Monday, April 1, 2019

BEQ 13:32 (Jim Q) 


LAT 4:01 (Nate) 


NYT 1:52 (Jenni) 


The New Yorker 5:33 (Jenni) 


Universal 7:41 (Judge Vic) 


WSJ 5:57 (Jim P) 


Fireball 13:12 (Jenni) 


Joel Fagliano’s New York Times crossword — Jenni’s writeup

That is by a long way (a full minute, I think) a record time for me, which is entirely an artifact of how easy it was to fill in the theme answers in AcrossLite. The theme is dead easy, although I wonder how really new solvers will feel about it, since it seems to break the rules. I suspect true newbies may find it a bit confounding.

We have three 15-letter theme answers.

NYT 4/1, solution grid

  • 20a [Tea set?] is TTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.
  • 36a [G-string?] is GGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.
  • 50a [Beeline?] is BBBBBBBBBBBBBBB.

So all I had to do to fill in the theme answers was hold down one computer key, hence the ridiculously fast time. This puzzle reminds me of William Steig’s classic C D B, which was a childhood favorite in my house.

A few other things:

  • There are a lot of women in this puzzle. Michelle OBAMAOLGA Korbut, IDA B Wells, Ruth Bader GINSBURG, Princess ARIEL, Paula ABDUL. Joel missed the chance to use Tammy Duckworth and Dianne Feinstein (or Elizabeth Warren or Susan Collins or Kamala Harris or…) to clue SENS, and it was an interesting choice to use the Founding Fathers to clue WIGS. And it says something that six female names feels like a lot to me.
  • I also appreciate seeing LGBT FLAG in the grid.
  • 11d [“Here’s what you have to realize …”] is THE THING IS. I love this.
  • Things I know because I have a teenager: 49a [Main squeeze, modernly] is BAE.
  • 52d [Common email sign-off word] is BEST. I guess so. Most Emails I see don’t have a sign-off word, just the sig file.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that I could do a NYT puzzle (even an easy one) in less than two minutes.

ADDED NOTE: I am a dolt. It’s an April Fool’s puzzle, so of course it’s a bit off-kilter. Kudos to Joel and Will for honoring the day and keeping Monday in its lane.

Jake Braun’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up

It’s April 1st, so that can only mean one thing…

LAT 4.1.19

LAT 4.1.19

17A: TRICK KNEE [Unpredictable leg joint problem]
25A: RIB EYE STEAK [Beef named for a bone]
37A: KID SISTER [Sally, to Charlie Brown]
54A: JOSH DUHAMEL [“Love, Simon” co-star]
64A: APRIL FOOL [Cry for today, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 25-, 37- and 54-Across]

Cute! I’m not one who’s particularly fond of April Fools Day jokes, so I much prefer this streamlined theme of ideas/phrases starting with a synonym for fool: TRICK, RIB, KID, JOSH. I also beyond appreciate the “Love, Simon” reference in the JOSH DUHAMEL clue – I promise I’ll remember this puzzle simply for that moment where I felt included seeing a queer movie referenced so casually. Bravo!

Random thoughts:
EDDA, the [Ancient Icelandic text] keeps popping up in crosswords for me these days and I don’t think I’d ever heard of it before. It turns out that there are actually two EDDAs, one poetic and one prose, that are well over 700 years old!
– 6D through 8D: NAN? CREPE? AYE AYE! : )
– Pleased to see SISSY Spacek and KERI Russell in the grid though, as always, I hope for more women in the puzzle.

Overall, an enjoyable solve and a bullet dodged for what I fear will be some tricky April Fools Day puzzles in other outlets.

Samuel A. Donaldson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Carried Away” — Jim P’s review

Theme: Things that are DRIVEN (73a, [Like the answers to the starred clues]).

WSJ – Mon., 4.1.19 – “Carried Away” by Samuel A. Donaldson

  • 1a [*Range rovers] CATTLE
  • 20a [*Car or truck] MOTOR VEHICLE
  • 38a [*Dimpled flyers] GOLF BALLS
  • 59a [*Person who constantly exceeds expectations] OVER-ACHIEVER

Necessarily, each meaning of the word DRIVEN is slightly different, although I can’t think of an instance in which anyone would talk about GOLF BALLS being DRIVEN in the past tense. Otherwise, it works fine.

Nice to see LAVERNE clued as [Shirley’s TV roommate], played by Penny Marshall who just passed away a few months ago. I also liked BEEMER, TAHITI, “I’M EASY,” and OPERA HAT. While there are a bevy of other 7s in the grid, they’re all of the standard variety (UNDEALT, TEA CART, e.g.).

And that’s all I have. A straight over the plate Monday. 3.3 stars.

Dallas Fletcher and Christopher Adams’s Universal Crossword, “April Fools”—Judge Vic’s write-up

Dallas Fletcher and Christopher Adams’s Universal Crossword, 4/1/19 solution

A totes apt theme for the day of its publication, plus some really nice non-themers:

  • 17a Insect whose decline led to a bumper pasta crop (BBC prank, 4/1/57) SPAGHETTI WEEVIL
  • 25a Republican electoral possibility (NPR, 4/1/92) NIXON’S THIRD TERM
  • 44a National monument renaming (fast food chain, 4/1/96) TACO LIBERTY BELL
  • 57a Vegetable that makes noise when cooked (Tesco, 4/1/02) WHISTLING CARROT
  • 64a “So sad!” (Universal Crossword, 4/1/19) SO SAD

I liked this theme a lot! In the non-theme arena, here is more that I liked:

  • 15a Gardener’s bog plant PEAT MOSS
  • 33a Image unfit for the office, informally NSFW PIC
  • 37a Declines to participate OPTS OUT
  • 60a Fourth first family MADISONS
  • 1d Brown delivery vehicle UPS VAN
  • 2d Broccoli rabe RAPINI
  • 3d Generic product maker BRAND X
  • 6d Unable to relax UPTIGHT
  • 10d “I’ll always be true” Beatles hit LOVE ME DO
  • 14d Athletic camaraderie TEAM SPIRIT
  • 24d Technique for knitting vertical stripes DROP-STITCH
  • 35d Trivial pursuits? FACTOIDS

Good fill! Fun stuff! 4 stars.

P.S. – My April Fools joke is to omit putting brackets around the clues, which I forgot to do, actually, but now the review is over and it’d be a real pain to go back and insert them.

Liz Gorski’s The New Yorker crossword—Jennis write-up

I love Liz Gorski’s puzzles. Her “Crossword Nation” series is worth the subscription cost – they’re easy puzzles and always fun and satisfying. This puzzle wasn’t much harder than a CN puzzle, and it was also fun and satisfying! No April Fools tricks here, just a light,up-to-date vibe.

New Yorker 4/1, solution grid

  • 1a [Casual-chick do, a la Meghan Markle] is a MESSY BUN. My daughter twists her hair and pins it up in about four seconds. I suspect Meghan’s takes longer.
  • We have ALE HOUSE and BAR ORDER stacked. Now I want a beer.
  • 25a is [Ill-fated flyer in a Breughel landscape] and that’s ICARUS. I know the painting because of the W.H. Auden poem.
  • I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 31d is OLD MASTER. Liz knows the Auden poem, too, I’m sure.
  • 59a [Saint born in Newark, N.J.] is EVA MARIE.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that there is such a thing as an ETHICAL HACK.

I leave you with the song stylings of 1d, cabaret legend MABEL Mercer.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword #511—Jim Q’s review


I half-expected some sort of April Fools’ Day joke in this puzzle, preventing me from finishing it. Relieved that it was another remarkable themeless sans unnecessary trickery so I could get an unashamed write-up together.


  • 35D [His website is] BUTTIGIEG. I assume this is a debut

    BEQ Themeless Monday #511 – 4-01-19–solution

    for him- He was very entertaining on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me last year and I’ve been following his campaign this year. I don’t know how I feel about a potential president who is one year younger than I am. That makes me feel really… old (and maybe a tad unaccomplished).

  •  33D [College that some people hate] ELECTORAL. Great clue.
  • 38A [Hearty entrees served with mushroom gravy] SALISBURY STEAKS. I had TREK for TASK, which caused a temporary mess in the middle. SALISBURY helped clear that up.
  • 23A [A mile a minute] SIXTY. As in M.P.H. That’s about as literal as it gets!
  • 66A [Bummed] HEARTBROKE. I dunno. Are these synonymous?
  • 13D [Requirements for some tests] BLUE BOOKS. Some things never change.
  • 38D [Establishes the going rate?] SETS BAIL. Ha!

The one part of the grid that bothered me was in the NE with LLBS and LBAR. Seems like there’s an endless array of crosswordy BARs out there named after letters, and most are likely to have a 90 degree bend… same goes for the bajillion different degrees earned in college. So that shared L caused me to kinda sorta run the alphabet.

HEBRAIC was new for me, but fairly crossed.


  • 24D [“___ Greatest Hits (1971-1975)” (Eagles compilation)] THEIR. That’s the best album title they could come up with?

4 stars.

Trip Payne’s Fireball Crossword, “Cuckoo Crossword”–Jenni’s write-up

It’s that time again! Every April 1st, Peter gives us one of Trip Payne’s bizarre constructions – and I say that with love. These puzzles are always fun. If the title’s not enough of a clue, Peter includes this note with the puzzle: IMPORTANT: In this puzzle, most of the answers are made-up words and phrases. For example, the clue “Stupid plane” would lead to the answer DUMBJET, and “Similar to cartoon character Fudd” to ELMERIC. Normal answers are clued in the regular way. There aren’t a whole lot of regular answers.

Some highlights:

FB Cuckoo Crossword (4/1), solution grid

  • 1d [Time of great air pollution] is the SMOG ERA, otherwise known as 1970s NYC and LA.
  • 17a [Conflict that pitted pasta sauce maker against pasta sauce maker] would be the OREGANO WAR. I’d read that book, and eat the ammunition. Or evidence.
  • 12d [Result that the lab scientist doing testing about diets] is NO EMACIATED MICE. This one confused me, since I read “diets” in the weight-loss sense and assumed the scientist would only be pleased if the mice were emaciated. This is known as overthinking a cuckoo crossword clue.
  • 27a [Easily confused Leslie Caron titles] was kind of a gimme. I knew the titles right away and just had to figure out the order, so I filled in the I’s and the AND until I got the first L and was able to complete LILI AND GIGI.
  • And just to make it REALLY cuckoo, we have a number in the grid. My software won’t allow me enter numbers, so I did it as a rebus. 35a [Trio who served their country] crosses 30d [Tall tale about an audio format]: 3 VETERANS and MP3 YARN, respectively.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: I didn’t know (or had forgotten) that MERE CANADA is the world’s second largest country.

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12 Responses to Monday, April 1, 2019

  1. CR says:

    Universal won me over for best April Fool’s Day puzzle this year. It was the first I had heard of the pranks, but they were easily inferable and funny to boot.

  2. JohnH says:

    Another faint non-pdf New Yorker printout with a URL ending “-pdf.” And yes, I could print that to pdf, but then I can print a blank page to pdf, too.

  3. Zulema says:

    Anyone remember Manny Nosowsky’s (sp.?) April 1st puzzle that was all T’s’? The year was between 2000 and 2005, I believe, and I got very upset at him for it, but must admit it was brilliant.

  4. LOST says:

    Anyone care to explain what’s going on with SO SAD in the Universal? I’m not getting it.

    • David Steinberg says:

      It’s a prank! The clue is the same as the answer.

      • jj says:

        I still don’t get it.

        • David Steinberg says:

          Sorry, let me try a more thorough explanation! The theme is a series of April Fools pranks arranged chronologically, and the clue for each prank ends with “(who did the prank, year of the prank).” The last prank is one that the puzzle itself plays on its solvers: The clue for SO SAD is the same as the answer. Following the pattern of the other theme clues, the parenthetical part of the SO SAD clue is “(Universal Crossword, 2019).”

          • LOST says:

            Well, I still don’t see how the last prank is similar to the others (not that you intended that) or how it’s much of one which are the problems for me.

            I suppose it’s just over my head.

      • LOST says:

        Not sure how that fits with the theme or the day really, but okay. Thanks for the reply and all the great puzzle you make.

  5. Marcus says:

    Found out today that Matt Gaffney’s crosswords for New York Magazine are now available every Monday as well.

Comments are closed.