The Ides of April — a springtime puzzle by Rex Parker

Friday, April 15, 2011

Here's my latest creation. Solve it, share it, love it, leave it ... do as you see fit: "Ides of April" (.pdf or .puz version available here). Enjoy!

(SOLUTION BELOW, after the Spoiler Kitty...)

Ides of April


Anonymous 8:05 AM  

Please explain what a "show choir" is. Thanks

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

@Anon 8:04 Think Up With People.

JaxInL.A. 9:03 AM  

@Anon 8:05, clearly you don't watch Glee. Show choir is a competition category, mainly at the high school level, in which the vocal group not only sings, but uses costumes and does choreography to create a dramatic show. Show choirs may have started in the 1970s with "Up With People", and are now common at high schools across the country. Competitions can attract thousands of viewers.

Rex Parker 9:28 AM  

Show choir.


David L 9:30 AM  

I didn't know show choir either, and the Wikipedia entry is less than illuminating. It says a show choir is a bunch of people who dress up and sing and dance -- which I think people having doing in various forms for centuries. So it's not clear to me how a show choir differs from other singing-and-dancing outfits.

Speaking of cultural ignorance, can someone explain HAS for "is down with"? I thought that saying someone "is down with" something means they're cool with it, it's OK by them. No?

mitchs 9:54 AM  

Same question as David L...liked BRISTLES and BADAPPLE.

The PERO x TAHRIR was a person Natick, so I dnf.

mitchs 9:55 AM  

That's personAL. Sorry

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Thanks one and all for the "show choir" explanation.

@David L and @mitchs: If one "is down with" the flu, one "has" the flu.

Rex Parker 10:12 AM  

Thank you, @anon. I thought that would be more self-evident.

Rex Parker 10:15 AM  

@mitchs—the theme makes it hard to have a true Natick there, since ... IRS has to be in the theme answer.

David L 10:38 AM  

@Anon 10:04, Rex: thanks for the explanation. "John is down with the flu" is not in my personal lingo, but it makes sense.

I normally refrain from remarking on captchas, but "fornoses" is nicely appropriate...

mitchs 10:40 AM  


AV 11:10 AM  

Nice! Really liked the nod to TAHRIRSQUARE!

chefbea 12:28 PM  

Fun puzzle Rex

I do not watch glee and had no idea what show choir was but I surely knew
as red as a beet!!!!!

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Re 16A HENNA: I haven't found any evidence for the use of "dying" as a gerund or participle form of "to dye."

Fun puzzle anyhow, even though this year today (April 15, the Ides of April) isn't actually "tax day"!


PS: Captcha is "quabled," which is what I might have done above a couple of times.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

April's Ides is the 13th

Rex Parker 1:46 PM  

Please note that the IRS clue does not say that 4/15 (i.e. today) *is* tax day.

jackj 5:57 PM  

TAHRIRSQUARE was inspired. Was that the seed entry?

Would have struggled with the MOHAIRSUIT entry if I didn't know that IRS had to be part of the answer.

I especially appreciated ASHRAMS and DEION and thought DYING was a neat misdirection (though I think Lurker0 makes a valid point).

Still and all, in my view, it plays at a medium/hard Wednesday, easy Thursday level.

Arundel 6:00 PM  

Hey, great puzzle!

MOHAIR SUIT was one of the first things I got, and I've had the earworm of Benny and the Jets stuck in my brain ever since. There's a lot to like in this puzzle, even without knowing SHOW CHOIR or LEN Lesser or what Allred's field was. (Oh, yeah. Her.) And no junk fill at all.

I loved the clue for 28a. When a 4-letter word appears with the clue "City on the Irtysh", I'm ready.

The Bard 7:02 PM  

Julius Caesar > Act I, scene II

Soothsayer: Caesar!

CAESAR: Ha! who calls?

CASCA: Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

CAESAR: Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR: What man is that?

BRUTUS: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAESAR: Set him before me; let me see his face.

CASSIUS: Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR: What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR: He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Antony and Cleopatra > Act V, scene II

CLEOPATRA: This proves me base:
If she first meet the curled Antony,
He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou
mortal wretch,

[To an asp, which she applies to her breast]

With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
Be angry, and dispatch. O, couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass

CHARMIAN: O eastern star!

CLEOPATRA: Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

CHARMIAN: O, break! O, break!

CLEOPATRA: As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,--
O Antony!--Nay, I will take thee too.

[Applying another asp to her arm]

What should I stay--


JenCT 7:50 PM  

@Rex: fun puzzle!

Especially like 1D and 11D, and 38A.

Got hungup on the spelling of TAHRIRSQUARE - TARRIR? TAERRIR?

Stan 8:43 PM  

Theme-concept nothing to write home about, but the actual fill really jumped. Lots of sharp clues (ha-ha, I know) and good unexpected answers.

I actually got stuck in the NE for awhile until INSOLE and HENNA made sense. In other words, not all that easy.

Big grin all around, and kudos for TAHRIR SQUARE, which we all thought we could spell but couldn't (without crosses, which thankfully were there).

Rex Parker 8:51 PM  

Yes, TAHRIR SQUARE is the reason this puzzle exists at all.


PuzzleGirl 10:53 PM  

Oh man. I was really hoping MOHAIR SUIT was your seed entry. Cuz that's awesome.

syndy 11:23 PM  

OH man missed the theme elements-would definitely have helped to spell tahrir square!does the stand alone IRS break a rule?phooey on uies

Flynn 11:35 PM  

Spoiler Kitty needs her own blog. Maybe with a Spoiler Puppy protecting the informatin as to what Spoiler Kitty is about to pounce on.

CoffeeLvr 7:26 PM  

A fun romp this afternoon; the theme definitely helped with spelling TAHRIR and getting MOHAIR SUIT. Solved on paper, so I could bracket the IRS part of the theme entries as they appeared.

I am still baffled by 58D; whoops, just figured it out - 8 must be the Atomic Number for Oxygen, an essential part of my AIR SUPPLY.

Show CHOIR was almost a gimme for me once CHARLIE was in place.

captcha: gallypep, what an energetic horse possesses

Masked and Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Is it just me, or is Spoiler Kitty kinda weird. Floats off the ground a bit and casts no shadow... Around our place all we have is a regular "Soiler Kitty".

My RC record says "I Got a Woman" on it. Maybe I have the rare misprint edition. Anyhoo, very nice puz, 31. And not too taxing.

Rex Parker 11:57 AM  

From wikipedia:

"I Got a Woman" (originally titled "I've Got a Woman") is a song co-written and recorded by American R&B/soul musician Ray Charles and released as a single in December 1954 on the Atlantic label as Atlantic 45-1050 b/w "Come Back Baby." Both sides later appeared on his 1957 album Ray Charles (subsequently reissued as Hallelujah I Love Her So).


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