2019 Puzzle 3: “Feminine Endings” Solution

The March MMMM, “Feminine Endings,” challenged solvers to find a famous singer. The puzzle contains five theme entries: ADAMS APPLE, PLAYA DEL REY, ROLLER SKATE KEYS, WRATH OF KHAN, and AZALEA BUSH. What’s the next step?

The key is to realize that each of these entries has a “feminine ending,” in the sense that they end with the last name of a famous female singer, as follows:


The first letters of the first names of each of these singers spell out F-L-A-C-K, the last name of this month’s meta answer, the famous singer Roberta Flack.

Meta Song

We had a lot of fun covering one of Roberta Flack’s biggest hits. Hope you like it!

Selected Solver Comments:

rachaar   I LOVE this female-themed puzzle for International Women’s Day! Even the non-theme answers.  (Jeff G and Chris Popp made similar comments.)

postrander   If I know all the music people in the grid, it must be on the easy side.

mmurphy   I have to admit, I was a little thrown off by the possibility of also having (Oleta) Adams and (Iggy) Azalea in there as answers, but it was still eminently solvable.   These were deliberate. Would have been fun to find five pairs like these!

ab   Her middle name is Cleopatra and she didn’t use it in her stage name?!   How’s that for a middle name?

azmat   Could the ‘L’ have been Radio Ga Ga?   Oooh – yes!


Alternative Music Clues:

jagoandlitefoot suggests cluing ARISE as [“All ___!” (2011 song by the Decemberists)].

Flipperista and rachaar suggest cluing SOMALI as [David Bowie’s wife’s ethnicity].

eschliebe suggests cluing TYRONE as [Erykah Badu song].

Steve Blais suggests cluing TNT as [AC/DC song to which Bob performs a striptease for his wife Linda on Bob’s Burgers].

Mike Berman suggests cluing YEAH as [Grammy-winning song by Usher].

micmarc suggests cluing LEVER as [“I Love a ___” (song sung by Sutton Foster on Sesame Street)].



musicgleehigh   You’re gonna receive a lot of Flack for this puzzle!

Spielekatze   How many people will write: “you’re killing me, Pete”?

Tom Moose   This answer shouldn’t get much criticism.

GlennG   Good. Hope you don’t take too much Flack for this one.


Exactly 400 solvers found their way to the correct answer this month. The average rating for the puzzle was 4.22 stars out of 5, and the average difficulty rating was 2.25. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Amanda Gullingsrud. Thanks to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend, where you can rate the puzzle (thanks!) and/or leave a comment.

Thanks for playing and see you in a month!