“A HOLIDAY FEAST” and “OK, HERE’S AN EASY ONE“
Let’s start at the beginning with Erik’s April Fool’s Day puzzle, A HOLIDAY FEAST. For those who are subscribed to his email list, he sent out a message on Wednesday 3/30 that there was no puzzle, and then on Friday 4/1, surprise! We were gifted with this strange crossword seen here, along with the meta instructions, “The meta answer is an adage.”
Solving this grid was…interesting. The fill-in-the-blank entries went in pretty quickly, and solving across was fine, but then I would stumble on entries I thought I knew, but just didn’t fit. 15d, for example: [Ed O’Neill has been one multiple times]. The answer is TV DAD, but there are six boxes. TV DADS would fit, but that leads to a singular/plural error between clue and answer. Hmm.
I think the first theme answer I got was JERK CABBAGE. JERK went in pretty easily, and CABBAGE seemed to be the only thing that fit at the end, but there are two blank squares left in the entry. That resolves the TV DAD(S) issue, but is still strange. If we work with the premise that there are some blanks, though, the grid fills a little more easily. At the end, we have five food products that are all apparently real things, but come off as a bit odd: QUARTER TURKEY, DING DONG CAKE, JERK CABBAGE, HERB BREAD, and CLAM DIP. What’s more, we have a differing number of blank squares between the words in each entry, ranging from zero to five.
I was completely stuck at first, and probably would have stayed so, if I hadn’t guessed that the theme was April Fool’s-related. JERK and DING DONG are both synonyms for “fool.” Maybe all the left answers are fool synonyms? Apparently HERB is, but the rest do not pan out. At this point I was about to give up, but I noticed TURKEY on the right, which also means “fool.” So does DIP. That completes the “fool” part…now what about the other words? Next to TURKEY is QUARTER, which is a form of money. Looking at the leftover words (CAKE, CABBAGE, BREAD, CLAM), I saw they all can be synonyms for money too. So we now have words meaning “fool” and words meaning “money.” And the blank squares? They’re “parting” the two terms in each phrase, more and more as we progress down the grid. Put everything together and we have our meta answer, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
While this puzzle confused me at several points, getting the answer was super satisfying. I won’t really comment on the fill, as it was fine given the constraints of the puzzle’s blank spaces. Let’s move on to the next puzzle.
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The most recent offering from Glutton is OK, HERE’S AN EASY ONE. This one was fairly easy for me, taking about six and a half minutes. There were some rough spots for me, as I did not know PELHAM BAY PARK. I also got tied up a bit when I entered REEBOK instead of RHEBOK, which I was able to correct once I figured out SHONDA RHIMES. My other stumbling block was HBCUS, or historically black colleges and universities, as the acronym itself was new to me.
If there is a theme here, I have to admit I have no clue what it is. We have three long across answers, PELHAM BAY PARK, MARIA VON TRAPP, and LIFEHOUSE. I see no relation between them. Also of note is the horizontal, but not rotational, symmetry. I’m going to treat this as a themeless unless someone points out a theme that I’ve missed.
Erik includes some really nice fill here. I especially enjoy the VENDETTA / OTTO HAHN / NAPROXEN combo. Favorite clues include [Boxer who recorded an album about fighting tooth decay] for ALI, [Word I probably subconsciously put in this puzzle because I’m freaking out about April 15th] for TAX, and a very special NGOTB shoutout, [Crossworld czar Lena or NBA legend Spud] for WEBB. ♥
That’s all I have today. It was great seeing everyone who came to ACPT last weekend, including fellow NGOTBers Lena and Michael. Next up is the Indie 500 in June, where they most definitely threw a pie last year! Until next week, my cruciverbal lovelies!