Lee Glickstein‘s New York Times crossword
- 17A. [Like the clues in all the words in this puzzle] means REARRANGED. You have to switch the words “words” and “clues” in order to read this clue correctly.
- 53A. The same clue also signals OUT OF ORDER.
- 11D. And MOVED AROUND.
- 25D. Or FLIP-FLOPPED.
Indeed, every clue has words that have been rearranged, disordered, moved, or flip-flopped. In order to make sense out of them, you have to mentally sort the words into a new sequence and sometimes change the punctuation. For example:
- 1A. [Talks little] clues CHATS, which in plural noun form means “little talks.”
- 6A. [Short chest, for muscles] clues PECS, which are “chest muscles, for short.”
- 20A. [As a grasshopper prepares] clues MIXES. My best guess for the original clue is “prepares, as a grasshopper.” You MIX cocktails like a grasshopper.
- 39A. [Of kind society] clues CAFÉ, as in “café society.” A dreaded “kind of ___” clue—café society is a “kind of society” but a café is not.
- 44A. LAPELS are “places for small American flags,” or [Places small American flags for].
- 60A. This one has a more significant punctuation change (the sort of punctuation action cryptic crossword fans are used to). [Brief blowup, in “Big”] is an N-TEST, or a “big blowup, in brief.”
- 1D. [Revival of a cause, briefly] is CPR, or “cause of a revival, briefly.”
- 6D. [Show part of a game] clues the PANEL that is “part of a game show.”
- 7D. [With spurs on] clues EGGS, or “spurs, with ‘on.'”
- 28D. [Secret thieves of slang] clues CANTS, which I think means the original clue is “secret slang of thieves.”
- 36D. [Drivers of love] clues that “love of drivers,” the OPEN ROAD.
- 49D. DOORS are “opportunities, so to speak,” or [Opportunities to speak so].
- 51A. [Does partner for] clues the STAG that’s a “partner for does,” plural of “doe.”
Some of these clues were really tough to reorder in a way that made sense. The puzzle’s gimmick is so tricky and convoluted because it’s April Fool’s Day. Now, when April 1 falls on a Monday or Tuesday, Will Shortz doesn’t want to be too mean to crossword beginners. But hooray for a Thursday April 1! The twistiest day of the crossword week is well-suited to the holiday.
Did you love this puzzle, or did it drive you nuts? I really enjoyed the oddball challenge. Lee, do you want to tell us a little about the development of this crossword?
Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Tomfoolery”—Janie’s review
To honor the day, Randy has been foolin’ around with the name “Tom.” Each of his four “before and after” theme phrases begins with the full name of a well-known “Tom” and ends with a word the name-in-full can describe. That final word can also be paired with the last name to reveal another stand-alone phrase. The combos are particularly lively and smile-making. The terrific “Tom” phrases are:
- 20A. [Money in a rock star’s pocket?] = TOM PETTY CASH, or Tom Petty + petty cash. Petty cash, whether it’s coin or paper, has its origins in the [Place where change is being made?], or the U.S.MINT. (I like the tricky way that clue is worded!)
- 27A. [The New England Patriots?] = TOM BRADY BUNCH, or Tom Brady + The Brady Bunch.
- 42A. [Quote from “Top Gun,” e.g.?] = TOM CRUISE LINE, or Tom Cruise + cruise line.
- 52A. [Original print of an old oater?] = TOM MIX MASTER, or Tom Mix + Mixmaster. I love all of the theme fill, but this is my fave. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a brother who, as a little boy, wanted to be either a cowboy or a doctor when he grew up (he chose the latter) and a mother whose Mixmaster sat out on the kitchen counter and who used it (sometimes on a daily basis), that this colorful, retro combo (and concept) both delighted and resonated strongly for me.
I wasn’t keen for seeing that there were three words in today’s puzzle that had already appeared this week (in one case for the third day running…), but there’s a lot of fresh fill as well. The re-treads are XMAS, ASSISTS and RHEA. The brighter spots include GALAXY [Collection of stars], “THEY SAY…” [Start of an unattributed rumor], BIBLICAL [Like some seminary studies] and ESTEEM [Think highly of].
I also like the “cross of the heavies” where TEAMSTER [Follower of Jimmy Hoffa] meets PIRATES [Jack Sparrow’s crew]; and even though they’re not clued in a way that ties them together, I like how GAMERS sits above AVATAR. (But, really, can an Avatar video game for die-hard gamers and fans of the movie be far behind?) Notice, too, how ETS [Space visitors, briefly] cuts through them both. Finally, there’s a nice sequence of cluing where [A real mess] is followed by [Sticky stuff], for PIG PEN and TAR. Yuck.
Alex Boisvert’s Los Angeles Times crossword
For April Fool’s Day, we get a puzzle with nonstandard left/right symmetry and a theme that breaks up in nonstandard ways and reads in nonstandard directions. 1A is the [Start of a thrill-seeker’s mantra] and the rest of the theme phrase continues clockwise around the grid’s outer edge: IF YOU AR/E NOT LI/V/ING ON T/HE EDGE /Y/OU A/RE TAK/ING /U/P TOO MU/CH ROOM. Three corner squares are essentially unchecked, but it’s not hard to piece together the sequence of words so that’s not a problem (though it is nonstandard).
I don’t know about 9D. NERDS are [Unlikely class presidents]? Wait, let me see if I have this right. Class president is a popularity contest, while student council president is what leadership- and résumé-minded nerds aspire to?
36A: [Mass reaction, perhaps] is not about church. The answer is HYSTERIA.
Trip Payne’s Fireball crossword, “Something Different”
Trip used to make this sort of puzzle for April Fool’s Day in the New York Sun, where it was called “Wacky Weekend Warrior.” He’s also been making them on his own. If you’re as enchanted by these madcap adventures in crosswording, head to Trip’s “Triple Play Puzzles” site; the “Something Differents” are listed under Variety Grid Puzzles.
In this puzzle type, only a few short answers would be valid in a regular crossword. The rest are concocted phrases with clues that will get you to the answer as soon as you get your mind in the right goofy frame. The loosening of “what makes an acceptable crossword entry” standards makes an insane grid possible. A 50-word grid with 12 blocks would smash the constructorial records if the fill passed NYT-type muster.
Highlights of goofiness:
- I hope my mentions of Florida manatees this week made ON TOP OF A MANATEE come to you more readily. The clue is [Sea cow rider’s place]. Now, technically, nobody seems to call them sea cows here, where about 3,000 West Indian manatees hang out this time of year, but it’s kosher.
- Show-biz names fill out ISH KABIBBLE-LIKE, ERNEST AS STU, “MR. T! MR. T!,” and WYMANER.
- 2D is clued [It’s not connected with guacamole in any way]. The answer to 2D is ANSWER TO TWO-DOWN. Indeed, it is without avocadosity.
- The nocturnal bird that isn’t being squeezed is OWL IN GENTLE HAND.
There’s a gentle surrealism to this sort of puzzle, and I always find “Something Different’ to be an entertaining change of pace.