When the Guardian published an April Fool's Day themed crossword on 1st April 2009, many of the thematic entries had me stumped. This crossword made references to April Fool pranks from years ago that I was unaware of.
A little digging later, it turned out that these pranks are pretty well-known and often find mention in crosswords. When tackling April Fool's Day crosswords this year and later – be prepared!
Some trivia to equip you to solve April Fool's Day themed clues.
Famous Pranks in Crosswords
Top two Fool's Day hoaxes that make repeat occurrences in cryptic clues:
- Spaghetti Tree Hoax (1957): A BBC spoof documentary that talked about harvesting spaghetti from the "spaghetti tree", including footage of a family picking spaghetti strands off trees and laying them out to dry in the sun.
It seems incredible that anyone could fall for this ruse but apparently people did. In 1957 spaghetti was a little-known foreign food in UK and BBC's word was taken without question.
- San Serriffe (1977): The Guardian carried a seven-page supplement on 1st April 1977, describing an island nation called San Serriffe. The article examined the fictitious nation's history, geography and culture, and was full of puns on typeface names and punctuation symbols. (e.g. "…the dominant group are of European stock, the descendants of colonists, known as colons. There is also a large mixed-race group, known as semi-colons.")
As this was an in-house joke of the Guardian, San Serriffe is most likely to be used in the Guardian crossword.
See April Fool's Day: Well-Known Pranks for other such pranks.
A selection of clues based on April Fool's Day.
Guardian 24604 (Enigmatist): Gowk in springtime, playing polo with flair (5,4)
Guardian 24527 (Gordius): Spaghetti tree hoax was no laughing matter (4,1,4)
Mephisto 2440: If it’s played, one may put Yank on, and see him forgetting 1st of April (6,5)
Guardian 24662 (Puck): Fudge pie’s the target? Fantastic food supplier ...(9,4)
... had 1/4 of dollar pie sent round! (5,6)
King featuring in naff series about republic (3, 8)
- Araucaria Counterweight Book Saver
- Garson Hampfield, Crossword Inker
- Cryptic Crosswords A Threat To Criminal Justice?
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