Before getting to today’s puzzle, I wanted to mention that the April 1 puzzle, “The Missing Link,” garnered by far the biggest response of any crossword I’ve written for The Washington Post. I guess I was asking for it. I am genuinely appreciative of all the letters from my solvers, though. Here were a select few:

Jeannette Wilson writes:

“That was fun! Had no idea what Rickrolling is!”

Apparently a good number of solvers hadn’t heard of it. I’m always happy to teach people new information about Rick Astley that they hadn’t learned before.

Paul Riddle writes:

“Our daughters all grew up dancing to Rick Astley tunes in their dance classes, where their end-of-year ensemble dance was to his ‘Together Forever.’ So when one of our daughters got married a couple years ago, we ended the reception with a family performance of that dance.”


Jeremy Horwitz writes:

“I was so proud to solve the meta without writing anything! I then sat down at work, opened my laptop, and typed in the URL. my speakers are normally on at home but off at work … I had yet to turn them off this morning, so a good chunk of my office heard the page — including a ‘ha! Jeremy got Rickrolled!’ Well played, sir — well played.”

No, Jeremy; “well played” is for you for figuring out the whole thing without filling in a single square. He’s very good at metas.

I guess my one regret is that if The Post ever does run a real contest puzzle in the future, many (if not most) of you might not believe me.

Solution to April 15, 2018, crossword, “Silver Screen Spoonerisms”

Eleven actors’ and actresses’ names have been spoonerized, meaning the beginning consonant sounds of their first and last names have been flipped:

  • 23A: [Actress Burnett, after taking a spill?] is FALLEN CAROL, based on Colin Farrell.
  • 25A: [Blunt command for a cartoon explorer to gain information?] is “DORA, LEARN!” based on Laura Dern.
  • 40A: [Spin-class nickname for actress Kate or Rooney?] is CYCLE MARA, based on Michael Cera. In case you were wondering, both Kate and Rooney Mara pronounce their last name like “mare-uh,” not “mahr-uh.”
  • 51A: [Indecent mandible site?] is LEWD JAW, based on Jude Law.
  • 55A: [Golf rental for angels?] is HEAVEN CART, based on Kevin Hart.
  • 68A: [Late Fox News host Alan, when he was in a Hispaniolan nation?] is HAITI COLMES, based on Katie Holmes. It’s funny; 2017 Indie 500 Crossword Tournament champ Katie Hamill goes by the spoonerized name @HaitiCamel on Twitter, and there’s HAMEL crossing this theme entry at 58D: [“Hill Street Blues” actress Veronica whose last name rhymes with a llama cousin].
  • 79A: [Hirsute, as a member of an old Total Fitness club would be?] is BALLY HAIRY, based on Halle Berry. I don’t know why this one amused me. Maybe it’s just imagining someone’s thought process. Man, that guy at the gym isn’t just hairy …. he’s *Bally* hairy.
  • 84A: [Pale friend of Tarzan?] is WAN JANE, based on John Wayne.
  • 97A: [Part of an honored British woman’s inheritance?] is DAME’S GENE, based on James Dean.
  • 112A: [Creamy cheese on the lam?] is LOOSE BRIE, based on Bruce Lee.
  • 114A: [Path left by a burrowing rodent?] is GOPHER TRACE, based on Topher Grace.

Some others I left out: PAD BRIT, CRYIN’ BOX, JERRY TONES, MELON HEARIN’, GRAHAM PIER, BREW DAIRY MORE, and for a bizarre triple spoonerism, HEAL NAT TRICK PARIS.

I should mention for transparency’s sake that DAME’S GENE and LOOSE BRIE were answers in two separate CrosSynergy crosswords, from 2002 and 2003, respectively. The first was clued as [Unit of heredity for Agatha Christie?] and the other was clued as [Unpackaged cheese?]. The best possible spoonerism for this theme, in my opinion, is CUSTER BEATEN; but that had made an appearance in at least two previous crosswords (including the aforementioned 2002 CrosSynergy puzzle with DAME’S GENE), and I didn’t have much luck finding another matching 12-letter answer anyway.

Other answers and clues:

  • 20A: [Tesla who claimed to have invented an “earthquake machine”] is NIKOLA. It was an oscillator. Tesla’s claim was apparently debunked on “MythBusters” some time ago.
  • 93A: [Sch. whose basketball team became the first No. 1 seed to be defeated by a No. 16 seed in the men’s NCAA tournament] is UVA. This had maybe just happened, or had happened a week earlier, when I wrote the puzzle. Not trying to twist the knife, UVA fans. Just trying to be current.
  • 78D: [Former name of retired NBA star Metta World Peace] is RON ARTEST. He apparently wanted to change his name again to The Panda’s Friend. You can’t make this up.
  • 116D: [Ladies first?] is ELL. First letter of “Ladies,” in case it threw you.

See you next week!