March 31, 2007

Sunday, 4/1

NYT 9:35
LAT 8:50
BG 8:16
WaPo 8:01
CS 4:42

(updated at 10:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday)

Okay, most strange. The NYT applet is the site of either an unfun April Fools Day trick or a technical glitch, because five hours after the online release of the Sunday puzzle, the applet has accepted zero solutions as correct. I was off seeing Blades of Glory (the Will Ferrell/Jon Heder figure-skating comedy, deliciously silly; Will Arnett and Amy Poehler also had perfectly pitched lunacy) earlier this evening, so I had the benefit of learning from others' frustration—did the puzzle in Across Lite and double-checked my solution against Harris's, and they're the same. (And Co Crocker knows how to crack the solution code for Across Lite NYT puzzles, and his solution was accepted as correct.) So I say we all finished Paula Gamache's "Fools Rush In" just fine.

Maybe the problem is that the NYT's computers wanted to censor the swear words; after all, one of the theme entries inserts an ASS into SHUTTLECOCKS (generating NASA's priestly SHUTTLE CASSOCKS). Does this pass the Sunday-morning breakfast test for the more delicate among us, an ASS insertion theme? Sure, the end results are all beyond reproach, but getting there (which is half the fun)... Question: How does [Fall guys?] make sense as a clue for OAFS? Another clue tells us that novelist ELINOR Glyn coined "It" as a euphemism, referring to sex appeal, as in "the It Girl." CUSIP numbers are the IDs for registered stocks and bonds; my husband knows the term, but I've not seen it before. Given my inexplicable propensity for curtsying when a movie camera is present, I liked having [Curtsier] as the clue for LADY. Academia gets its due here, with CANTAB clued as [Harvard student] and COEDS clued in appropriately retro fashion as [Abbott and Costello's "Here Come the ___"]. I will see you an old-school UKASE and an ERI TU and raise you a contemporary IMING (instant-messaging) and CHICK lit.

Looking forward to learning whether the applet lacked the correct solution or if there's some secret trick to this April Fools Day puzzle that has escaped solvers thus far.


CrosSynergy's April Fools Day trick is to have a themed crossword by Bob Klahn that's easier than his themelesses. The theme is performers with songs containing "Fool" in the title, and the only one I knew was the ROLLING STONES' "Fool To Cry." For a musical bonus, Purple Rain's APOLLONIA rounds out the fill (I have a Polish great-great-great-grandmother by that name), along with OLIVE DRAB, THE SYSTEM, the Scottish mountain BEN NEVIS, X-FILES, and FISHWRAP ([Nearly useless newspaper, in slang]).

Henry Hook's Boston Globe puzzle, "It Could Be Verse," defines a batch of words that rhyme with "verse." Not being a rubber-stamp hobbyist or otherwise affiliated with the INKING business, I didn't know that that was a [Brayer's purpose[. And I never heard of [Soprano Amelita GALLI-Curci. Those two crossed the [1945 Betty MacDonald novel, with The], EGG AND I. Argh. I know the word impugn, of course, but don't think I've seen OPPUGN before. Or TELIC, for that matter. Here's hoping the other puzzles I do today don't unearth so many vacancies in my brain!

Timothy Powell's Washington Post puzzle, "Finish What You Start," has theme entries that start and end with the same word, like TALK A GOOD TALK. That sort of theme tends to help you fill squares in more easily, since one end gives away the other end.

Will do the LA Times puzzle after the gym. Back from the gym now: The syndicated LAT crossword by Joshua T. Fortenol is called "Break of Day." Took me far too long to understand what the theme was, but when I began to type up an e-mail/cry for help, I saw it. The clues are AP, RI, LF, O, O, L, SD, A, Y, and the theme entries are phrases that define those things; e.g., AP is NEWS BUREAU, RI is SMALLEST STATE. Sort of bizarre approach to a theme, but executed nicely with nine symmetrical entries.