It’s a short post today, but first let me offer congratulations to Liz Maynes-Aminzade for becoming the first puzzles and games editor for the New Yorker! They’ve been running some excellent themeless crosswords for the past year-and-a-half and I’m excited to see how they build their operation further with Liz at the helm.

There are ten starred clues hinting at famous people, and you may know some of them from the clues alone. But spelling them … that’s a different challenge in this puzzle. The ten celebrities’ first names have been anagrammed, but they’re clued normally:

  • 23A: [*“When Harry Met Sally” screenwriter] appears in the grid as RONA EPHRON, but in real life her name is Nora Ephron.
  • 25A: [*Short-story writer awarded the Nobel Prize in 2013] is CELIA MUNRO. Real name is Alice Munro.
  • 39A: [*“Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” co-star] is IRMA SORVINO. Real name is Mira Sorvino.
  • 50A: [*“Show Boat” novelist] is DEAN FERBER. Real name is Edna Ferber.
  • 54A: [*“The Chosen” author] is MICAH POTOK. Real name is Chaim Potok.
  • 70A: [*U.S. Open winner in 1974, 1979 and 1990] is LEAH IRWIN. Real name is Hale Irwin.
  • 85A: [*“Giving You the Best That I Got” singer] is TANIA BAKER. Real name is Anita Baker.
  • 89A: [*Playwright knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1970] is LEON COWARD. Real name is Noël Coward.
  • 96A: [*“Bound” actress] is INGA GERSHON. Real name is Gina Gershon.
  • 117A: [*Elevator safety pioneer] is SHEILA OTIS. Real name is Elisha Otis.

It’s all explained by the revealer at 120A: [What the 10 starred answers in this puzzle have undergone, and what’s spelled out by their first letters when you unscramble their first words]. Take the first letters of the unscrambled names and you get NAME CHANGE.

Some scrambled first names I left on the table were IRENE BANKS (which scrambles the Cubs legend Ernie Banks), DYAN WARHOL (the artist Andy Warhol), TATE JAMES (the singer Etta James), NADIA QUINN (the actor Aidan Quinn), and ROYCE FELDMAN (the actor Corey Feldman).

See you next week!

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