We haven't seen a Patrick Merrell puzzle in the New York Times in several months. One of my all-time favorites is his May 24 puzzle...the letter K appeared in it eighteen times!
Today he invites us to Turn the completed grid into a greeting card!...with the following theme answers:
16A: Step 1: Highlight this answer (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO).
27A: Step 2: With 43- and 55-Across, do this in the grid (scrambled or not)...it works for almost anyone! (CIRCLE LETTERS TO / SPELL OUT THE NAME / OF YOUR RECIPIENT).
I checked to see who had a birthday on April 2, and found that the late Marvin Gaye was born on this date...so I made my birthday card for him.
By the way, if you haven't already read it, be sure to check out Wendy's blog for an earlier post on Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell...two very talented singers who left us way too soon.
Famous names in the puzzle include 5A: 12-time Pro Bowl pick Junior __ (Seau), 36A: Diamond of note (Neil), 50A: "Star Wars" title (Darth), 4D: Some Dada prints (Arps), 31D: Louise's cinematic partner (Thelma), 41D: Root who won the 1912 Nobel Peace Prize (Elihu), 44D: One of the Jacksons (LaToya), 52D: Meg of "You've Got Mail" (Ryan) and 60D: "The Waste Land" poet's monogram (TSE).
I didn't know 9D: Eighth note (quaver) but guessed it based on crosses, including 15A: Europe/Asia boundary river (Ural) and 20A: Sailor's "Stop!" (avast). According to my Webster's New World College Dictionary, it's the last definition and is marked [Chiefly Brit.]. No wonder I hadn't heard of it.
Also not familiar with 61A: Big name in supercomputers (Cray). I was missing only the first letter, and it didn't help that I drew a total blank on 50D: Where to tie one on? I had had trouble letting go of neck for that one...but even with three letters in place, it took me forever to see dock.
A word often tossed around in crossword blogs appears at 53A: The heart in "I Love New York" signs, e.g. (rebus). While this represents the actual meaning of the word, I will likely continue to use it incorrectly in the future.
My favorite clue in the puzzle is 21D: Bakers' coats (icings). Other favorites include 33A: How Santa dresses, mostly (in red), 49A: End of a machine gun sound (tat), 1D: Good cheer? (rah), 7D: Figure on a hill (ant) and 46D: Usually black garb (habit).
I was up until midnight visiting with Leslie and Candy...ended up sleeping in and going to work at 9:30. If I do that two days in a row, I'll look like a slacker...that would not be a good thing.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.