Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016, Peter Gordon


It's been a pleasure being a part of your day, lo, these last three years, and it pains me to say that it must now come to an end. Not because we have lost interest - indeed, I think we have just begun to hit our stride with this month-to-month handoff of responsibility - but because DUETOBUDGETCUTS THENEWYORKTIMES CROSSWORDPUZZLE WILLENDTOMORROW. Yup. That's what it says. Read it and weep. But, well, we've got this one last one, so let's review it, shall we?

It's a very tidy theme Mr. Gordon has come up with - fitting natural language into four grid-spanning fifteens. For that smooth and high-quality theme we suffer a few slings and arrows - OCEANARIA (62A: Large marine fish tanks) and ANOSMIA (52A: Inability to sense smells) may be valid words (both return fewer than 500,000 results in Google, while "Miley Cyrus," by contrast, spits out more than 85 million), but they feel just ever-so-slightly forced today, don't they? IONA (37A: The Gaels of collegiate sports) is unknown to this solver, but although ROUE (2D: Marquis de Sade, e.g.) and RRS (50A: Pennsylvania and others, Abbr.) are also quite crosswordsy, I don't mind them so much today. Maybe it's the cluing, maybe I was just put in such a good mood by the theme, or maybe it's that I'm looking forward to getting down to Stamford tonight for the ACPT!

Or maybe, just maybe, it's because of all the other quality fill. I enjoyed CLOISONNE (15A: Decorative enamelware), CADRE (49D: Military group), and BROCADE (5D: Fancy fabric) not least for their "Frenchiness." WEBINAR (42D: Online course) is nice and modern, and RIOTACT (56A: Vigorous reprimand) reminds me of my sister, and that's always a good thing. :) (Hi Sue!)

And speaking of sisters, 1A: Sister brand of Scope (ORALB) gets a rating of C-. We generally turn our heads from commercialism here at Horace and Frances and Colum, so if you want a good grade on 1A, you'll try to amuse us rather than sell to us.

But let's end on a better note, shall we? That Milton BERLE sure was a funny guy, and he's quoted well in 32D: Comedian who married Joyce Mathews in 1941, divorced her in 1947 and married her again in 1949 "because she reminded me of my first wife." HA!

Thumbs up from this April Fool!

- Horace


  1. Horace, were you present at the YBH when some of us were speculating on whether a certain relative would've at some point heard the widely and openly spread bit of rumor trivia about Mr. Berle? At least I think it was the YBH. It might have been OP or your house. Anyway, damn, you actually had me with those first two sentences--and I solved the bloody puzzle last night! And--here's a bone for you--it made me sad. Until I finished the second sentence and realized what you were doing there. Anosmia was probably a gimme for Colum, but strangely enough it was a gimme for me too, thanks to an episode of "Scrubs" in which a character suffered from that condition. Did you ever watch that show, Colum? You gotta admit ROUE is nicely cued (and I never mind that bit of crosswordese since it always makes me think of Sound of Music). Agree about OCEANARIA. What the hell is that?? And what "modern zoos" have moats?? Loved seeing Ty Cobb's average, the misdirection of the Yahtzee category (you weren't initially thinking numbers, were you?), and the brilliant cluing of the plebian AREA. Also great to be reminded of the beautiful Nastassja Kinski--whatever happened to her? OK, that's it. Back to my Grain Belt Premiums with lime (I thought it would make them seem more like Coronas!). Last day of my spring break. Good luck tomorrow. My money's on you over Feyer in the finals!

    1. Hmm.. I don't really remember discussing that, but you'd think that he must have, right? I mean, he was alive all through Berle's dominant years, how could he not have?

      I also loved seeing Cobb's incredible average in print, and Frannie and I discussed the perfect choice of "De Sade" for ROUE. In fact, she had "RakE" in there for a while, which would, I'm sure, have pleased the constructor, but she eventually saw la lumière. Heh.

      Finally, aw shucks, I'm glad you like checking in on the old blog every once in a while. That makes me happy.

      It's just about time for us to go register and mingle. And hey - you'll like this, I brought printed flyers advertising the blog this year. It's a saturation marketing campaign! I'm expecting our readership to go through the roof!

  2. 13:03
    Awesome April Fools theme. I am very impressed by the 15-letter cuts. ANOSMIA was indeed a gimme, and the first thing I put in I was 100% certain about. But that's what's great about crosswords: every person has his or her own way in. I finished in the NW, where ORALB took forever to come clear, and BROCADE was difficult because for a long time I had tOGS instead of DOGS. I very much enjoyed this puzzle. Ah, PURIM. Hamentaschen.

    Yes, ET59, I watched Scrubs a whole bunch. For all of its silliness, it often hit the mark from a medical perspective more than the ludicrous medical drama shows. I loved the musical episode with the "poo/number 2" song.

  3. 21:51
    Never heard of CLOISONNE or ANOSMIA, but, as often happens, the crosses are fair. I had uggS at 10D very briefly, and rahS instead of OLES at 54D, but not much slowed my progress. I agree that's a great BERLE quote; I loved his appearance on Stern. I seem to remember that conversation happening here at the YBH about him. SITZ bath: gross. And c'mon...a batting average of only .366? Did COBB have trouble seeing the ball?