“Ful Employment” by Randolph Ross – 10:21
Hi, Jeffrey here. Welcome to a very special Wall Street Journal crossword.
Theme: Fodsworth Ulysses Lloydminster’s 100th birthday.
Today’s puzzle by Randolph Ross adds “FUL” to job titles, commemorating Fodsworth Ulysses Lloydminster, who was born on July 30, 1910. “FUL”, as he was known, was the creator of the most historically significant crossword puzzle ever made.
Crosswords used to be very bland, with all the clues straightforward definitions. Theme answers and tricky clues were nonexistent. That all changed accidentally on September 3, 1980.
FUL was completing a grid by hand, as they were all done in those days, when he discovered to his horror that he had miscounted the letters and 53 Across, clued “Dairy Queen treat”, wasn’t ICE CREAM CONE but read ICE CREAM CLONE. He knew that it had to be redone, but as a joke he changed the clue to “Frozen yogurt copy?” The question mark was meant to remind him to correct the puzzle and clue.
However, he forgot about it and sent in the puzzle along with a batch of others. Editing was lax in those days and the puzzle got published as is, marking three firsts:
- First theme answer
- First “add a letter” answer
- First “?” clue
There are only three known copies of this historic puzzle – One in the Smithsonian, one in Will Shortz’s basement, and one discovered in 2009 in a New Zealand widow’s basement.
23A. [Academic who follows all the rules?] – LAWFUL PROFESSOR
36A. [Commander of the kitchen?] – MASTERFUL CHEF
56A. [Cunning instructor?] – ARTFUL TEACHER
77A. [Vigilant deity?] – WATCHFUL MAKER
92A. [Frolicsome builder?] – PLAYFUL WRIGHT
113A. [Fascinating psychiatrist?] – COLORFUL ANALYST
16D. [Influential trader?] – POWERFUL BROKER
48D. [Productive handicapper?] – FRUITFUL PICKER
34A. [Lady Antebellum, e.g.] – TRIO
111A. [Oscar role for Sissy] – LORETTA
1D. [Lobster feelers] – PALPS. Also called palpus. Now you know.
12D. [Lydian king known for his wealth] – CROESUS. I think he was an early investor in Microsoft.
33D. [Walks through water] – SLOSHES. Fun word.
38D. [Show featuring “Easy to Be Hard“] – HAIR
50D. [Ben’s predecessor at the Fed] – ALAN/57D. [Currency replaced by l’euro] – FRANC – Wall Street Journal required answers.
77D. [“Papa ___ Rollin’ Stone“] – WAS A
78D. [Imperfection] – FLAW. None in my story.
85D. [Four-string instruments] – UKULELES