End of the Line

New York Times crossword April 17 / Constructed by Matt Ginsberg

Rim shot, please. Today’s puzzle could have been titled “Real Stand-Up Guys,” since the theme answers are all punch lines to comedians’ jokes. (Actually, that might be stretching it since one of the witticisms is from Stephen King — the horror novelist who has played music clubs with The Rock Bottom Remainders but not comedy clubs, to my knowledge.)

So for those who never thought the NYT crossword could be Comedy Central, here goes:

“I used to do drugs. I STILL DO. BUT I USED TO, TOO.” — Mitch Hedberg (23 Across).

“The car stopped on a dime. Unfortunately, the dime was IN A PEDESTRIAN’S POCKET.” — Anonymous (36 Across).

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it THROUGH NOT DYING.” — Woody Allen (58 Across). (Just saw a trailer yesterday for his upcoming movie “Midnight in Paris.” Looks like he has ceded his traditional role as the romantic lead to Owen Wilson.)

“Whoever named it necking was A POOR JUDGE OF ANATOMY.” — Groucho Marx (68 Across).

“You know what I hate? Indian givers. NO, I TAKE THAT BACK.” — Emo Philips (79 Across).

“I don’t mean to sound bitter, cold or cruel, but I am, SO THAT’S HOW IT COMES OUT.” — Bill Hicks (101 Across).

And from the aforementioned author macabre: “I have the heart of a small boy. It IS IN A GLASS JAR ON MY DESK.” — Stephen King (120 Across).

I was a little embarrassed to not recognize the names Mitch Hedberg and Bill Hicks. After doing some research, I realized perhaps that was because the end of the line came too soon for them: Hedberg, 37, died in 2005 of “multiple drug toxicity” while Hicks, 32, died of pancreatic cancer in 1994. A 2009 documentary tells his story.

Not Barry Manilow Dept.: The usual clue about a showgirl at the Copa — yielding LOLA — was cleverly replaced with “Bugs Bunny’s girlfriend” (64 Down). Have to admit she was one Looney Tune that I had forgotten.

Habla Espanol? Dept.: “Mayo container?” (131 Across) has nothing to do with condiments but everything to do with the Spanish calendar. It’s ANO. (Imagine a tilde above the N.)

Swanky Bubbles Dept.: “Vintner Claude” (91 Down) is MOET, often shorthand for champagne swilled by the jet set. It never occurred to me it was someone’s name.

Vinyl Dinosaurs Dept.: How long until crossword solvers have no idea that a “Record stat” (78 Down)  is RPM?

Yummy Lunch Dept.: It was funny that NAAN (“Asian flatbread,” 52 Across) crossed with NOON (“Palindromic time, 54 Down).

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