be double letters.

Masked and Anonymous 11:54 AM  

M&A is outraged -- outraged, I say … that U Thant's lovely sister Yu was snubbed by this MonPuz theme … if she indeed happens to exist. snort

staff weeject pick: SEE. Letter soundalike. A Weeject of Letters.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Game with Mrs. White and Professor Plum} = CLUE.

Sparklers: SHEHER [goes well with the theme]. GATORADE. SPYNOVEL [nice John le Carre nod]. BRULEE [yum].
Ow de Speration sparklers: OTAY. WEIRDS.

Puz has @AnoaBob's golden word count of 74. Played out a bit feisty at our house, for a MonPuz. Didn't help that M&A only knew half the themer gal's names -- lost precious nanoseconds, but glad to know em, now.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Jessie Bee and Ross Tee. With congratz to Jessie on her half-debut -- nice letter selections on yer half-puzgrid, J.B.

Masked & AnonymoUUs

Per @RP's urgent plea from yesterday for a Movies of Letters puz:


Z 12:11 PM  

@Nancy - Fabi mentioned the doctorate kerfuffle in the write-up and I commented on it and linked to the NYT article about the WSJ stupefyingly inane explanation.

@What? 11:13 - As I understand it the schedule is set at least a week ahead and is pretty much impossible to alter once set for what ever newspaper bureaucratic reasons.

@Whatsername - The intellectual depth over there is apparently measured in millimeters. I have since learned that the writer’s highest degree is a Bachelors - his doctorate is Honorary. 😂😂😂😂😂 Given his history of homophobia and misogyny it does make me wonder what sort of institution would give him an honorary doctorate.

@Karl Grouch - BRU LEE 🤣😂🤣😂🤣

@Tori Sandifer - The second definition over at Merriam-Webster is a usually glamorous and successful female performer or personality. I know this because I had the same reaction as you. The first definition is the one we both thought of.

@Sami - I’ve never had problems with NYT customer service people. I think lots of times it is just luck of the draw. Delivery people are generally hired by outside contractors and where I live it is a crapshoot. I went three years with vacation stops not working. Why? Who knows, but my account was always credited even though the paper kept piling up. If I were that sort of person I probably could have gotten the paper for essentially free just by scheduling fake vacation stops.

@TTrimble - We’ve all been there.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Whoa, whoa, whoa, check out the graduate of Kalamazoo insulting the WSJ editorial board's credentials. Fantastic!!!!

Joe Dipinto 12:22 PM  

Cause it's witchcraft
Wicked witchcraft
And although I know it's strictly taboo
When you arouse the need in me
My heart says yes indeed in me
Proceed with what you're leadin' me to
It's such an ancient pitch
But one I wouldn't switch
Cause there's no nicer witch than you

Someone tell Carolyn Leigh she has to rewrite the last line because it doesn't rhyme.

ow a paper cut 12:36 PM  

Unfamiliar with Kay Hagen. Otherwise a typical Monday level of difficulty.

Frantic Sloth 12:39 PM  

@GILL 801am Ah. Thanks for clearing that up. All valid points, but doesn't everyone think they sing better in the shower, wet pups or no wet pups? 😘

@jae 1026am You could be right, but I would imagine guest appearances would be the extent of it. Having rarely watched "Grey's" (mostly because every time I tried, something would always put me off) I'm no expert. I just know Killing Eve is both a better show (IMHO) and more current (Hi, @albatross shell! - yes, you are correct).

@Karl Grouch 1036am 👍🤣🤣

@bocamp 1135 am Thanks for watching. While I realize singing isn't her main talent, I remember being gobsmacked because it was the first time I'd heard her sing. Perhaps the "surprise!" factor had a lot to do with it.

@Z 1211pm "Given his history of homophobia and misogyny it does make me wonder what sort of institution would give him an honorary doctorate." I should think the obvious answer would be Trump University. It was actually painful to capitalize that.

Just for the record, I'm not going to reveal where I stand on the blue/hue rhyme controversy, but I'll just say that I know I'm right and that's good enough for me.

@J-Dip 1222pm I might tell Carolyn Leigh, but I'm not dying to do it. She's dead.

Speaking of condescension, I suppose there are more obnoxious things to say than "you don't know what you're talking about" while trying to have a discussion, but I'm not sure I know any that can be printed here. I'm sure there's an anon out there with the answer.

Joe Dipinto 12:47 PM  

@F-Slo – oh well, too late to fix it now. They'll just have to pull all the recordings out of circulation.

Nancy 1:04 PM  

Aha, @Z. Thanks for providing the blog thread.

The "Dr." kerfuffle holds some mild interest for me because both my sister-in-law and my niece have (non-medical) PhDs and both use or have used "Dr" professionally.

My sister-in-law was in the field of education as a teacher, an administrator and a school principal. She used Dr. while she worked; I doubt anyone now addresses envelopes to her that way -- now that she's retired. Old articles about her, though, would still refer to her as Dr.

My niece, a full professor, definitely uses it in her professional life.

Knowing how hard and for how long each of them worked to get their respective PhDs I can well understand why they would want the honor of the title that they sweated bullets for. But way down deep, there's a small part of me that finds it, if nothing else, confusing. When I call someone "Doctor", I really do expect them to be able to treat my nasal congestion.

TTrimble 1:12 PM  

The "kiddo" is particularly obnoxious, whether it comes from the WSJ troll Epstein or from an Anonymous troll here. Obnoxious primarily because it's just some low-class way of getting a rise out of people. (Ooh -- I'm going to own the libtards! Watch this!)

I smell misogyny as well. Would Epstein ever call a man "kiddo" in a national publication? Doubtful. Did Epstein make a special point of it when (before the scandal) people referred to Bill Cosby as Dr. Bill Cosby, in contexts where his doctorate is not particularly relevant? (BC did get a doctorate in education in the 70's; I'm not talking about an honorary doctorate.) Maybe he did, but I'll wager not.

Question: did Jill Biden make an unsolicited request to be addressed by the title Dr? Or is this just a courtesy that other people choose to apply, or not? If it's the latter, then what's it to him? Doesn't he have more important things to think about?

Cheap publicity.

Aketi 1:21 PM  

@Nancy, your acting story made my day.

Seems as if one of the anonymice has an inferiority complex about their own education given how much time they spent critiquing the use of the term Doctor for anyone besides physicians, when it seems that the use of the term in academia predates its use for physicians. Just double checked my diploma and the word “Doctor” didn’t disappear from my diploma just because I’m no longer working in academia. Unlike a license which needs to be renewed, doctorates are for life, and some of us earned them the hard way. The WSJ Doctorate-dissing Op-Ed piece and the Op-Ed defense of that piece were so ludicrous that I might consider repurposing the paper they were printed on to compensate for a shortage of another type of paper.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

@TTrimble: in answer to your question her Twitter handle is Dr. Jill Biden. It’s pretty pathetic but, yeah, why that guy cares is beyond me too.

jberg 1:30 PM  

Nice puzzle, with a revealer that really worked. I do find myself getting annoyed by clues like that for 1A that provide all sorts of more-or-less esoteric information when all you need is "Swedish pop group," plus the number of blanks. Sure, there are probably other 4-letter Swedish pop groups, but you're not going to find them in the puzzle, unless it's meant to be really hard.

As for the Epstein column: first of all, most MDs don't call themselves "doctor" socially either. Second, the guy might have had a point in the 1950s; when I was at the U. of Wisconsin (1960-64) faculty were called "D." only if they a) had a doctorate, and b) had an academic rank lower than assistant professor, e.g. lecturer or instructor. Once you got that magic word in your title, you were called "professor" (unless you were in the German-speaking world, where you'r be "Professor-Doctor." But that all changed in the 1970s, when people in every field were called "Dr." if they had a doctoral degree, and anyone teaching a college course was called "professor" regardless of actual title. That's been the reality for decades now, however unhappy it makes Epstein. As for his snobbery about how a doctorate should require Greek or Latin, today you have to know a lot more math than you did back then.

Or to sum it up, the guy is ridiculous.

TTrimble 1:31 PM  

Hee -- my mom writes letters to me with "Dr" and my full name on the envelope. It's super-sweet. I guess my mommy is proud of me. :-)

My family used to be part of a play-reading group: it was four families who were friends with each other who would get together once a month for a dinner party, and then assemble in the living room afterwards to act out a play together. The kids would get involved too. (So much fun -- my parents and their friends knew how to live in style.) Anyway, Dr. B was a neurosurgeon and Dr. M was a professor of theology, and Dr. B had some fun inviting M to the hospital one day, introducing him to his colleagues and associates all around as Dr. M, and they accorded him with all the usual deference. The angry betrayed looks on their faces when it came out that Dr. M was in fact "not a real doctor" -- and Dr B dying of laughter!

Anonymous 1:33 PM  


Cosby was a lot of things. Many pretty bad. But I defy you to find a single instance in which he asked to be called Doctor. Biden has asked for that title to be used. Your argument is weak.

Frantic Sloth 1:34 PM  

@Aketi 121pm 👍👍👍👍👍

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

If you can prove you cancelled yesterday you will not have to pay for any subsequent deliveries. If they try to bill you just submit your proof of date of cancellation. Good luck.

Teedmn 1:40 PM  

I'm with @Nancy, that themes based on people's names don't usually hit the spot for me, but today's does just fine. I had to search a bit for HAGAN but everyone else was a gimme. (I'm also with @Nancy on the ickiness of Gatorade. I wouldn't call it oily so perhaps the formula has changed, but not necessarily been improved.)

@Joe Dipinto 12:22, good one, and happy belated birthday. I hope the Special Puzzle Section was all that. My co-worker who gets the paper version forgot to bring it in for me to get a look at it.

Jessie Bullock, congratulations on the NYTimes debut and thanks to you and Ross.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  


Whatsername 1:48 PM  

@Ttrimble (1:12) For the second time today, very well said. And your comment about misogyny coming into play is also on point. Another excellent example is Martin Luther King Jr. whose field of study was theology, not medicine. Yet he was almost universally referred to as Doctor. Does the fact he was an ordained minister make a difference? I’m not being sarcastic here because I don’t know the answer. In any case, I doubt anyone would ever have been so crass as to refer to him as “kiddo.”

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Nope. King was almost always refereed to as Reverend King until very recently. and that's no coincidence. The editors who control news rooms today all value the PhD part more than they value the reverend part. But King was first a man of God. And he invoked the divine to underpin the philosophical reasons for equality.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

I know a lot of people with doctorates and PHDs. None of them calls themselves doctors outside of professional circles.

Dr. Phil???

Sauce for goose is sauce for gander 2:07 PM  

From Washington Post re Sebastian Gorka: “Gorka gets his title on Fox News and in the Daily Caller, Conservative Review and Gateway Pundit. But mainstream news outlets generally refuse to attribute the "Dr." prefix to anyone who is not a medical doctor.”
Also-“My feeling is if you can't heal the sick, we don't call you doctor," Bill Walsh, The Washington Post's late, great copy chief, told the Los Angeles Times in 2009.

TTrimble 2:21 PM  

Hm, okay. I did leave open the possibility that maybe she's been asking people to address her as "Dr". (I'm not sure btw that putting "Dr" as part of her Twitter handle counts as doing that, but maybe she's been asking more explicitly as well, for purposes of how she wants to be addressed in public.)

Seems to me that such a thing would merit little more than a shoulder shrug.

Epstein is still a condescending, presumptuous jerk for writing that.

Anyway, gotta get back to work.

GILL I. 2:24 PM  

@Nancy...Ay. I never had stage fright...I just mangled Shakespeares English and I always forgot my lines. I remember one particular scene where confronted with Kate's FatherI drew a complete blank. I was good at improvisation. It went something like this: Call me your daughter you Babtist? You want me to marry that jackass?" Speaking of....@Aketi...you can repurpose the WSJ paper.... just use it for kitty litter.

XF 2:25 PM  

@7:38 wrote he/she knows a lot of people with PHDs not that he’s never heard of anyone. Maybe he/she doesn’t know Dr. Phil.

pabloinnh 2:33 PM  

Late to the party because of a rare busy day and having to get out of the house for a while. The puzzle was fine, a little on the sticky side for a Monday, but the commentary has been worth the price of admission.

Back in the 60's the minister of the church next door preferred to be called "Dr. Hayward". This was an absolute first in my little hick town as he was not an MD. Then I wound up going to a pretty good college and there were many "Dr.'s" who were not MD's, who knew? Higher education is a good thing.

My grandfather's name was Hugh and his wife was Ruth and I don't think their names rhymed.

As a former teacher, I think that any good teacher has to be at least an average actor, and if your field is foreign languages, as mine was, you'd better be an above average actor. If you don't like being on stage all day every day, stay away from teaching.

@Nancy-I don't know what you were actually drinking in '62. Maybe it was something to restore your acolytes.

Fun Monday on several levels. Thanks everybody.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Does Hugh rhyme with Blue?

ChuckD 2:51 PM  

This blather about the the FLOTUS elect takes me back to Seinfeld’s maestro.

RooMonster 2:59 PM  

All this Dr. talk is making me queasy. Is this how the **SB Alert** haters felt? Dang, then I see their point.

Blue, Blew, Slew, Hew, Hue.
Rhyme, time, slime, climb.
Hey, sleigh, gray, rutabaga.

😂 on the last one.

Just trying to put a lightness to all this.


Ernonymous 3:29 PM  

@anon 10:11 yeah, he was treated exactly the same as all the white stars in LA.

Gigi 3:39 PM  

Hoo rhymes with blue, not hue.

sanfranman59 3:48 PM  

Challenging NYT Monday ... Jessie Bullock is a new constructor name in my solving database. I enjoyed this debut and it should make the gender counters happy. I wonder if anyone will complain of OH-OH {59A: "Pick me, pick me!"} and SANDRA OH {28A: "Grey's Anatomy" actress} in the same grid?

My solve time was a little closer to my Tuesday 6-month median solve time than to my Monday. I had a brain cramp and couldn't bring SAMANTHA BEE {34A: "Full Frontal" host} to mind and had 'BulkS' before BEEFS {51D: Fortifies, with "up"}. I also had some trouble finishing up in the SW, where I went with 'alto' instead of DIVA {57A: Cher or Adele}, didn't know KAY HAGAN {42A: North Carolina senator who unseated Elizabeth Dole} and needed some crosses for EARWIGS {39D: Pincered insects}. That's enough to move a puzzle into my Challenging Monday solve time range. I though FORA {55D: Places to hold discussions} seemed a little out of place in a Monday puzzle.

Gigi 3:48 PM  

No. Hoo rhymes with blue.

Frantic Sloth 4:05 PM  

@Giovanni 329pm And I'm sure he never ventured outside of LA either.

JC66 4:12 PM  

@Giovanni 3:29

If you'd said that in the first place, I don't think anyone would've argued with you.

bigsteve46 4:13 PM  

Hey, I'm a (semi-retired) lawyer and I just blew the dust off my framed law degree and it says, "Juris Doctor" So, I'm a doctor, too! Of course, I'd rather sue a doctor than be one if given the choice. (Actually, I was never involved in a suit against a doctor - a few of whom I give some credit for still being around at 74+, mostly careless, years.) Landlords and slumlords, yes, sued a few of them: I was a Legal Aid/VISTA lawyer early in my "career."

This seems to be one of those days of mostly totally irrelevant comments - so I just thought I'd join in.

Whatsername 4:32 PM  

@Anon (2:02) Nope. He has long been referred to as Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as The Reverend Martin Luther King, and as The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King. I know this because I can remember hearing him referred to as Doctor back in the 60s when I was too young to know the difference and thinking he was an MD. You could probably Google it and find evidence of both, but the rest of the commentariat are already sick of this debate, so let’s just agree to disagree.

Z 5:01 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - I thought we talked about not linking to videos when you share lyrics. Granted, the singer is no Meryl Streep but I think he might have a future.

@Rü Monster - TBF - the comments are mostly on point and cogent if you just skip the mice. And your SB comments have never bothered me even though I despise the very idea of the SB.

Speaking of... @Whatsername - I didn’t realize “let’s just agree to disagree” meant “I don’t want to waste any more time on someone as ignorant as you.”

@TTrimble - Seems to me that such a thing would merit little more than a shoulder shrug. Yep. 99.98% of the time the only people who care are mom and dad and hiring/tenure committees. I was only vaguely aware that Biden had a doctorate because her dissertation is on a topic of keen interest to me and somehow it came up once while discussing the glaring gaps in basic knowledge (to education admins) of the current Secretary of Education. This was early on in the election process so I always took the Dr. as some not so subtle shade thrown DeVos’ way (I have no evidence of this - it’s just makes me smile to think it is true). That WSJ editor was right on one thing, this is a total non-issue ...until the WSJ decided to make it an issue. Personally, I think he should lose his job for the sheer stupidity of publishing that piece. Although he’ll probably get a raise because the piece generated so many clicks from people who needed to see if it was really that bad.

kitshef 5:11 PM  

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
And so are you.

Whatsername 6:31 PM  

@Z (5:01) Not sure why you inferred what you did from my comment but that was definitely NOT how I intended for it to come across. My point was not “let’s just drop the argument because it’s pointless” so much as it was “let’s drop it for the sake of other posters who are already tired of hearing about it.” I did not intend to imply ignorance on anyone’s part, and I apologize to @Anonymous if that’s the way it came across.

chinch 6:34 PM  

Nicely played, @Joe Dipinto 12.22 PM

chinch 6:41 PM  

@TTrimble 1.31 PM your mommy story is so very dear.

chinch 6:49 PM  

Nicely done @kitshef 5.11 PM

Pdxrains 7:09 PM  

This puzzle is hard when you've never heard of a single one of those women!

Cc’d 7:59 PM  


PTB 8:07 PM  

Based on the other Cabinet nominations so far, Dr Jill would be an excellent choice for Surgeon General. She’d fit right in the clown car.

Mae Lee 8:27 PM  

Didn’t Dr. Rev, MLK Dream that one day people would be judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin ? I suspect he’s looking down at the identity politics we're engaging in and is very sad.

Nancy 9:03 PM  

@GILL 2:24 -- Too funny! And now I know how you landed the role of Kate. Not because of your acting chops but because of your onstage flair and nimbleness. I sort of think that your spontaneous invention of [not-exactly] Shakespearian dialogue may have been a feature, not a bug. You certainly juiced up the Bard very memorably.

Perhaps you didn't have a future on the stage of the Globe, but you may have missed a real shot at Second City. Another Elaine May, who knows?

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

I have no idea how Mr Thomas was treated. But your first post claimed he had to use restrooms reserved for blacks. That’s false.
You’ve changed your argument because the argument you initially posited is absurd.

Z 9:12 PM  

@Whatsername - No, that’s me not you. I won’t be apologizing to anonymous. You made a simple statement of fact and their response is “it isn’t a fact.” It is the equivalent of debating a flat earther or creationist. I do apologize for imputing to you my own disgust with that poster.

Mufasa217 9:18 PM  

Her name is Elle

Anonymous 9:18 PM  

No. I don’t agree to disagree. Your memory is not a convincing argument. The idea that our arguments are equivalent is offensive.
Secularism rules today,hence the preeminent of Dr. as King’s honorific.
King himself always put God first. Your argument fils the smell and eye test.
Taking my cue from z’s post above, I won’t debate a simple matter of fact.

albatross shell 9:37 PM  

I brushed off the dust on The Complete Rhyming Dictionary (Clement Wood. 1936) and that book claims you who hue true cue crew blue all rhyme. Traditional trusted source? As far as I know.

The question is not if Hugh rhymes with Ruth but does Ruth rhyme with truth booth youth sooth? Does month have a rhyme?

I take no joy in you missing something. But it does bring some pleasure when you miss something I see. I mean to say its so often the other way round.

Ms. Biden went to a community College and a state university before getting her doctorate at age 55 with marriage, business, divorce, remarriage, step children and work along the way. She worked most of her adult life to obtain the title. I have no problem with her being proud and wanting to use it. Good for her. That said, broadcast news and newspapers often have a policy of not using Dr. as title for non-medical doctors when interviewing people because of the misleading impression it gives to their audience. They are going to have to make some choices on how to handle the situation in their everyday reporting. The WSJ editorial page has alot of junk. The paper often has very good reporting. Business people do appreciate accurate reporting.

Newman 9:43 PM  

“Doctor” Jill Biden does not have a PHD. She has and Ed.d. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It is funny that she wants people to call her Dr. Biden, IMO.

JohnMc 9:44 PM  

Did anyone else find it ironic that Elle MacPhearenson is dating an anti-vaxer doctor? Doesn't tie in well with today's theme!

TTrimble 10:51 PM  

@albatross shell
Sorry, I'm missing what I must be missing that you see. Who, what, huh? What were we talking about again? :-)

If you're pointing out that I'm not taking into account that media wants to avoid calling non-medical doctors "doctor" for fear of confusing people, then okay. I can see why they might think that way. It fits other things that have been pointed out in this commentary.

This policy seems to be somewhat inconsistently applied though. And that's about all I have left to say... I'm getting a little tired. Thanks for the extra info on Jill Biden. People pettily ragging on her, judging her, not taking into account the facts of her life. What a bunch of junior-high bullshit.

Have a good night, all.

albatross shell 12:11 AM  

@TT 1051PM
We weren't talking. I was referring to your missing the women of letters theme.
Hardly worth the extra confusion. Sorry. Shoulda made my topic clear.

Hewlett 8:22 AM  

Thank you Blackhat

Roy Dimaggio 9:30 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thefogman 10:52 AM  

The male equivalent of DIVA is divo - but it’s rarely ever used. “Male DIVA” is more commonly heard, but (unjustly) suggests this is an inherently female characteristic. WEIRD to see such a sexist and misogynistic term appear in a tribute puzzle to women. Boo!

Diana, LIW 11:06 AM  

EZ as ABC? 1 2 3?

Actually - the alphabet did help me. Glad I took the time to memorize it.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting, and Memorizer

spacecraft 12:38 PM  

A DOD tribute puzzle! Just what the, ahem, doctor ordered chez @spacecraft. And (rightfully) heading the list is ELLE. Honorable mention to debut constructrix Jessie Bullock--especially if she has a sister named Sandra. Yes, I look: when I quit lookin', you can start shovelin'. I'm old; I'm not dead.

The H of KAYHAGEN/HAMAS was the last LETTER in. HAMAS has been out of the news for so long I had to reach back and grab it. The Senator, sorry to say, I did not know. Re HAMAS and other unsavories: they exist. It doesn't mean that puzzlemakers love them. The NRA exists--oh wait, they don't! They went belly up! Now THAT's the "first shame of the day."...Where was I? Ah yes. Nazis, Trumps...you get the idea.

Revealer is spot on, and fill is mostly clean. I wondered about the three OHs, especially the last two. Strange how when you're a young child you're proud of what you know and are anxious to show it off in class, while only a few years later you wouldn't be caught dead raising your hand in class. How does that happen? Anyway, a tap-in birdie.

Burma Shave 1:31 PM  


is FORA NOVEL ORE real swell person,
when SHE has brains like SAMANTHABEE,


leftcoaster 3:10 PM  

Solid theme and a classy WOMEN OF LETTERS revealer.

EARWIGS was the last word in and G the last letter, confirming the unknown insects’ name. Crosses filled in the little rascals’ OTAY and WEIRDS for the unknown “skeeves”, among a couple of others.

An unexpected Monday morning workout, and a good one.

Yet Rex said it’s an “average Monday”. Hmm, don’t think so.

rondo 3:49 PM  

Start the themers with gimme ELLEMACPHERSON? YEAH baby. And all the others for various reasons. YEAH! Was hoping the LETTERS would spell something, but NOSIR.

@D,LIW - LOL on memorizing the alphabet. I gotta use that one in the future.

Good puz to-DAY.

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