Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NYT Thursday 4/1/10 - That Fool April

It was clear something was very foolish about the clues for this Thursday New York Times crossword and it didn't take that long to work out that words were being rearranged. I wondered for a bit if this was restricted in some way ... first and last words swapped, or two arbitrary words swapped? But after a while I gave up on that idea and just assumed the words could be in any wrong order.

Once I'd seen the idea, the solving process was still fairly lengthy, even for a Thursday. It seems the unscrambled clues were deliberately on the easy side, but that didn't completely compensate for the complications of the gimmick.

I've made sense of almost all the clues to my satisfaction and appended what I consider the correct clue below. In a few cases, there are perhaps multiple possibilities: would 23a infidel have been clued as {A person without faith} or {Person without a faith}? I'm going for the former, even though the indefinite article wouldn't be usual in a normally-clued crossword.

28d cants {Secret thieves of slang} is the one clue where I'm a bit flummoxed, since it's not clear how it can be disentangled and still indicate a plural answer.
Solving time: 21 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 23d Isaac {Stern violinist}

Glickstein Lee
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


The order of the words in the clues is changed for April Fool's Day. This was indicated by the following identically-clued answers (I'll give the correct version of each after the printed one):
17a rearranged {Like the clues in all the words in this puzzle} => {Like all the words in the clues in this puzzle}
53a out of order {Like the clues in all the words in this puzzle} => {Like all the words in the clues in this puzzle}
11d moved around {Like the clues in all the words in this puzzle} => {Like all the words in the clues in this puzzle}
25d flip-flopped {Like the clues in all the words in this puzzle} => {Like all the words in the clues in this puzzle}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersLee Glickstein / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 32 (14.2%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.22)
Theme squares42 (21.8%)
Scrabble points292 (average 1.51)
Video of the Day

36d open road {Drivers of love} => {Love of drivers}. An answer that conjured up for me The Wind in the Willows and Toad's love the the open road ... first as experienced in a horse-drawn caravan and then in a motor car. Poop poop!

The Doctor is IN

For each clue, the printed version is followed by the correct version:

1a chats {Talks little} => {Little talks}.
 6a pecs {Short chest, for muscles} => {Chest muscles, for short}.
10a Omar {Funny co-star in "Barbra's Girl"} => {Barbra's co-star in "Funny Girl"}.
14a Puget {Washington's Sound ___} => {Washington's ___ Sound}.
15a agua {Main contents of the Spanish} => {Contents of the Spanish Main}.
16a robe {Clothing court} => {Court clothing}.
19a Ivan {The Terrible ___} => {___ the Terrible}.
20a mixes {As a grasshopper prepares} => {Prepares, as a grasshopper}. See grasshopper.
21a digest {Food process} => {Process food}.
23a infidel {Faith without a person} => {A person without faith}.
26a decades {Years of plenty} => {Plenty of years}.
 27a silted {Fine with choked sand} => {Choked with fine sand}.
28a cinema {Date for many a place} => {Place for many a date}.
29a alien {Visitor space} => {Space visitor}.
30a pave {Drive off the top?} => {Top off the drive?}.
31a irae {"___ Dies"} => {"Dies ___"}.
34a alp {Music backdrop of "The Sound"} => {"The Sound of Music" backdrop}.
35a tornado {Alley ___} => {____ Alley}.
38a OCS {General program for a future, maybe: Abbr.} => {Program for a future general, maybe: Abbr.}. See OCS.
39a café {Of kind society} => {Kind of society}.
41a pots {Supply nursery} => {Nursery supply}.
42a pouts {Faces sulky} => {Sulky faces}.
44a lapels {Places small American flags for} => {Places for small American flags}.
46a Minnie {Mouse ___} => {____ Mouse}.
47a two-tone {Old like some painted cars} => {Painted like some old cars}.
49a dined in {Cleared home at the plate?} => {Cleared the plate at home?}.
50a rapier {Tool fencing} => {Fencing tool}.
51a Sofia {Union in the European capital} => {Capital in the European Union}.
52a ESPN {Channel game} => {Game channel}.
58a Viet. {Some served veterans there: Abbr.} => {Some veterans served there: Abbr.}.
59a afar {Cry ___} => {____ cry}.
60a N-test {Brief blowup, in "Big"} => {Big blowup, in brief }.
61a Indo- {Opening China?} => {China opening}.
62a dogs {Example, for boxers} => {Boxers, for example}.
63a shape {For one square} => {Square, for one}.

1d CPR {Revival of a cause, briefly} => {Cause of a revival, briefly}.
2d hue {Cry of partner} => {Partner of cry}.
3d aga {Respect of Eastern title} => {Eastern title of respect}.
4d termite {Of a colony member} => {Member of a colony}.
5d strident {Having a sound grating} => {Having a grating sound}.
6d panel {Show part of a game} => {Part of a game show}.
7d eggs {With spurs on} => {Spurs, with on}.
8d cue {Go on to signal} => {Signal to go on}.
9d saddened {Low on the side} => {On the low side}.
10d origami {Craft paper} => {Paper craft}.
12d abase {In lower rank} => {Lower in rank}.
13d rents {Letters for checks} => {Checks for letters}.
18d axed {In a split way} => {Split, in a way}.
22d ice {Cooler drink} => {Drink cooler}.
23d Isaac {Stern violinist} => {Violinist Stern}.
26d divas {Attitude with singers} => {Singers with attitude}.
28d cants {Secret thieves of slang} => {Secret slang of thieves}.
30d prole {Worker routine} => {Routine worker}.
32d Act II {Half of a musical second} => {Second half of a musical}.
33d Essen {City steel in Europe} => {Steel city in Europe}.
37d opinions {Judges of written works} => {Written works of judges}.
40d eat into {Part of drain} => {Drain part of}.
43d on earth {Heaven, not in here} => {Here, not in heaven}.
45d Poe {A dreary poet upon midnight, once} => {"Once upon a midnight dreary" poet}. See The Raven.
46d miff {Off tee} => {Tee off}.
47d Trevi {Fountain ___} => {___ Fountain}.
48d Was in {"When Flower ___ Knighthood" (1922 film)} => {"When Knighthood ___ Flower" (1922 film)}.
49d doors {Opportunities to speak so} => {Opportunities, so to speak}.
51d stag {Does partner for} => {Partner for does}.
54d ufo {Light sky, maybe} => {Sky light, maybe}.
55d DEA {Traffic group that may stop: Abbr.} => {Group that may stop traffic: Abbr.}. See DEA.
56d ESP {To know one way} => {One way to know}.
57d rte. {Offering G.P.S.} => {G.P.S. offering}. "route" abbreviates to rte.

Image of the Day

555 LED flasher

24d Nilla {Wafer ___} => {____ wafer}. Nilla is a brand owned by Nabisco that is mainly associated with its line of wafer cookies. The name is a shortened version of vanilla, a flavor common to all Nilla-branded products (Nilla cookies have been flavored with synthetic vanillin since their introduction). Nilla wafers are round, shortbread-style cookies that are often eaten with milk as a snack. The above picture shows a foolish use of a Nilla wafer as a ceramic disc capacitor in a production of the circuitry snacks project.


Daniel Myers said...

Agreed on 28D - For only the second time since I've been doing these puzzles, this seems to me to be a genuine error by Glickstein/Shortz.

Oh, btw, recollected two other O-level texts: Romeo and Juliet, The Return of The Native. Liked both.

Ethan said...

I was doing a good job on this one. I figured out the word scramble almost straight away and went to town. I had the NW and SW corners almost right away, and got the NE one soon after. The middle and the SE corner stumped me, though. I had a lot of fun with this puzzle, though.

Anonymous said...

Given the use of quotes in Omar {Funny co-star in "Barbra's Girl"} => {Barbra's co-star in "Funny Girl"}.
I spent a while on the clue {Brief blowup, in "Big"} expecting the movie "Blowup" to somehow be involved

Crossword Man said...

Daniel: glad I wasn't the only one to raise an eyebrow over cants. Never read The Return of the Native ... two Hardy novels was enough doom and gloom for me (give me Wodehouse any day of the week).

Well done Ethan. I don't remember any part of the grid as particularly hard ... the whole thing was uniformly slow going for me.

Aaron: good job remembering Blow-up is a movie. I'd forgotten that. I started out thinking that punctuation might just be rearranged like everything else, but finally concluded it could get deleted/added as necessary.

Kriss said...

Hello, as a Canadian NYT crossword puzzle afficionado, I have to wait five -- yes, count 'em, 5 -- weeks for a daily puzzle in our syndicated paper. I didn't have any idea this was an April Fools'puzzle until after completion I checked one clue, 16D. Could somebody please explain to me how "Letters for checks", "checks for letters" becomes "rents"?? Thanks to anyone who might happen upon this belated blog!!!

Crossword Man said...

Hi Kriss. Yes, a "letter" is someone who lets, i.e. rents out, a property.