Perfect Gifts for TV Moms

Merl Reagle, May 10

Still looking for a Mother’s Day gift? Don’t look to the answers in this puzzle. Even if your mom is Shirley Partridge or Morticia Addams, she’s probably not going to want what Merl is giving.

For Samantha of “Bewitched” (45 Across), Merl gives her A SPELL CHECKER. Pretty clever. But I’m less impressed with the other gifts, which play on the mom’s name, profession or environment. Carol Brady of “The Brady Bunch” gets ANY BOOK BY RALPH BUNCHE in 108 Across; Mrs. Cunningham of “Happy Days” gets A WAD OF FIFTIES in 56 Across, to go with the 1950s setting of the show.

But really, couldn’t he have made these moms more modern? “Happy Days” hasn’t been on for almost 30 years; Fonzie is making guest appearances as a gray-haired FBI agent on “Numb3rs.” Sure, as a Gen Xer (remember us?), I recognized all of these moms. Yet I think he’s turning off a large part of his potential audience by including cosmic cartoon mom Jane Jetson (she got A SPACE HEATER in 26 Across) and not mothers like Marge Simpson, Sarah Connor or even Roseanne.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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