Special Features

New York Times crossword March 31 / Constructed by Caleb Madison

Today’s fun puzzle sends you on a hunt of sorts – an appropriate way to spend Easter, I suppose. However, those of you with sweet tooths might be disappointed to discover that the payoff is not a basket of chocolate bunnies or marshmallow Peeps, but a virtual Easter egg.

The main theme answers are pretty simple; they’re created by adding letters to film titles to make amusing new ones. “Movie about … an intense blinking contest?” is STARE WARS (23 Across). And one about “… a housecleaner?” is NEATWORK (28 Across). Put aside those extra letters for now – you’ll need them later.

More: SNOW VOYAGER (“… a sled racer?” 30 Across); STINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (“… a bee during a downpour?” 44 Across); BATEMAN FOREVER (“… actor Jason’s fan club?” 56 Across); DRAWN OF THE DEAD (“… Jerry Garcia’s band’s portraits?” 80 Across); TEEN COMMANDMENTS (“… a parent’s edicts?” 88 Across); REGAL GENIUS (“… a king’s brilliance?” 100 Across); and GRAIN MAN (“… a harvester?” 108 Across).

Now for the “special feature” alluded to in the title: The extra letters, in order, spell out EASTER EGG (“Hidden DVD feature … which can be found, literally, in the answers to the italicized clues,” 115 Across). I’m such a nerd that I circled those letters in the grid to see if they formed the image of a bunny or something. Nope. But still, a pretty cool puzzle.

An “Easter egg” in DVD-speak, by the way, is a bonus feature not shown on the main menu. Sites like this one try to document the eggs.

More Movies Dept.: “1945 Best Picture winner, with ‘The'” is LOST WEEKEND (4 Down). “1983 film debut of Bill Maher” — terrific trivia! — is the Mr. T vehicle D.C. CAB (13 Across). “Hollywood’s Russell” is CROWE (14 Down). “Lucy of ‘Kill Bill’” is LIU (120 Across). The very clever clue “Solo companion” yields CHEWBACCA (78 Down). “Gyllenhaal of ‘Brokeback Mountain'” is JAKE (9 Across). “Documentarian Morris” is ERROL (18 Across). An “Expert despite little training,” as we know from the Robert Redford film, is a NATURAL (61 Across). And the “Word at the end of many French films” is FIN (83 Down).

Boys Of Summer Dept.: Baseball season starts tomorrow — hooray! Let’s hope the Phillies don’t have any NO-RUN outings (“Like some stockings and baseball games,” 49 Down).

Philly Shout-Out Dept.: “___ Outfitters, clothing retailer” is URBAN (2 Down), based here at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

For Fun Dept.: There were quite a few long entries that weren’t part of the theme. “Wasn’t exacting” is CUT CORNERS (72 Down). “Music genre of Possessed and Deicide” is DEATH METAL (13 Down). “Weekly bar promotion, maybe” is LADIES’ NIGHT (68 Down). “Two-time Emmy-winning actress for ‘Taxi'” is CAROL KANE (15 Down). And an “English king who was a son of William the Conqueror” is HENRY I (20 Down).

Need some solving tips and tricks? I’ve posted some here. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. You can also visit my Facebook page, or tweet me @crosswordkathy.

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