Today's blog is coming to you live from the frozen tundra of the Swedish wilds, where a moose once bit my sister. Mind you, moose bites can be quite nasty...
Nah, just kidding. It is April 1, and it's not every year that April Fool's falls on a Thursday, so I was expecting some high level tricksy stuff. Which we got, but not to the level of a Puzzle #5 at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which is always the hardest of the weekend.
Our theme today takes those innocent 3-letter answers that pepper our grids, and turns them into parts of clues for the longer theme answers, which themselves disguise the action by using classic crossword clue bits. Thus, 19A: 6-Across, with "out" - takes DEV (Actor Patel of "Slumdog Millionaire") and puts it before "out" to make "devout," the clue for VERYRELIGIOUS.
I am so in love with this theme. 33A: Inits. before 9-Across - Put "inits" before ELF to get "in itself" - ESSENTIALLY. 40A: 37-Across, in slang - take MMI and put it in the middle of "slang" to get "slamming" - BADMOUTHING. And finally, 50A: 64-65-Across and others - STE and PBR before "others" gives you "stepbrothers" - BLENDEDFAMILY.
Wow. Or even MYGOD (1A: "Unbelievable!").
Meanwhile, there's still room for GOOVERSEAS, something we'd all like to be able to do in the near future (buy your airplane tickets now?) and DAVIDLYNCH.
And the clues in the fill are great too. We get the pair of 18A: [sooo funny!] (LMAO) and 26A: "Sooo funny..." (HARHAR) - note the use of punctuation to make the earnest sense of the first and the sarcastic sense of the second. Also 10D: Occasion for a roast (LUAU) and 50D: Occasions for roasts, for short (BBQS).
There are a couple of fun QMCs with 5D: Quite a job, you have to admit? (DOORMAN) and 48D: Strong luster? (SATYR).