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Mar 3, 2021

Wednesday, March 1 2021, Ed Sessa

Theme: PENULTIMATE
 
17A. Once-common childhood ailment: CHICKEN POX.

 
27A. Reporting live: IN PERSON.

45A. Hereditary information for a species: GENE POOL.

11D. Blended family relative: STEP-NIECE.

35D. Somewhat revealing T-shirt option: SCOOP NECK.

59. Five-pointed stars ... or, in two words, what the sets of circles represent?: PEN TANGLES.
 
That is some clever wordplay. While the clue says "two words," PENTANGLE is a word - apparently another word for pentagram. See what Ed did here? PEN is tangled up in five answers, and each crosses two words. I also dig the placement of 67A: TADA.
 

 
Across:

1. Aussie birds with drumbeat-like mating calls: EMUS.


5. Get in a row: ALIGN.

10. Regarding: AS TO.

14. Lucy Lawless title role: XENA. Warrior Princess.

15. "Take a look": GO SEE.

16. Hit the brakes: STOP.

19. Nomadic quarters: TENT. Has anyone seen the movie Nomadland with
Frances McDormand? Getting great reviews.

20. Giant whose #4 was retired: OTT. Melvin Ott. Played for the NY Giants from
1926 through 1947. Batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

 21. Rock's Pop: IGGY.

22. Figures of speech: TROPES.

24. Saffron-flavored Spanish dish: PAELLA.

26. Embellish: ADORN.

30. The eastern half of a frozen food brand: IDA. Ore-Ida. From Wikipedia:
The company's name is a syllabic abbreviation of the first few letters of Oregon and Idaho and the original logo consisted of the outlines of Oregon and Idaho with Ore-Ida superimposed in italicized letters. 

 

33. Writers' workplaces: DESKS.

36. Move, in realty ads: RELO.

37. Anjou, e.g.: PEAR.

38. 24-Across ingredient: RICE.


39. Garson of "Mrs. Miniver": GREER. Wikipedia.

40. Summit: ACME. Also Wile E. Coyote's favorite company.

41. A lot of time, in Spain: ANOS. Spanish for years.

42. Wild party: RAVE. Are these still a thing?

43. Speculate: GUESS.

44. Corporate VIP: CEO. Chief Executive Officer.

47. Having glass sections: PANED.

 49. Incan wool sources: LLAMAS.

53. Race with no real losers: FUN RUN. Usually run for charity, rather than competition.

55. Cruising the Arctic, say: ASEA.

57. Fish served in poke: AHI. Yellowfin tuna.

58. Butter substitute: OLEO.

62. Family nicknames: UNCS. Short for uncles.

63. Tribal leader: ELDER.

64. Maine, to Macron: ETAT. Etat is French for state.
Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron is the president of France.

 65. The Dead Sea, actually: LAKE. Seven intriguing things you didn't know about the Dead Sea.

66. Cordial dealings: AMITY. Don't usually see/hear this word in noun form.

67. "I did it!": TADA. Outstanding.

Down:

1. Many a bodyguard: EX-COP.

2. Maestro Zubin: MEHTA. Indian conductor.

3. Make one out of many: UNITE.

4. __ fly: RBI producer: SAC. Sacrifice fly.

5. What separates the men from the boys?: AGE GAP. Not the only thing.

6. Like the mind's "i": LONG.

7. Guessing game: I SPY. I spy, with my little eye ...

8. Former Prizm maker: GEO. Automobile.

9. Living very close by: NEXT DOOR.

10. Big name in furs: ASTOR. American Fur Company, founded by John Jacob Astor.

12. Vocal quality: TONE.

13. Gets involved, with "in": OPTS.

18. Potters' needs: KILNS.

23. Oscar-winning director Howard: RON. Actor, director, producer, and writer.

25. YouTube clicks: LIKES.

26. Like Van Winkle, for 20 years: ASLEEP. Short story.

28. Trip to the market, say: ERRAND. Hardly a day goes by that I don't run this errand.

29. "Still Me" memoirist: REEVE. Christopher.

31. Water containers?: DAMS.

32. Greek war god: ARES.

33. Storied bloodsucker, for short: DRAC. Dracula. Never seen it shortened like that.

34. Mozart's "__ Kleine Nachtmusik": EINE.

37. Journalist Zahn: PAULA.

39. Pot pie veggie: GREEN PEA.

43. __ Heights: Mideast region: GOLAN. Interesting. 
The Golan Heights are a rocky plateau in Western Asia that was captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. The international community recognizes the Golan Heights to be official Syrian territory and widely rejects Israeli military occupation. In addition to its strategic military importance, the Golan Heights is an important water resource, especially at the higher elevations, which are snow-covered in the winter and help sustain baseflow for rivers and springs during the dry season.

 45. Wildebeest: GNU.

46. Cate with a falsely accused cow: O'LEARY. The myth.

48. Sprang up: AROSE.

50. Island near Sicily: MALTA.
Following 150 years as a British colony, Malta gained state independency in 1964, became a republic in 1974 and later part of the European Union in 2004. 

51. Winning: AHEAD.

52. Slangy sibling: SISTA.

53. Ump's call: FOUL.

54. Forearm bone: ULNA.

55. The Beatles' "__ Love Her": AND I.


56. Editor's "Let it be": STET.

60. Title tree in six horror films: ELM. Nightmare on Elm Street.

61. Understand: GET.

35 comments:

Lemonade714 said...

Dr. Ed continues to be a prolific and entertaining puzzle maker. As Melissa points out having 5 themers for his pentangle puzzle is that added spice that makes the puzzle special. I also did not know the word PENTANGLE but the prefix made it fit nicely.

We had some food, some people some places, and an EMU that isn't LIMU ...I am happy. Thank you mb and Dr. Ed

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

The SW gave me fits this morning. My writers worked in LOFTS and I put EGGS in my paella. Got those fixed, but then my Ump hollered "SAFE!" That resulted in a SUN RUN. Got the rest of that area straightened out, but then couldn't figure out what the Ump's call was "SOUL!" D'oh. Got 'er done, but it was a near thing. Thanx, Dr. Ed and Melissa Bee.

I normally do taxes in Cleveland (TX, not OH) on Wednesdays, but the civic center there flooded from frozen pipes and will be closed until sometime in April, at the earliest. So today, I'm headed south to the Humble ("Umble", must've been named by a Cockney) Civic Center. We'll see how that goes.

Hungry Mother said...

Helpful theme as I sailed through this one. It seemed a bit crunchy at times, but no major hassles.

ATLGranny said...

FIR today for Wednesday fun. Thanks, Ed. You almost got me in a few places with some nice misdirections, but perps saved me. WOs included chief before ELDER and inre before AS TO. I saw the circles filling with p, e, and n, but the reveal was a surprise. It's interesting how many ways there are to describe mixing up the order of letters: today's PEN TANGLES also are shapes, for a bonus. Thanks, Melissa, for clearing up my questions. PAELLA again today. What will you do with that, poetically, OwenKL?

No FUN RUN for me any time soon, but looking forward to comments on today's puzzle. Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday (Hi, C Eh)!

Big Easy said...

Good morning all. The PEN-TANGLE was obvious from the circles but it wasn't a TADA moment. Never heard of the word PENTANGLE.
No problems today with only one unknown filled by perps-REEVE. I can't imagine anybody "Cruising the Arctic"; might be A-ICE instead of ASEA.

Crew neck, V-neck, SCOOP NECK- what's next? Naval neck? Oh, it's already there. The 21st Century is is Age of Cleavage.

DRAC, UNCS, SISTA- Melissa, don't ask my opinion on those words. I've seen DRAC in other puzzles.

d-otto- did my taxes on Turbo-Tax last night. Only 37 pages long on the printout.

Well I'm off to the Mel OTT Center in Gretna to play pickleball at 9:00 am.

Anonymous said...

Cruciverb not current for the last 3 days

Memforest said...

Like D-O, it was a day for giving up on things. I thought I was clever figuring bodyguards were ENVOYs, and wool came from ALPACA (pl.?). Once those were tossed it all feel into place.

I loved the clue for AGE GAP. AND I loved the two Beatles clues juxtaposed.

CanadianEh! said...

Wonderful Wednesday (you beat me ATLGranny!). Thanks for the fun, Ed and melissa bee.
I FIRed in good time and found the PEN TANGLES.
My only inkblot was changing On the Air to IN PERSON.

I smiled to see EMUS and GNU, ASEA and GO SEE, plus AS TO above STOP and crossing ASTOR.
another smile at UNCS and STEPNIECE.
Wet was not adequate to fill in 35D. OK, I guess that would be "very revealing".
Yes, melissa, TATA at the end was very appropriate.

Those of us who have had CHICKENPOX are at risk for Shingles. Thankfully, there are vaccines. Speaking of vaccines, I booked Covid vaccine appointments for my mother and UNC when bookings for Over 80 opened this morning. Website was working well so far. Appointments are not for another two weeks.

I'm with Big Easy. If I am going ASEA, I want to be in a warmer area than the Arctic! But right now, any kind of travel would be welcome; a "trip to the market=ERRAND" seems to be my only outing.

Wishing you all a great day.

Yellowrocks said...

The circle tangles were a big help. I needed to resort to a mental ABC run for two easy answers. Duh. The D in IDA and the V in RAVE. I was fixated on RAGE.
I have seen many FUN RUNS at school. They were billed as FUN(D) RUNS. They all had winners, the first ones to cross the line. They were sorted by age.
One of my younger sibs called it chicken pops.
I am not fond of clues like long I, but they no longer fool me.
I had always thought of marketing (for groceries) as an errand. During the lock down I thought of it as a welcome outing, escaping the house and seeing people, even strangers.
DRAC Meh.
I see AMITY quite a bit, but seldom hear it.
"Eventually the factory of our amity breaks down, and all that’s left is hunger."
New York Times Aug 4, 2020
"A work of historical fiction, a tale of the enmity and amity between my family and a faraway country."
The Guardian Mar 22, 2010
Pentangle was guessable, the same construction as triangle.
Fun to have TA DA at the very end.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

It’s always a treat to see Dr. Ed’s byline as it means a fun and satisfying solve. Today, it also meant some devious and misleading cluing which had me all over the map: Auks/Emus, Add To/Adorn, On The Air/In Person, Safe/Foul, Croc/Drac, and Ex GIs/ExCop. I saw the P E N sequence, but the revealer was very clever. We had a mini-mini family theme with Step-Niece, Sista, and Uncs and also of creatures, i.e., Emus, Chicken, Llamas, Gnu, and Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow! I liked the Astor/As To and Mehta/Malta duos, but I think Green Pea is a tad Green Paint-ish. CSO to Bill W at Kilns.

Thanks, Dr. Ed, for a mid-week treat and thanks, Melissa, for the informative and entertaining expo.

ATLGranny, good luck with tomorrow’s surgery!

FLN

YR, nice to have you and your avatar back in blue permanently.

I’m still waiting for my replacement Discover card which FedEx said would arrive yesterday.

Have a great day.

Madame Defarge said...

Good Morning,

Nice Start to a nice sunny day. This was fun. Thanks, Ed, for that. I did not see the theme plan, but once Melissa explained it, you had a round of applause from me. I only knew pentagram, so I rushed to put that in--alas, too many spaces.

Indeed, Melissa, thank you for your explication. I chuckled when I saw the Beatles "AND I love her next to the editors' "Let it Be."

We had our first Vaccine last week. We were waiting patiently, uninvolved of the hysteria. Suddenly, the appointments through our city health department were open and included an automatic appointment 3 weeks later--same time, same station--as we used to say.

My Monday athlete group is expanding as it appears every sport HS kids play will take place between now and summer. Since we "meet" by email and phone, I sit at the dining room table from 8-5 chatting with my charges. They hate ZOOM so this is working very well. Our athletic director must be losing his mind trying to schedule all of these events.

Enjoy this day. I hope it's a sunny one where you are. Stay safe.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Missed the 'v' in the center of the puzzle but got everything else. RAVE party had no TROPE for me. Otherwise, a fun solve. Liked the theme with the moshed up pens.
MEHTA is a Parsi.
van Winkle means "of the store" in Dutch.
DAMS - While it was clear what was wanted, I would point out DAMS hold water back. The 'container' is the reservoir. But it's Wednesday.

Husker Gary said...

Musings
-A Dr. Ed puzzle and a noon tee time on a glorious 63F day in early March!
-TROPES are familiar plot devices, e.g. bully will be defeated in the end and good guy will triumph.
-Embellish – “Just tell me what happened!”
-IDA – Great clue by Ed (or Rich)
-Mrs. Miniver was a wonderful movie about Dunkirk and women in war
-France has thirteen administrative regions not ETATS
-UNITE – E Pluribus Unum
-Clue and fill – “When out on the lawn there AROSE such a clatter, I SPRANG from my bed to see what was the matter.”
-Once our team was AHEAD by 30 points in the state tournament game last night, the clock was not stopped for the rest of the game

Husker Gary said...

WELCOME TO 2021 – State Tournament in Lincoln last night
-I had to get our tickets online via the phone
-I had to pay for parking with a credit card
-We met our kids at a restaurant where we had to scan the menu off a code on the table
-I had to pay via credit card as no cash was accepted
-Our granddaughter is getting a car. When she was handed a key to start car for a test drive she had no idea what to do with it. She has only driven cars with push button/fob starts and has never put a key in an ignition slot
-At the arena I had to get out my phone to show our aforementioned e-tickets
-Programs were only available online

-One exception – I was able to buy a dish of ice cream, popcorn and water with a $20 bill (got $4 change)

Anon said...

Clever and enjoyable puzzle. Didn’t know the Ore-Ida answer but enjoyed its explanation.

Lucina said...

Hola!

Many thanks, Ed Sessa and Melissa Bee!

CHICKEN POX reminds me of that time when all six of us had it at once. I'm sure it nearly drove my mother crazy.

My first grade teacher was Mrs. GREER and she brought her new born baby who lay ASLEEP in the crib all day. It was a one room school in Concho, AZ where I attended for one year.

My mother had a cousin named IDA whom I recall visiting.

Melissa, I'm so glad you spelled out SACrifice because SAC made no sense especially with my limited knowledge of baseball.

I have STEP-grandchildren but no STEPNIECE.

Spitz, I had the same thought about DAM as not being the water container.

waseeley: FLN
I can speak about yoga because I regularly practice it.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

No TADA for me, albeit a fairly easy puzzle...FIW ...had sissy for SISTA and didn't notice the perps wouldn't work!! 😬😔😳

5 PENS at angles? (pentagrams more common as stated by others)

"Separates men from boys?" puberty wouldnt fit. Perpwaited on vamp 🧛‍♂️ for DRAC. ....chief for ELDER. Race with a lot of losers? human. 😁... ANDI & RON were a great father son team in Mayberry NC

What other colors does a PEA come in besides GREEN? Black-eyed? .... we had IDO, plural IDI, and today (feminine) IDA

If I knew you were comin', woulda _____ a cake... MEHTA.
Stand in _____ ALIGN.
Jennifer's sista Renée...RELO
Porcine snarls .....PENTANGLES


See u Giovedì, Jove's day, Jupiter's day 🪐

Misty said...

Delightful puzzle, many thanks, Ed. And always enjoy your commentary, Melissa--thanks for that too.

Loved seeings those PENs pop up in the five different places. After I got the first two, I knew what the rest would be. My German seems to come in a bit handy every day--this morning with EINE--and I love Mozart's melody. RON Howard pops up frequently in puzzles. It's hard for me to not always think of him as OPIE, but it's also cool that he went on to such a prominent career in other fields. Had to laugh when I got DRAC for the bloodsucker.

Have a great day, everybody.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Canada eh

South of your border we have hurricanes, wild fires, earthquakes...we believe in conspiracy theories, stormed our own capitol and have a general lack if AMITY

So the best you guys could come up with is

BUTTERGATE ?

😁

Brian said...

On the DAM clue, when I saw the ? at the end of the clue, I knew the answer was not going to be a conventional water container. The DAM contains the water from continuing downstream.

waseeley said...

Thanks Ed for a pleasant Wednesday thicket and to Melissa for helping unTANGLE it. I managed to fly all the CHICKEN PENS, and TADA I FIR!

Some FAVS:

14A Lucy's latest battles are against AUSTRALIAN PERPS in Series 1 of "Murder is my Life", streamable on PRIME. She is also an expert on German coffee makers. I believe a Series 2 is somewhere downstream.

24A Are these leftovers from Sunday's puzzle. We served PAELLA to my 10 yr old granddaughter recently and she loved it.

49A Not to be confused with the One L LAMA ("He's a priest"), the Two L LLAMA ("He's a beast").

65A Special thanks for the link MB. The DEAD SEA seems like a LIVELY place!.

10D ASTOR may be more famous for going down with the TITANIC, after giving up his seat in one of the lifeboats to a woman.

18D KILNS. I can't get enough of them. I have three. I was helping my 4 yr old grandson make a clay snow man the other day and told him "We have to fire it before it's done". His reply: "Are you going to use a GUN granddad?".

31D DAM. We all know that a EWE is a female sheep, but one that has become a mother is called a DAM.

34A "A Little Night Music". Probably Mozart's greatest hit, his Köchel 525. His last work was his Requiem in D, Köchel 626 which he started composing the year of his death at age 35. It was completed by one of his students, Franz Xaver Süssmayr.

55D and 56D make a nice segue.

Cheers,
Bill

Yellowrocks said...

The term green peas does not seem redundant to me. Many recipes specify green peas, or their other name, garden peas. This distinguishes them from other types, such as black eyed peas, field peas, snap peas, snow peas, sugar peas, etc. Some of these are eaten with their pods.
Lucina, all six of us had chicken pox at the same time, too. At that time my dad who was a pastor hosted a large meeting for the regional pastors. We stayed upstairs while my intrepid mom hosted a big lunch for them in our dining room. One by one the pastors sneaked upstairs to see this large group of well behaved confined kids.
Still Me is a memoir written by Christopher Reeve, who once played Superman. He was paralyzed for life by a spinal cord injury as a result of a horse riding accident. What a brave positive man.
Paula Zahn - Zahn means tooth in German. Arzt means doctor. Dentist is Zahnarzt, tooth doctor.
The Cat in the Hat is now suspiciously non PC because he looks like a white face minstrel player. I have been acquainted with it ever since 1957 when it was written and have never noticed that. Sheesh!

AnonymousPVX said...


This was a nice Wednesday Sessa grid, no issues.

And not much to add.

Stay safe.

unclefred said...

FIR in 20 which for me is an average Wednesday time. This CW was a nice mix of clues, which I enjoyed. Last letter in was the D in IDA and DAM. For some reason it was a struggle. I wrote PENT and then had to perp the ANGLES as it is a new word for me. Thanx Ed for a delightful CW!! And thanx MB for a terrific write-up!

Anonymous said...

A few groans with UNCS, DRAC, and to a lesser extent, SISTA (as Big Easy pointed out). Lots of standard fill. But it was well worth the effort to learn about the Dead Sea LAKE and the origin of OreIDA (thanks to the writeup).

Bob

TTP said...


We had IDA and AMITY today. No Erie today. I can fix that.

IDA Tarbell was born in AMITY township, Erie County, PA. What a woman ! If nothing else, read the intro in the Wikipedia link to get an idea of how her muckraking led to the breakup of Standard Oil, new powers and authorities to the Interstate Commerce Commission and further enhancements to American antitrust law. Her book and magazine articles that exposed Standard Oil's practices is often cited as the beginning of investigative journalism.

In addition to Amity Township, there is also a borough in Western PA named AMITY, along with others named Harmony, Independence, Economy, and Freedom. They sound like good assets to have.

The Harmonists founded the boroughs of Harmony and Economy. My editorial comment would be that as with the Shakers, having celibacy as a tenet of a sect's beliefs doesn't bode well for its long term existence.

waseeley said...

Oh and I forgot to thank Melissa for the EMU clip. Those chicks could probably land a gig as percussionists in a Calypso band.

desper-otto said...

Most of Jaws takes place on AMITY Island -- a make-believe New England summer getaway.

Wilbur Charles said...

wo was dryRUN/FUN. I should have noticed the circle which would preclude the Y.

Two Beatles clues? I thought of grabbing a bio of Paul. Next time if I return to Ollie's in Ocala. Aha, Mme
D. explains and indeed it's cute

Rockefeller foolishly and vainly was honest and open with Ida. Cutthroat was just business as usual.

Thanks for link to Harmony. I love that word and principle.

WC

Wilbur Charles said...

Again, I didn't notice the constructor, Ed Sessa. I wonder if he has a SISTA?

I opened the blog to discover I hasn't solved Wed yet. I bought a TB-Times but since they put the weeks puzzles into a Sunday insert they do not include the xword in the Wed newspaper (only day they publish)

WC

Jayce said...

A nice Ed Sessa puzzle. Glad to learn some new things from melissa's write-up.

Overconfidently entered PENTAGRAMS at first, until the perps showed me that the GRAM part had to be NGLE.

I have a cousin named AMITY.

Some of my favorite books when I was kid were If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, and And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. I also loved The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. Far far better, IMO, than pap like The Cat in the Hat and similar ilk.

Good wishes to you all.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Thanks Dr Ed for a fun puzzle with a wonderfully cute theme.

Thanks mb for the expo and the link to who GREER was and the picture of REEVE's book (didn't know that).

WO: I thought EX COn was a little odd for a bodyguard until PAELLA finally cleared that up.
ESPs: MEHTA, REEVE | GREER, EINE, IDA, PAULA
Fav:: I thought "Let it Be" following the Beatle's clue was a nice touch.

YR - You got your Avatar back!

Vaccine news - because we're considered 'critical infrastructure,' our company is able to get vaccines for employees (and our families!). I didn't feel well the last two days and decided not to read my email. Dang if there wasn't an email saying "vaccines 6:30 tonight..." I missed it! Some of the guys on my floor got their shots. I'll just have to wait for (and watch for!) the next round.

Oh, Eldest got her 1st shot today - she's an RA so the University took care of her.

Enjoyed reading everyone!

Cheers, -T

CanadianEh! said...

FLN- Hahtoolah, have a good trip to New England. Great that you can now visit your Dad again.

I totally missed the Beatles duo😮. Nice.

Ray-O - we Canadians take the purity of our milk and butter very seriously. We put maple leafs on our milk bags to be sure we are not getting any American milk with growth hormone. So the idea of palm oil being fed to our cows to make them produce more milk, with the resulting “hard” butter makes our Canadian blood boil. But we are so polite that we will probably say “Sorry” to the cows. 🤭

AnonT - sorry you have not felt well . . . and missed a chance to get the vaccine. Soon hopefully.

LEO III said...

Hi, all! Late again! It’s been a busy couple of days. Ain’t retired life great?

Two FIRs in a row. Yipee!

Thanks, Dr. Ed and Melissa.

Christopher Reeve also starred in SOMEWHERE IN TIME, one of my favorite movies. Not only was HIS accident and death tragic, his widow (Dana Morosini) died from lung cancer about a year and a half after he passed. She had never smoked in her life!

Lucina said...

I had a dear friend who also died of lung cancer and had never smoked.