Historic town in Veszprem county / WED 4-1-20 / Short line at top of column in typesetting / Classic camera brand / Letters on brandy bottle

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Constructor: John Ficarra and Patrick Merrell

Relative difficulty: Easyish (untimed ... see video, below)


THEME: "No idea!" — seriously, it's just phrases that mean "no idea!" clued as the answers to ridiculously obscure-seeming clues to which one might actually respond "no idea!":

Theme answers:
  • ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? (17A: Historic town in Veszprém county, Hungary, noted for its baroque architecture)
  • WHO THE HELL KNOWS!? (40A: Left tributary of the Vitim River in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia)
  • I HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE!? (63A: Village between Krszyna and Jacków in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland (pop. 305))
Word of the Day: CARA Delevingne (15A: Model/actress Delevingne) —
Cara Jocelyn Delevingne (/ˈkɑːrə ˌdɛləˈvn/ KAH-rə DEL-ə-VEEN; born 12 August 1992) is an English model, actress and singer. She signed with Storm Management after leaving school in 2009. Delevingne won Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2012 and 2014.
Delevingne started her acting career with a minor role in the 2012 film adaptation of Anna Karenina. Her most notable roles include Margo Roth Spiegelman in the romantic mystery film Paper Towns (2015), the Enchantress in the comic book film Suicide Squad (2016), and Laureline in Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) (wikipedia)
• • •

Not really in the mood for this one, or for April Fools shenanigans in general, as you can see for yourself if you play this video—real-time recording of me solving this puzzle on my computer, minutes after it came out (10pm Tuesday night)


The video is not an April Fool's joke, I assure you. It is me, rather wearily and earnestly solving the puzzle and commenting on it. If I ever do anything like this again, I'm gonna need better lighting and a real microphone, for starters. But whatever. It's different. It's something you haven't seen. And if it's something you'd rather not see again, because reading is better than watching, don't worry. I'll go back to the writing tomorrow.

["... see you tomorrow ..."]

Here's the tl;dr version of the solving video: no, thanks. The gag works the first time, with the first themer, but with the subsequent themers, I didn't even look at the clues, because I didn't have to. I just got crosses and looked for phrases meaning "no idea!" So I had an early moment of "ah, cute," and then, well, that was pretty much peak experience. After that, it was just a morass of subpar fill to wade through. The end. So watch the video. Or don't. I'll be back tomorrow. Take good care, everyone!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I could not find the Village between Krszyna and Jacków in Silesian Voivodeship, Poland (pop. 305) that the puzzle was asking about. Or, rather ... well, I found *something*. Let's zoom in, shall we:



"There goes my Baby!"
"Hello, Baby!"
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner ... of Poland!"
(etc.)

P.P.S. I am told that the *actual* theme answers are mama, papa, and ... baby ... like the bears ... For. Some. Reason. April ... Fools? I don't think the puzzle knows how April Fools works.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

156 comments:

Joaquin 12:03 AM  

I enjoy mental challenges and I enjoy learning new words. But ... the main reason I do crossword puzzles is that I find them fun. This one was FUN. Lotsa FUN!

Exactly what I would expect from two former “Mad” magazine staffers.

G. Weissman 12:16 AM  

54D crossed with 66A crossed with 64D? Are you kidding me, etc. Natick me with a spoon.

Loren Muse Smith 12:22 AM  

Hah! When I saw the last few letters of 17A and inferred the answer, I laughed out loud. John and Patrick – well played. Anytime I see the word “architecture” or “baroque” or “tributary” in a clue, I just move it on along. No way I know fancy stuff like that. So at first I really didn’t notice the outrageousness of the obscurity-ness. Unlike Rex, I enjoyed figuring out the other two themers, enjoyed thinking about the various ways we can say we don’t know something. (See also – various ways we say you’re welcome: don’t mention it, you betcha, sure, no prob. . .)

Knowing Patrick, I was certain that the three 15-letter themers were indeed 15-letter actual answers, so I went spelunking into google. Nope. When I got nowhere I looked over at Xword Info, and guess what. 17A is Papa, 40A is Mama, and 63A is Nana. Add to those YOYOS and LULU.

AT SEA is a bonus themer. Kinda.

They could have clued the three themers by just leaving the clues blank. Get it? Clueless?

SARIs are one-size-fits-all? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Wowser.

Misspelled DUFFEL as “duffle.” I’ll own that.

The box ended up up ended. That symmetry beguiles me.

I’ve said before, for decades I’ve been filling in AGIN, this variant that appeared only in crosswords. Until I moved to rural WV and heard it for the first time from the mother of one of my students, a fiercely religious woman and bus driver to boot. She pulled her daughter out during that flap about trans bathrooms. Said, Blah blah blah transgender bathroom? I’m AGIN it. I was at once stunned and delighted to hear this word. Since then I’ve heard it a bajillion times, and it always pleases me.

Rex – my *&^% HughesNet internet wouldn’t let me view your clip. I imagine you hated IRES, HOU, and RVING. Actually, I imagine you didn’t care for any of this. I’ll alert the press.

This puzzle just made me smile all over the place. (Hi, @Joaquin) Way to go, you two! I been had.

clincher 12:25 AM  

I got a nice laugh out of this theme.

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד 12:41 AM  

I am smiling. Liked the puzzle, enjoyed the video, but could not rest until I found out what those places really are. AT LAST.

JW 12:42 AM  

Me too 😁

Mark 12:48 AM  

Enjoyed looking over your shoulder. You should let us do it again. Your thought process was surprisingly like mine. So then how come it takes me at least three times as long to complete each puzzle, even when I'm typing at my fastest?

Greg 12:50 AM  

For what it's worth, I really enjoyed the video solve. I hope you will consider doing that again. Maybe it's an every Wednesday thing?

Mhoonchild 1:08 AM  

I really enjoyed your video, Rex! Your reaction to the puzzle was priceless, and it was enlightening to watch how you worked through the puzzle. The puzzle itself was a drag, as you said.

Jeremy 1:16 AM  

This puzzle was hilarious and this video was hilarious! Rex, you're such as stickler! I do agree that the fill is subpar, but the theme clues literally made me LOL.

Anoa Bob 1:24 AM  

After seeing "Greiner of Shark Tank" at 2D, the arcane typesetter clue for 20A and some model/actress at 15A in the NW, I was thinking "Are you f**king kidding me?!". Then 17A filled in and the solve did a 180. I agree with early posters, it became fun.

I thought an opportunity was missed to clue 36A AT LAST as an Aretha Franklin classic. Or maybe an Etta James version.

As a former sonar tech in the Navy, I think of BLIP (60D) as more of a "Radar signal" than as a "Sonar signal", as clued. For that, I would go with PING.

Tom R 1:28 AM  

I LOVED IT! Knew something was up when the left tributary of the virtin riven which is Reka Mama .... (looked it up later, of course). Got a big laugh out of the 3 theme answers. Need more clue/answers like that. Fun.

Dalston 1:49 AM  

I loved the theme. I think it helps that I'm not nearly as good a solver as Rex and so I didn't cotton on until I had IHAV??TG??????? along the bottom. Think that made the theme more fun to only get it at the last of the theme clues and then go back up to the other two.

Agree the fill was terrible - and also enjoyed the video. Someone called me a lovable dork yesterday, but I think I pale in comparison to Rex in person. I'm sure Rex doesn't want to do this every day (nor would I watch it every day). But as a once a week/month/whatever thing it was great fun.

Unknown 1:52 AM  

I loved watching you solve the puzzle. I’m curious...do you (or anyone else) ever solve only downs or a crosses to make it more challenging on easy days or is always just how fast you can type? On Mondays and Tuesdays I do that. Wednesdays usually don’t work nor the other days of the week.

Alex M 2:05 AM  

I thought this puzzle was hilarious, funniest thing I've solved all year. I LOL'ed IRL. Didn't even realize it was April Fool's until I visited so thanks Rex! Stay safe everyone.

Mike in Mountain View 2:23 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle and the video of Rex doing it. Rex, please do videos once a week.

LMS: I love your alternative cluing by not cluing, leaving the solver literally clueless.

LenFuego 2:29 AM  

What I never understood before watching this video is that it would seem that Rex is on the spectrum. All of a sudden, his slavish obsession with not coloring outside the tried and true crossword construction rules, his fear and loathing of anything new and unfamiliar and of anything that requires thinking outside the box (of having a large vocabulary) or creative problem-solving, and his love of the particular topics with which he is obsessed and odium of the subjects he is not, all start to come together and make sense.

I do agree with him that the fill here is somewhat lifeless, but the idea behind the theme is new, clever and fun, and therefore laudable.

chefwen 3:09 AM  

Thought the puzzle was April fools silly, but fun. Loved Rex’s video, that made it all the more fun.

Husbands new favorite expression is 17A, but he uses a different word for kidding. I’m sure you all know what it is.

I’ll take a rebus tomorrow, thanks in advance.

frankbirthdaycake 3:18 AM  

This was a fun puzzle and a source of some much-needed comic relief.

Frog Prince Kisser 3:21 AM  

@G. Weissman 12:16 AM

Exactly my trouble spots too, but with those hysterical theme answers I’ll forgive this puzzle anything!

manitou 3:33 AM  

Loved the video. I too would like to see you do it more often!

But... I really didn't like, "This better not be an April Fools puzzle." Why be pre-against it? It happens once a year. Out of 365 puzzles, why can't one be April Fools themed? Or groundhog themed? Or Valentines themed? I mean, sure, hate it on its merits if you must, but this was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I, for one, like the entires — all 15 letters without having to twist the vernacular to make them fit. I wish I had gone the extra mile to learn the actual answers. Thanks to those of you who did. I would have preferred the actual answers to be more relevant, like if they were APRIL, FOOLS, and DAY.

Krytykal 3:39 AM  

John Ficarra was my editor at MAD magazine back in the day and he always wrote a funny note on my rejection slips -- so I expected nothing less than a decent chuckle from his puzzle. This one made me LOL.

Pablo 4:00 AM  

As with Rex, I thought it was a cute theme until it just wasn't a theme anymore. Unlike Rex, I think that's fine.

What's not fine is how OLD this puzzle is and how old proper noun clues have been in general lately. There was something of a Golden period back in January, when all things were better, when clues were neutrally aged. Then we regressed. Even the younger celeb references (e.g. Willie GEIST) are entries you could only know from watching cable TV, which is an activity that basically never happens unless at least one person over 50 is in the room.

I will also never be okay with ERIN as a clue for Ireland. At least in the US, I've literally never heard anyone say that, and my grandmother was Irish so you'd think it would've come up. Anyway, cluing it like that is both too easy for people who do crosswords and too hard for people who don't. It is crosswordese that is 100% avoidable. There are many famous ERINs. Just pick one.

I could nitpick things I didn't like, but I did like OWLISH, that was a nice aha. BLOODSTAIN was another interesting one. ENGINEROOM, despite being a Star Trek clue, is a really nice entry. Overall I liked this puzzle quite a bit, and I thought the theme, despite being useless after the first entry, was clever and fun.

Jeff Anderson 5:36 AM  

I really enjoyed watching you solve in the video. It was a lot of fun. I hope you do that again sometime in the future.

Anonymous 5:43 AM  

Mostly enjoyed the theme. I loved the video.

Did anyone else have a problem with the WAN/WANED crossing? I know they're different words, but that still strikes me as bad form.

Shuls 5:52 AM  

I really enjoyed seeing you solve this Rex!
And seeing your home office too.
The Geist/Big A/VSO corner did me in.
One thing about this puzzle - ICU right next to “the Lord taketh away” is a bit too grim for me right now, but then I am a doctor and everything is having negative connotations at the moment.
Thanks again Rex!

Lewis 6:16 AM  
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Lewis 6:19 AM  

Well, as some commenters have already alluded to, the reveal could have been 32D (LOL). That's certainly what I did twice at 17A -- first, when I read the clue (which I thought was made up and genius), then when I realized, after having ARE YOU KID filled in what the answer was going to be. That laugh devolved into a smile for the other two theme answers, but a strong smile along with an inner glee that carried me through this puzzle and made it worth any nit I might have about it. It was a big "Hah!" and boy did it feel good!

Surely I'm not the only one to have RARER before RAWER. And how lovely to have a clue for AT SEA (347 times in the NYT puzzle) that I've never seen before. And though it turns out the theme clues were not made up paradigms to represent out-of-wheelhouse clues, they still were said paradigms and thus very funny to me.

Just right for April Fool's. This puzzle was a [Community, unincorporated, in Bowie County, Texas, 6.6 miles (10.6 km) south of Texarcana]!

Lewis 6:27 AM  

That is, the puzzle was a HOOT!

Karen 6:46 AM  

I loved watching you solve an composting it to my own navigation through this strange puzzle. Oh, please do this more often!! It was truly entertaining at this most difficult time and so much better than covid 19 news conferences!! Stay well..we need your daily critiques��

Karen 7:14 AM  

I meant to say "and comparing" rather than composting..but on second thought maybe this does need to be composted! Rex, I have the same problem on my tablet and phone where the cursor goes to the box that has already been completed, it is so frustrating. Especially when I do the daily mini which my daughter and I compete on using the NYT leaderboard. It really cuts into my finished time. I'm agin it!

kitshef 7:14 AM  

Puzzle has one major problem: 15A, 66A and 2D are exactly as unknown as 17A, 40A and 63A. The answers for those should have been WHUH, DUNNO and PFFT.

Beaglelover 7:17 AM  

@Pablo said, surely you have heard the expression "Erin Go Bragh". It translates "Ireland Forever"!

GILL I. 7:30 AM  

Well this was all Greek to me until I got to the bottom of the barrel. Like @Dalston, I had the I HAVENT and filled in the rest of the GOT A CLUE. I let out a squeak of delight. I LOVED This puzzle. I was scratching my head all the way to my first out loud laugh. Boy oh boy....I'm pretty sure I even said ARE YOU KIDDING ME at 17A. The only thing I know about Hungary is Budapest and that they spell all of their names of anything with a lot of z's and c's.....
Not knowing some of the proper names held me up a tad. Instead of stewing, I just kept filling in those things I knew. This helped with the final solve and my much needed laughter. I wanted more.
Didn't even realize today is April 1st. Ah, yes....April fools. LOL. I think when you've retired, you don't know what time of day or hour it is anymore. Last year I was at BevMo buying some wine. I had a Trader Joe's wine bag with me. The fellow who was adding up my purchase said to me. "By the way, did you hear that TJ'S is closing all of its stores!" I believed him and yelled out "Where the hell am I now supposed to buy my cheese now?"
I'll go back up to watch @Rex. I started to, but he started his written assessment with "not really in the mood for this one" and I got sad. I need laughter and entertainment. I find it every day - without trying too hard....this puzzle was fun and it made me laugh. Try it.

MR. Cheese 7:37 AM  

Gold star to @LMS for the CLUELESS suggestion.

Sgreennyc 7:38 AM  
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Suzie Q 7:40 AM  

I knew it was April 1st and was worried that an attempt at playing a joke on us would fall flat but this one worked for me. Loved it.

We recently had "Hop a cab" then today just "Hop on".
Then we have Doozy again. @ GILL.I, Did you ever look up those cars?

My only disappointments were the clues that required knowledge of current TV shows.
I suppose that obscure typesetting clue was skillful avoidance of a more straightforward one.

Hungry Mother 7:50 AM  

Some wonderful giggles on the themers. I forgot about the date, but it was a quick and fun-filled solve. My blood pressure went down for a short time and I didn’t feel like I needed to scrub my hands. Thanks to all concerned.

albatross shell 7:51 AM  
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Unknown 7:53 AM  

Speaking as one with forbears from Hungary and some appreciation that worthwhile towns in that country really exist, I found this a tiny bit dismissive of Eastern Europe/Russia as places for unknowable things that don't matter. At first I was actually impressed that the constructors would pick a place in Veszprém and had already filled in -varos (város) at the end as that's how many city names end in Hungarian. That said, I appreciate the constructors making fun of obscure answers. We certainly do need a laugh.

QuasiMojo 8:02 AM  

Call me a fool, but I hadn't got a clue that it was April Fool's Day. The first of the month is just the day I owe a TON of gigantic bills so I was already groaning when I arose. This one made me laugh, not out loud, but a hefty chuckle.

Widow is not arcane to me since it's a common term in editing and formatting these days, not just typesetting.

I'm pretty sure that SARIs come in different sizes. A muumuu didn't fit.

The RV joke doesn't really make sense if you spend too much time thinking about it. Most RVs have tiny windows anyway. The clue made me think of the end of Soylent Green when a dying Edward G. Robinson watches that video of "the Great Outdoors." It was his last film, too. IS SAD!

I enjoyed your video Rex. Oddly I had nearly the same reactions you did. I envy the program you are using. The NYT app on my phone seems a lot slower. Although it does skip letters that have already been typed in. I noticed the Newsday one doesn't, so my times on there are usually aeon-ic. The New Yorker program is the worst. Like typing in mucilage.





Foldyfish 8:12 AM  

While I understand Rex's complaints, I had fun. I enjoyed the video more. I'd like to see it become a regular thing. Happy April 1!

Mark F 8:25 AM  

Please keep up the videos. It was fascinating seeing where you move around the grid, and hearing the commentary of your thought process along the way.

mmorgan 8:27 AM  

I didn’t like this at all until I did, and then it was a hoot!

Rex’s snark sounds different on video than it does in print.

Frantic Sloth 8:32 AM  

"Short [small?] line at the top of a column, in typesetting" is a WIDOW. Who coined that word - ELMER Fudd?

mooseltoes118 8:40 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyed Rex's video. Hearing him solving the puzzle brings a whole new dimension to the process.

OffTheGrid 8:44 AM  
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Teedmn 8:45 AM  

I solved online today and did what I almost never do - I looked at all of the across answers first and then the downs. Hence, the joke was lost on me for the first half of the solve. "Aw, geez, I'm going need all the crosses" is what went through my head. And after I started in on the downs, ARE YOU KIDDING ME was the most appropriate thing, what a great spoof (and what a relief!)

I would really have appreciated a Runt-ish clue for 66A, something like "Anti-old-people person who lost his head". @M&A could clue it better than I could. WHO THE HELL KNOWS who Willie GEIST is? Not I, and only because I've seen BIG A clued as 54D was, was I able to avoid a DNF, tsk, tsk. Total Natick territory. I also wondered who 2D and 15A were but crosses were kinder there.

I wanted Scottie to be in ENGINEering but it didn't fit. I wanted to remind Dracula to use really cold water on that stain. And I had fun deciding if 33A was in English or Latin.

Thanks, John and Patrick, and congratulations, Mr. Ficarra, on the debut! I just got the tie in with April Fool's Day, har.

pabloinnh 8:58 AM  

Down in the man cave while my wife does Zumba on the floor overhead, which is interesting. Her class has moved online, like everything else. Even OFL, doing crosswords, which I found very interesting, because he goes all over the place, depending on what he knows right away, and I do the same thing, so now I feel all xword nerdy, except, of course, really slow.

Thought the theme was a hoot when I finally caught on. Also forgot it was April Fool's Day, even if the first thing I did this morning was fool my wife. Serves me right. Some proper names were WOE's but the crosses were fair.

LMS's AGIN story made me think of the first time I actually heard someone say "a-yuh" (yes) around here, and yeah, it's a thing.

Fun puzzle, guys. Thank you. Otter power!

KnittyContessa 9:01 AM  

When I read 17a i almost checked my phone to see if it was Saturday. I quickly figured it out and laughed out loud. Loved this puzzle! It was the fun i needed this morning.

@LMS I did the same thing! Had duffle at first.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

In these unprecedented and trying times, I SO look forward to this puzzle every evening. It proves a little respite in an otherwise scary world. I can't believe that there are some people who actually have the time and energy to be critical of crossword puzzles at times like this. (Talk about your first world problems!)

To all you puzzle creators out there, thank you! And keep them coming.

Too Rex, get a life. Or a reality check. Or both. What an ungrateful curmudgeonly jerk.

Todd 9:09 AM  

I have an issue with engine room. On Star Trek it was always referred to as Engineering not the engine room.

Z 9:10 AM  

I did the AVCX puzzle last night and got a LOL from it upon sussing out the theme. Then again this morning. That’s two consecutive puzzles that made me laugh at the “aha!” moment. Really, how much more can you ask for from our daily entertainments?

I see Rex’s point on the fill, but the theme put me in such a good mood that I barely noticed while solving (IRES ired me, but the rest slipped by). I did enjoy the running commentary of the video. I wonder how much hearing Rex as opposed to reading Rex softens people’s response to what he’s saying. He’s no less harsh about the fill today, but it seems the general response so far hasn’t been as much “why so mean?”

@LenFuego and @Sgreennyc - Ever here the phrase “telling on yourself?”

Crimson Devil 9:10 AM  

4/1 or not, enjoyed the levity, and the video!!
No idea re WIDOW, but didn’t slow solve down.
Whas WIDOW ?

TJS 9:20 AM  

Had A E YO KIDDING E for 17 across. Got up for a coffee refill,took another look at the puzzle and got a big smile on my face, which stayed in place thru the entire fill. April Fool indeed.
Let's all give thanks that we are not sharing quarantine space with OFL. Or having to participate in his online classes. They must be a real riot.

Nancy 9:22 AM  

An inspired idea! The best April Fool's puzzle I've seen since that one where the cars (Downs) go in two directions. This is really brilliant.

I was hate, hate, hating this puzzle (which, of course, is the whole idea) until I saw the trick, and then I started love, love, loving it. My "Aha Moment" was huge. And the theme clues are such an outstanding parody of the worst obscurity that you've ever seen in a crossword puzzle in your life. The choosing of them -- all of them leading to exactly the sentiment expressed in the theme answer -- could not have been better or funnier. As you know, I tend to remember nothing, but this is a puzzle I know I'll remember for a very long time!

Joaquin 9:26 AM  

@Beaglelover (7:17) said...surely you have heard the expression "Erin Go Bragh".

During this time of quarantine I am more often hearing "Erin go braghless."

albatross shell 9:26 AM  



Great video. Rex is very entertaining in person. More, more. I had a math prof like that once. Full of quiet asides that would make a couple of us have to stifle laughter while the rest of the class did not react at all.

Yesterday I mentioned it was 2 days in a row with a consrtuctor's name in the puzzle. Today no name, but there was a homophonic reference to his business, MADD.

I paused at the middle of RAWER, but decided to follow my gut and put in W. Yay gut.

I got the third themer first and a good ha. Then enjoyed going back to see if I could guess the first two with the crosses that were in. HEck before HELL because of Grey Lady considerations. Boohiss thought.

The first theme answer seems to reference April Fool's Day. The second themer seems to answer the first themer's question. The third themer seems to be a crossworder's self-referential meta-comment on the situation. Is there some kind of Goldilocks progression there? Probably not. But...

I tried to post this earlier. Got a broke orange B with the comment something went wrong. Tried a second time and got a cut off post which I will delete when or if this gets through.

Was CLAY the SWEDE's weakness?

Be careful out there.




Petsounds 9:29 AM  

What could be better at a time like this than a puzzle like this one? So much fun, and I've said those very sentences out loud while solving other puzzles.

With the exception of the dubious RAWER and IRES, the fill was just fine. But with a puzzle providing such laughs, who cares? I'm surprised at the number of people who've never heard of Willie Geist, son of the great Bill Geist, who did some of the very best "CBS Sunday Morning" stories for a couple of decades.

Fun, distracting, and no need for a homemade mask or latex gloves. Thank you, John and Patrick!

Frantic Sloth 9:31 AM  

I kept seeing the clue as "Rocket(te)s on scoreboards" and wondered if they were referring to kickboxing. Just briefly, but there it is.

Exactly who refers to Angels Stadium as the BIGA?
I've just never heard it outside of Crossworld and would really like to know.

It's about time somebody used my inner dialogue* as actual answers, and they can add one more about whatever in the name of god, the saints, and all that is holy this theme is: NOEARTHLYIDEA (see what I did there?)��
Even after reading Rex's Mama, Papa, Baby bear "explanation", I'm all, like, "doh!"

Still, I found it a little easy for a Wednesday (it is Wednesday, right???) but I enjoyed the RODE!


*For those of you chompin' at the bit to yell "monologue!", in this scenario I'm talking with the puzzle. And yes, it talks back...if thumbing its nose counts.

Mickey Bell 9:31 AM  

I didn’t like the theme either until I really thought about what it took to figure out that the answers ALL HAVE THE SAME NUMBER OF LETTERS! Also — they’re rather common phrases. One of my favorite themes thus far in 2020. No relevance to April Fool’s Day from what I can tell.

JadeNYC14 9:32 AM  

When I hit ISSAD and then ATSEA...I thought woof...Rex is gonna hate that! And then I watched the video and laughed out loud. Thanks for the video. I loved it! I think you should create a "meh" scale versus "easy / medium / hard".

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

I like the video! Cool to see your thought process and real time comments, especially hearing you basically say "are you kidding me." More videos please! (once you no longer have the technical issues at the beginning ;p )

Klazzic 9:39 AM  

Loved the video, Rex. Outstanding! Encore, encore, encore.

Christopher Jones 9:39 AM  

Oh Rex, you’re so pompous on screen but it works. Nice to see how you solve these puzzles so fast.

Nancy 9:39 AM  

Wonderful suggestion, @kitshef (7:14). It would have made the puzzle even funnier. Fairer, too. I had the same reaction to those three names that you did.

David 9:50 AM  

widows and orphans have everyday usage in the publishing of both books and music; the widow is the end line of a paragraph on the next page, or the final note of a phrase on the next staff (or page), orphans are the beginning of a paragraph at the bottom of a page, or the beginning of a phrase at the end of a staff (or page). With the advent of electronic publishing and the belief that knowing how to use a piece of software is equivalent to knowing the conventions of typesetting or music setting, you see these annoying errors (and many, many more) all over the place.

I found this way too easy for a Wednesday, but I also forgave "ires" and such because it was just good, silly fun.
And now that I know the subtext I'm going to have to turn to google maps.

TJS 9:51 AM  

Just watched the video. My reaction is that I have to give Rex credit for just putting himself out there, unvarnished, unedited."This is me." That takes a certain amount of courage given the amount of criticism he takes on a daily basis, including from yours truly. And I have to say that the NYT puzzle and this blog are the highlites of my morning, now more than ever. Thanks to all.
Re. the final cross of my solve,54 down,66 across: glad "G" comes early in the alphabet.

Z 9:56 AM  

@QuasiMojo - I don’t think that’s an RV joke, I think that’s an RVING slogan. I googled it, though, and it seems like more of a sunroom slogan.

I knew WIDOW from doing page layout. Basically, you don’t want a paragraph to end with a sentence fragment on the next page, “all alone” at the top of the next page. I worked on the college newspaper before there were Macs and PCs. We would physically layout the pages, using xacto knives to cut text. God, now I feel old. OTOH, my grandfather was a small town newspaperman and he actually set type, so what I was doing was more advanced than what he did. Yowser.

@Todd - Yep. I think ENGINE ROOM was used, but ENGINEering seems far more canonical.

@TJS - It was a long time ago, now, but I did once look at Rex’s online reviews. I would break it down this way, good students adored him, but students who were, shall we say, less invested in their education, hated him. Imagine signing up for a class on graphic novels thinking it would be an easy A and discovering that you were expected to approach “comics” the same way you would Shakespeare or Chaucer.

@albatross shell - You left us hanging.

@G. Weissman - “natick me with a spoon” wins my Comment of the Day Award.

Ann 10:01 AM  

Totally agree with OffTheGrid, 8:44!

Z 10:06 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - The BIG A used to have a BIG A in left field. I guess it’s in the parking lot now (I don’t remember seeing it the one time I went to a game there). I don’t know if the stadium is called the BIG A as much anymore, but it was automatic for me.

Frantic Sloth 10:09 AM  

Well, big thanks to the commentariat for clearing up my idiocy...for the nonce. (Anyone else love that word?)

Naturally if I had any desire to actually learn something on my own, I could have gone the extra step of doing a WIDOW research, but who has time for that?

Wait...

oh.


@Teedmn 845
@Todd 909
Ditto! But, I think only a Trekker would notice (or care to) the difference.

albatross shell 10:10 AM  

@Z
See 926am. Forgot to put in my comment on RVING. It's a thing I think. It was what Got Rex going. Fill is a bit blah there.

What? 10:14 AM  

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed out loud before at a crossword puzzle. Ordinarily, I would protest about a Monday on a Wednesday but who wants to work hard to get to a good laugh. Maybe Shortz was saving this until the virus news got really bad. Maybe 200,000 dead, and that’s if we do everything right? Are you kidding me?

Whatsername 10:15 AM  

Oh my what a hoot! The pure genius of the first theme answer being my exact thought when I saw the clue. Brilliant! And LOL funny. If I gave it a title, it would be “Lighten Up.” OK maybe the fill wasn’t dazzling, but it was just what I needed. Thanks John, Patrick and Will. And @Rex’s video was enjoyable too, would be fun to see that as a recurring feature.

Bet I wasn’t the only one who misspelled DUFFEL the first time. ATLAST always reminds me of the Obamas dancing at the first inaugural ball, NEWAT the job but so full of hope and promise. You might hear someone say AGIN around my neck of the words, also the home of Brad Pitt who I keep hoping will someday be cast in the role of RHETT Butler in a remake of GWTW. He’s perfect for it.

Unknown 10:19 AM  

Don't know much about bridge, the card game, but I'm pretty sure cables are used on suspension bridges. Always love when I recognize something that Rex doesn't. Otherwise, I'm with Mark - similar thought process but it takes me lots more time, even without the snarky comments. Fun to hear about the 3 bears hidden theme, although I still don't get the point exactly. Interesting to watch Rex blitz through a puzzle. Happy April Fool's Day! Be well! - newbie

CDilly52 10:26 AM  

@Anoa Bob. Thank you for pointing out the BLIP v Ping distinction. My husband corrected me one time when he was explaining the radar equipment on a USAF fighter plane. I said something about telling the difference between “those little pings” and he said “Fighter planes are not submarines. Sonar pings, radar blips.” Or something very close to that. I thought of it as I filled in BLIP this morning.

Cassieopia 10:27 AM  

Fortune must be smiling upon me today - after a long hiatus, I chose this day to return to a great puzzle, and to Inaugural Video Day on the blog! Loved the comments and asides (Rex perfectly articulated my thoughts when hitting upon IRES), plus I learned a new approach to puzzle solving. More videos, please! And thank you to John and Patrick for creating a genuine LOL moment for me this morning. What a wonderful escape.

CDilly52 10:30 AM  

I don’t often laugh out loud when solving but did today and that is worth the price of admission. Added fun was figuring out the other ones! Came across Willie GEIST while surfing for news on Sunday and I learned BIG A in a very recent puzzle so I escaped that trouble spot. Good fun today.

Kathy 10:30 AM  

Same “Natick with a spoon” as the others, but I got lucky at last and correctly guessed the three missing letters.

I thought the themers were hilarious, and that was before I found out they were actual places, thereby adding another layer to the theme. It would never have occurred to me to look them up. A rookie oversight, I won’t get fooled AGIN.

It was all worth it when I went to read Rex and encountered his video. I loved it! What a hoot to follow his thought process and listen to his pleasant and humorous running commentary. Thanks for coming into our homes today, Rex, and stop by AGIN real soon, y’hear?

webwinger 10:30 AM  

Didn’t watch the video yet—I have trouble hearing audio in clips like this unless I use a particular set of headphones which were not at hand this morning. I did, however, really enjoy the puzzle. Smelled something fishy early on because it seemed very unlikely that the place names connected with the obviously theme-related clues would all be 15 letters long. Then remembered the date, had the satisfying aha-moment, and with just a handful of letters from crosses was able to complete all three themers. After that it was a pretty quick solve despite the several obscure PPP entries. BTW, I’ve long known WIDOW from word processing (there are also “orphans”), but thought the clue was excessively arcane.

After reading @RP’s written comments I googled Papa, Hungary, and Mama River in Russia—both answered to the descriptions provided. No luck searching Baby or Nana in Poland. Can anyone clarify on this point? Anyone see a reason for the three bears alternate universe theme?

Joy yesterday at finding the barrier to accessing Rexworld gone on my computer was tempered when I found the problem persisted on my phone. Not a big deal, but I do hope that gets better too.

BSA*: For those frustrated by the slipperiness of typing in Blogger, I suggest composing your comments in a text editor (Apple’s Notes works well, and syncs beautifully between iPhone and Mac), then Select, CTRL-C (or Command-C), then CTRL-V in the Blogger box. Works every time for me, and if it did not I would still not have lost any work.

*Blog Service Announcement

Jay 10:30 AM  

I thought it was a fun puzzle.
Thank you Rex for posting the video.
As an aspiring and yet unpublished constructor, I agree with you that the puzzle contains a lot of junk entries.

Please do it again from time to time. I would be very interested in seeing your thought process with a Friday or Saturday puzzle.

Barbara S. 10:33 AM  

I loved this puzzle -- highly entertaining. The gimmick stayed fresh for me throughout the solve.

BTW, there's a good horizontal word string directly above I HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE:
BAT HOP ON CABLE
I guess "hang from" would have been better but I still like it.

I had a mini-Natick at that problem spot in the SW, and had to run the alphabet on the BIG A/GEIST cross. But then was mad at myself because I'm sure we've had the BIG A recently.

I see there's a variety of takes on Rex's video, and here's mine. I think its strength was that there was some nuance, much more than in a write-up. It shows Rex as critical, yes, but I thought less cranky and doctrinaire than he often seems in print. When he first fills in WHO THE HELL KNOWS (2nd themer), he says "Yes, that's good," although he's critical of it later. He chuckles at one point; he says about something else "It's cute here." So, just not so monolithically negative as I suspect a written review would have been.

@albatross shell 9:26 and 10:10
I was sure "Clay" and "the Swede" was a boxing reference.

Perry 10:39 AM  

Rex - Your utter and complete lack of a sense of humor is almost funny. Almost, but not quite.

Newboy 10:40 AM  

Quick & easy

And wonderful for the first day of this month by Will who often is criticized here for “wrong day to run this one!” puzzle placement. Some great cluing as well made this a joy though the question mark for 13D was overkill — without it, I’d have spewed coffee on the iPad. Maybe a concession to the Wednesdayness?

It’s going to be a fun morning on Wikipedia for many solvers since we gotta believe that answers really exist for today’s themers. Today I’ll read Rex, xwordinfo, and posting above before I head out on Safari. Not a bad plan before my first pre-luncheon nap; after that I HAVENT GOT A CLUE😷

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Hey Z, yes the lighting could have been better, but your video was fun to watch. Please post more.

Rob 10:45 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. Just what I needed this AM.

:-)

Adam 10:46 AM  

I echo the others: keep the videos coming, Rex!

RooMonster 10:46 AM  

Hey All !
Har, what's not to like about this puz? Obscure trivia (which is a no-no for a puz in the NYT), funny answers that you might have actually said as you read the clue. Good stuff. Just missing a clue about a plant genus.

So, apparently, the obscure clues have actual answers. I haven't gone to xwordinfo yet, but according to Rex and his TWITTERATI, the answers are PAPA, MAMA, BABY. @LMS says they're PAPA, MAMA, NANA. I like the BABY one better, as you can correlate it to the Three Bears, as in the clues were "unbearable"? A stretch, I know!

LOL'ed at Rex's ISSAD comment! "Please don't be ISSAD." Really really wanted him to quip, "Man, this IS SAD!" Up your commentary game, Rex! 😋

Fill not any worse than an other puz. I enjoyed this little break of fun from all the YOYO stuff going on.

Would say Stay Home, but no one's listening. Maybe Darwin is just thinning the herd.

Two F's
END UP WANEF
RooMonster
DarrinV

Eben 10:58 AM  

Love the video! Would like to see more.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

@Krytykal:
John Ficarra was my editor at MAD magazine

What?? The Usual Gang of Idiots were penciled? Who knew!

Just out of curiosity, what's with the multiple comment deletions? Is there some extreme non-PC theme hidden, too? Just the instigation, of course, not the content of the offending comments. :)

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

why do i do this to myself? can't ever stand their april 1st puzzles

L E Case 11:09 AM  

Do the video again tomorrow! Loved it. Put some heat on that shoulder to help alleviate!

Michael Page 11:18 AM  

Loved the gimmick, not focused on the fact of the date. But had no idea of the sub theme, truly cool, but perhaps better held for a couple of weeks from now, when we hunt for eggs.

albatross shell 11:28 AM  

Concerning LMS's "ended up up ended": Is there a word for a palindrome by words instead of letters? Wordindrome? Amusem?

@Barbara S. 1033am
The answer to my question is no. Borg actually won more French Opens than any other major. His weakness was the US Open. No wins. Also no Australian Open wins but when he lost here he often did not compete there. Australian Open was last but is now first. The Lord giveth too.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Rex is such a unmitigated jerk. We need someone else to do this.

Carola 11:30 AM  

I was looking forward to an April Fool's puzzle....in a rare year when I actually knew the date...and got a kick out of the theme. Also laughed at Dracula's regularly having to deal with a BLOOD STAIN on that snowy shirtfront, probably without the aid of OxiClean - an occupational hazard I hadn't previously considered.

Happy April, everyone!

Ethan Taliesin 11:33 AM  

I want to try to figure out what the Three Bears have to do with April Fools, but know if I invest too much time and it turns out there's no point (which I suspect), I will come down with a bad case of the IRES.

aeevans 11:35 AM  

Loved the video!

CaryInBoulder 11:35 AM  

I’m always way down the list since I do the puzzle after breakfast on Mountain Time. Just wanted to say that I agree with all the comments, even the ones that contradict each other. Willie and the Shark Lady were my biggest WhoTFs, but overall I absolutely appreciated the laughs.

I really enjoyed seeing Rex in action and agree that his mumbled asides make a lot more sense out loud than when written down. Back at ya, Rex, from Boulder!

Rachel 11:46 AM  

I loved the video version! As a very casual solver it was super helpful to me to see your process

Tom 11:59 AM  

I loved watching you solve and hearing your exasperation in real time -- hope you do it again!

Barbara S. 12:07 PM  

@albatross shell 11:28
Thanks for setting me straight. Was I was ever barking up the wrong sport! I actually hate boxing and know very little about it, but I once had a friend who was a rabid fan. He would go on and on in praise of Clay/Ali and thinking about it this morning, I thought it was quite plausible that early in his career CC might have fought someone named The Swede!

Now, tennis. In my view, a much more watchable and satisfying game of finesse. Elegant, even, depending on the player. But, hey, I'd defend the rights of every boxing fan. My friend was a great guy.

BarbieBarbie 12:18 PM  

I still have my childhood collection of MAD Magazine (most excellent humor sample, from a Star Trek send-up: KIRK-"I'm headed to the bathroom." SPOCK-"to the bathroom?? I can't believe my ears!")and since these constructors are MADers I was so excited to fold the puzzle together and find a hidden theme...! But it was not to be, unless I missed it. Still, I enjoyed this puzzle and its Easter Egg of a different sort.

jberg 12:19 PM  

I put on Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra just before I came here, and don't want to interrupt it -- so I'll go back and look at Rex's video in about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, just three things to say:

1) I loved the puzzle. It's true that once you get one theme answer the other two are too easy, but it's worth it for the fun of getting the first. The only variant I can think of is to have the first one impossibly hard, the second AS EASY AS PIE (I'm too lazy to find a 15-letter equivalent), clued as "long skinny fish" or "some early Holy Roman Emperor," and the third something average, if you can think of an appropriate answer.

2) So did anyone spontaneously figure out that PAPA MAMA BABY thing? Everyone who's mentioned it so far heard about it from someone else.

3) I agree that BIG A and GEIST are a bit obscure (though we've had BIG A with that clue fairly recently), but if you don't know VSO you need to drink more cognac.

Ms. Goldberg 12:23 PM  

I enjoyed this a lot! Rex, you need to take time off or start watching more zoo videos and learning some new (maybe useless to you) information. As April Fools Day goes, I'm not in the mood for pranks or jokes about health or safety. But this puzzle hit the spot! When I figured out "Who the Hell Knows" I laughed out loud. We need to do more of that, alone in our homes.

WhatDoing 12:23 PM  

Loved this one. Solved by completely ignoring the theme clues and figuring out the joke at the end. Totally forgot it was April Fools Day until I did this. Levity is appreciated right now.

the redanman 12:28 PM  

YOU SHOULD VIDEO SOLVE MORE OFTEN - that was great.

You and I had very similar reactions in the same places at very many the same answers.

Of note - I am a rotten, stinking curmudgeon as well

Cheers this was fun

puzzlehoarder 12:30 PM  

After spending most of the morning reading up on the awful news I was hoping for a difficult Wednesday as a distraction. Instead I got a Monday level solve with a gag theme. I completely forgot it was April Ist.

I did read the 17A clue but only after I had put in so much of the fill that the answer was obvious. The rest of the puzzle went in as a themeless. I didn't read the clues for the other two theme entries as the phrases were so easy to recognize with only a fraction of the crosses.

No problem in the SW. I've never heard of this GEIST person but we just recently had BIGA and VSO has been around forever.

At a time like this I would much prefer some real distraction over lame dad humor. Papa, Mama, and Baby, why? Disappointed in Chicago.

jberg 12:39 PM  

OK, I saw the video. Nice! Not every day, though.

JC66 12:55 PM  

@Barbara S

Re: The Swede

You weren't far off. Ingemar Johansson was a Swedish heavyweight boxier who was world champion in 1959/60, although he preceded Cassius Clay by a few years.

Smith 1:02 PM  

@Z 9:56
In hs graphic arts we set type (California job case, anyone?). We printed tickets to events, graduation announcements, the hs paper and literary mag. It was fun... one of many skills I learned that aren't much use today!

Masked and Anonymous 1:04 PM  

@RP: Really enjoyed yer little TV show. All the very best to yer hero nurse sister in Colorado.
Liked yer alternate gut-reaction 17-A answer of "NOWAYIKNOWTHAT", even tho only 14 long.

Puz was kinda funny, plus the fillins were pretty smooth, other than that slightly desperate IRES/ISSAD area. Sooo … that'll do. Happy April Fools Day.

staff weeject pick: HOU. Better clue: {Houdini beginning a comeback??}.

fave fillins: DUFFELBAG. TUSCAN. ENGINEROOM. LULU.
fave themer: WHOTHEHELLKNOWS.
fave ironic themer: IHAVENTGOTACLUE. [Yeah you do.]

Thanx for gangin up on us, Mad John and Patrick.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Pamela 1:07 PM  

I also really enjoyed the video. it was great to watch Rex’s solving method and hear him think out loud. I hope hears us and it becomes a regular thing.

I loved this! So silly and fun! I solve in the real paper paper, where the title is not printed except for Sunday, so had NO IDEA about the theme until the first answer fell.

Like @Gill, I didn’t get it until 63A, had a good laugh, then went back and filled in the other two lickety split. Interesting that the real names are The Three Bears ;/ I agree with Rex that much of the fill is problematic (RAWER is the worst, IRES next!). OWLISH is a thing, in literature at least. I see big glasses and an unfocused stare, a person whose mind is so busy that the outer world is relegated to the background. Somehow remembered WIDOWS, wore minis back in the day but SLIT didn’t occur to me until late in the game. Recently re-read Dracula just before seeing a hilarious spoof Off Broadway, so BLOODSTAIN felt fresh and very funny. Cheated on Google for BIGA as neither that nor GEIST were possible otherwise, so a Natick for me. Had PACS before PTAS, misspelled duffle...

But all is forgiven because it was just So Much Fun.

Phipps44 1:22 PM  

Agree!

agarlock 1:45 PM  

Enjoyed the video solve!

Music Man 2:02 PM  

Enjoyed seeing Rex do the puzzle. More videos!!!

Unknown 2:19 PM  

The video of the solve was very enjoyable. I loved hearing reactions during the solve and comparing the trek through the grid to my own.

RickO 2:31 PM  

Rex,

Loved the video - you should do those more often!

RickO 2:31 PM  

Rex,

Loved the video - you should do those more often!

Barbara S. 2:33 PM  

@JC66 12:55

Yikes, that's a bit eerie. I must really be channeling Norm, my boxiphile buddy of old. Ingemar was certainly a fine, strapping lad. Did you see in the section about his third bout with Patterson that he sparred with Clay in preparation for the match? And it seems that Clay more or less wiped the floor with him. So, to repeat @albatross shell's question from 9:26: Was CLAY the SWEDE'S weakness? Well, maybe not in a general sense but during that sparring round -- YES!

Thanks, @JC66 (oink!)

bertoray 2:43 PM  

Add my voice to the choir requesting more videos.

bauskern 2:52 PM  

This puzzle made me laugh out loud. We need more laughter during times like this. Rex's tedious complaining got old a couple of years ago, but it is particularly tone deaf given today's situation. I used to think he was just deliberately trolling us. Now I think he has some deep rooted mental issues. *sigh*

Aketi 2:58 PM  

@Rex, your video solve made me laugh. Gave me something to watch besides Cuomo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training vids. The Tiger King is not ringing my chimes. Wishing the best for your sister.

I had the theme at ARE YOU K...

GILL I. 3:34 PM  

@Suzie Q....I did! now I know DOOZY comes from the stylish Duesenberg. Thank you for that....
@Aketi. My daughter recommended watching "Tiger King." She and I usually gel on most everything. I lasted about 5 minutes watching. I'm back to OZARK.

OK...So I know there are lots of very smart people on this blog. Can someone please tell me why every single store within a 20 mile radius of the Capital of California has run out of toilet paper, Kleenex, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes? Oh, I know people need them and probably think they have to stay indoors for about a year....but this is insane. Do stores let a single person haul the whole blinking load off? I'm trying to buy for some friends who really can't go outside. Does April Fool's last for months? Dang....I'm glad I ordered a bidet - should arrive soon. I'll keep you posted.

Frantic Sloth 3:44 PM  

@z Thank you. I guess I assumed the clue referred to people actually calling it "the Big A", which is something I haven't witnessed. I've never been, but it looks lovely on TV - is it?

Nancy 3:53 PM  

I thought it has the right tone for April 1 in the year of COVID-19. “Who the hell knows?” seems to be a daily theme. Not to mention “Are you kidding me?!!?”

Anonymoose 4:15 PM  

@Gill I. Please spare us the bidet updates. HAR!

Uke Xensen 4:21 PM  

Funny. I enjoyed it.

MGTopAgent 5:06 PM  

Really enjoyed your video - it was fun to watch somoeone else solve.... interesting that some things you did not know i knew instantly and vice versa.
I thought the puzzle was fun... did not object to fill as much as you except for ires.... that is not even a proper word or usage. Also, cable is a very important part of a suspension bridge - twisted cable was invented by Roebling and used the very first time in the Brooklyn Bridge. My kid did his thesis on that topic so no way I would not know it instantly. The town of Roebling near Florence, NJ is named for the inventor. Also, I love to watch Shark Tank - it is also fun.

Fred Wollam 5:27 PM  

Wait... VSO is a Natick? I'll forgive you that... Rex, though, has killed for less.

John T. Vian 5:52 PM  

It was a touch of "Mad Magazine" humor and very funny. I love it!!! Couldn't have been on a better day...

Elaine 6:33 PM  

I loved the video! So interesting watching you solve

Giovanni 6:37 PM  

Why do Americans hate bidets and find them disgusting? What's better about not washing your butt? How isn trying to clean it with a thin piece of tissue sanitary?

Z 6:50 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - The stadium itself is nice. Being a midwestern boy with lots of games seen at Tiger Stadium, Wrigley Field, and old Comiskey Park, the expansive parking lot was a bit off-putting.

jae 6:55 PM  

Easy-medium. I don’t usually bother my bride with xword stuff but I read her the 17a clue and answer and she cracked up. Humor is a good thing these days.

@LMS, Whatsername, et. al. - me too for DUFFle

@Rex - delightful video, I hope you do more.

...and I liked it.

pabloinnh 7:27 PM  

@Frantic Sloth and @Z-
I've been to The Big A, which is nice enough, but I was astounded to see that they had found a parking lot big enough to hold a major league stadium. Just wow.

Joe 7:56 PM  

I enjoyed both the puzzle and the video. As a writing teacher, I’ve often noted how students seem to take the same response when I say it to them in conference as far more supportive than when I write it on their papers. I felt the same here about Rex’s commentary—what often seems snarky in his writing just felt casual and fun as a more off the cuff response.

Anonymous 8:15 PM  

Really like the video. Please do it again.

James Sie 9:14 PM  

Have to say, I really enjoyed watching you solve the puzzle. It could be a fun monthly feature.It was like a tutorial on how Rex Does It. And your oral commentary is almost exactly like your written one. To thine own self be true!

TJS 9:28 PM  

@Z, Managed the Cubby Bear across the street from Wrigley, when it was day games only. One day I'll share some great stories with you about delivering drinks to the radio guys in the 7th inning.

Z 10:05 PM  

@pabloinnh7:27 - Perfect.

@TJS9:28 - I imagine you have lots of stories. Spent several summer days drinking Old Style tall boys in the bleachers. We could actually Amtrak/El to and from Kalamazoo, so no worries about Chicago traffic, but not a lot of time to enjoy the neighborhood. The best cheap seats anywhere. I’ve been there other times, but those summer college days were the best.

Anonymous 10:56 PM  

I very much enjoyed the video and your contemporaneous commentary. Please make this an occasional feature!

Z 11:04 PM  

Damn.

rushscott 7:19 AM  

Loved that you did the video - I too hope to see many more. Funny how you went "slow" - haha - way too fast for me for sure. I liked the puzzle a lot, as I always correlate my joy to my ability to fill it in correctly! Please keep up the great work you do on this, although try to be a bit more positive! These are crossword puzzles! Great shout out to your sister as well - everyone on the new front line needs our support in any way possible.

Unknown 11:46 AM  

Michael- loved the video. So interesting how you solved & your thinking/commentary. I’m from Boulder - where does your sister work? Sending her lots of good thoughts & thanks.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

I loved your video solve/commentary. I wish it was a regular thing.

Ben 5:28 AM  

I guess the joke is that you need to.. _bear_ with the constructor?

Jack Lee 8:31 AM  

WHAHAHAHA! Only got round to doing it today, and missed the 1 April connection! I thought it was fun.

Burma Shave 11:09 AM  

SLIT INHALF

How BIGA BLOODSTAIN in THE ENGINEROOM!
And Scotty’s WIDOW ENDs UP in THE I.C.U.
She got MADD ATLAST, it ISSAD to presume.
WHOTHEHELLKNOWS? SARI, IHAVEN’TGOTACLUE.

--- FERN GEIST

This one's for you, Carl.

spacecraft 11:27 AM  

I AMNOT amused. Here in Syndiland the significance of the date eluded me or I'd have been on the lookout. I read the clue for 17a and immediately thought a variant of the answer: yougottabeKIDDINGME. Alas, that's 19. The last one, I guess, is sort of a "revealer:" IHAVENTGOTACLUE. That elicited a quiet chuckle, but wasn't nearly enough for the fill I had to slog through. However, to give props, I had "no idea" that there were ACTUAL PLACES for those clues, or that they spelled out a family. I thought they were all made-up nonsense. For example, "Irkutsk, Russia," which I thought peculiar...aren't they two separate countries? Anyway, points for that, though it meant nothing to me.

Let's not talk about the fill; it ISSAD. Overall the solve was joyless. LORI Greiner is DOD: all that and rich too! Please do not do this again. Bogey.

rondo 1:01 PM  

It did NOT occur to me to look up the meta answers. Glad somebody did. WHOTHEHELLKNOWS otherwise?

You could make a CASE for the four corners.

A nod to SWEDEs in the NE.

Yeah baby CARA Delevingne apparently BATs for the other team.

Enjoyable. Hope we ENDUP with more meta puzzles, like the WSJ Fridays.

leftcoaster 2:07 PM  

Easier than yesterday's, but much more amusing.

Four long downs were pretty good, but not my INTENTION to leave a BLOODSTAINed DUFFLEBAG in Scotty's ENGINEROOM.

Needed crosses for CARA Delevingne (nice name) and Willie (Zeit) GEIST.

This was fun.

Diana, LIW 2:21 PM  

A glorious bit of insouciant hilarity for a dreary, cold, and rainy day #55 of distance and anti-social ennui.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for something to happen that makes sense

rainforest 3:28 PM  

I watched @Rex and was not amused. What stuck out to me was his total lack of enjoyment while solving; no guffaw at the first themer; not reading clues; looking for things to show his IRE. Same as with his written posts. I would not miss his not doing this again.

As for the puzzle, the first themer sucked me in and I was keen to get an impossible to spell Hungarian name. Then, Ha Ha, for real. Neat idea. To find out that there were "real" answers and they were Papa, Mama, and Baby was so cool.

Because the theme was so quirky/funny/good, I didn't even care about the quality of the fill, except maybe for IRES, but big deal. The April Fools angle was lost on me, as I'm sure it was on all the Syndies, but even retroactively. pretty risible. W/o on DUFFle, my only one.
Memorable puzzle, and it didn't make me MAD.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

This puzzle was sarcasm at its best. Especially on the relative heels of Saturday's HAUDENOSAUNEE offering.

Cue Dramarama.

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