XW Info

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
by Sharon Delorme
Wed 4/1/2015
© 2015, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes:

As a practical joker, I really dug this theme. Appropriate for April Fool's Day! Each of the props is a common enough gag, and all of them work well as snappy crossword entries. JOY BUZZER is such a lively entry, plus it has all those juicy Scrabbly letters in it. Fun stuff. I'd make a "pull my finger" joke, but that's not really NYT-suitable. (Sadly.)

They knew how to have a good time back in 1932

Speaking of those Scrabbly letters, Sharon does a nice job of grid layout to facilitate smooth filling around the J and the pair of Zs. The blocks right below the J and the Z help her section things off, and there are lot of three-letter options ending with either J or Z (TAJ, HAJ, RAJ, etc. / ADZ, TAZ, BOZ, etc.). Really only the MAZDA slot provides any sort of difficulty, and Sharon does well to fill that corner smoothly.

Usually themers are alternated (left-right-left-right) in order to reduce the amount of overlap between adjacent pairs, but Sharon aligns both JOYBUZZER and DRIBBLE GLASS to the right. That's less of an issue if there are two (or more) rows between themers, but with just one row here, there are bound to be some challenges. Once you get the nice COBWEB in place along with TAJ, it's pretty hard to avoid something like ABOO.

Another challenge in the west and east sections, curiously. There's no hate in LOVE/HATE for me, just a beautiful entry. And I appreciated getting RIVIERA crossing it! That does constrain the east section though, resulting in NEBR. Similar sort of thing going on in the west, with OEN and ON UP as the price to pay. Overall, I think the trade-offs are reasonable though. I liked GAG ORDER and IMELDA enough that those little OEN / ON UP bits didn't bother me much.

Finally, beautiful clue for ABBOT. Who but the head of an abbey would be a keeper of brothers? Great repurposing of a common "my brother's keeper" saying.

1.1925 Pulitzer Prize winner for Edna Ferber : SOBIG
6.Barber's sprinkle : TALC
10.Gallic girlfriend : AMIE
14.Drawing of a bakery? : AROMA
15.Ending with peek : ABOO
16.One a baby may cry out to : DADA
17.Larsson who wrote "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" : STIEG
18."Put 'er there, pal!" : JOYBUZZER
20.Insincere : HOLLOW
22.Monsters' mouths : MAWS
23.Rowan of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" : DAN
24."Here, have a drink" : DRIBBLEGLASS
27.Expand : BROADEN
30.Welcome to the fold? : BAA
31.Wine: Prefix : OEN
32.Kate's kisser in a classic tongue twister : ESAU
34."___ Survivor" (2013 war film) : LONE
38."Smell my corsage" : SQUIRTINGFLOWER
43.Channel turned to at many bars : ESPN
44.Hello or goodbye : CIAO
45."Smarter Planet" co. : IBM
46.___ double take : DOA
49.Region off the Côte d'Azur : RIVIERA
51."Happy birthday! Make a wish and blow" : TRICKCANDLES
56."Sho' nuff!" : YUP
57.Spaniard's "other" : OTRO
58.Boating hazards : SHOALS
62.Speaker of the clues for 18-, 24-, 38- and 51-Across : PRANKSTER
65.Brother's keeper? : ABBOT
66.What you might solve a puzzle with : EASE
67.Dynamite : AONE
68.Meower : TABBY
69."One more thing ..." : ALSO
70.Purchase with popcorn : SODA
71.Start over with a clean slate? : ERASE
1.Clothing item worn diagonally : SASH
2."___ put it another way ..." : ORTO
3.Be hot under the collar : BOIL
4.Well-heeled Marcos? : IMELDA
5.Silencer : GAGORDER
6.Atlantic City casino, with "the" : TAJ
7.Manhattan Project project, informally : ABOMB
8.True : LOYAL
9.Sign of disuse : COBWEB
10.Cooper's tool : ADZ
11.Toyota competitor : MAZDA
12.Some of the best ones are crazy : IDEAS
13.Really works for : EARNS
19.Links org. : USGA
21.Dianne of "Law & Order" : WIEST
25.___ B'rith : BNAI
26.Film composer Schifrin : LALO
27.Big name in audio equipment : BOSE
28.Not electives: Abbr. : REQS
29.Curtis Mayfield's "Move ___" : ONUP
33.Cuz's father : UNC
35.Cut or scrape, in totspeak : OWIE
36.Neighbor of Colo. : NEBR
37.Funny Bombeck : ERMA
39.Visiting the Library of Cong., say : INDC
40.Encircle : GIRD
41.Holds back a grade : FAILS
42.Kind of relationship : LOVEHATE
47."All right, already!" : OKOK
48.Impersonates : ACTSAS
50.Weather line : ISOBAR
51.Not laid-back : TYPEA
52.Lacking Verizon coverage, maybe : RURAL
53."No bid for me" : IPASS
54.Threepio's buddy : ARTOO
55.Ceaselessly : NOEND
59.Group with the hit 1978 album "The Album" : ABBA
60.Slo-pitch pitches : LOBS
61.Eyelid annoyance : STYE
63.Prefix with classical : NEO
64.___ Irvin, first art director of The New Yorker : REA

© 2015, Jim Horne