It’s Taxing

New York Times crossword puzzle April 13 / Constructed by Dan Schoenholz

I tweeted this earlier today, but it’s so momentous that it bears repeating: For the first time in six months, it was meteorologically possible to solve the Sunday puzzle while sitting on my stoop. Woohoo!

Finally back to solving on the stoop!
Finally back to solving on the stoop!

Yes, it is finally spring. That means the 15th of APRIL (“Deadline time appropriate to this puzzle,” 100 Across) is just around the corner, as the grid’s title so kindly reminds us . So the theme takes common phrases and puts them in a 1040 frame of mind – and, luckily, the result is not too taxing, as reader @Sairey_Gamp cleverly puts it.

A “Chart used to calculate a married couple’s taxes?” is a TABLE FOR TWO (67 Across), while an “I.R.S. update?” is a SCHEDULE CHANGE (81 Across). A “Last-minute way to reduce tax for a desperate filer?” is an EMERGENCY SHELTER (93 Across). And a “C.P.A.’s masterstroke?” is a BRILLIANT DEDUCTION (104 Across).

Others: “C.P.A.’s advice for lowering future-year liabilities?” is ROLL THE CREDITS (49 Across). An “Agreement for an amount to be taken from one’s salary?” is WITHHOLDING CONSENT (25 Across). And “What C.P.A.’s wish for their clients?” is MANY HAPPY RETURNS (33 Across).

Philly Shout-Out Dept.: What on earth is ILLY (“In a bad way,” 110 Down)? It’s not a nickname for the City of Brotherly Love – though we do sometimes go by Illadelphia – and it’s certainly not a word I’ve ever used or heard. Am I alone here?

Head Scratchers Dept.: ILLY wasn’t the only entry that furrowed my brow. Let’s begin with LENITY (“Laxness,” 99 Down), an unusual term related to “leniency.” Originally I ended up with the non-existent word LENITH because I mistakenly wrote HOWL as the answer for “Wail” at 124 Across. (It’s YOWL.) Then there was ANNEAL (“Strengthen,” 119 Across), which sounds like it might be more common in labs, or ceramic- or glassblowing studios. Another one: ECOTONE, a term for the “Transition area from deciduous to evergreen, e.g.” (52 Down). ART GLASS (“Fragile decoration,” 22 Across) seemed a bit cheesy. Also, I wasn’t familiar with PILE as a synonym for “Reactor” (39 Across), though it looks like that’s pretty common.

For Fun Dept.: There was some good fill in this crossword, including HELLIONS (“Troublemakers,” 114 Across), LATRINE (“Division head?” 41 Down), SAFE AREA (“Neutral zone, say,” 18 Across), EAT ALONE (“What to ‘never’ do, according to the title of a 2005 best seller,” 82 Down) and REDBONE (“Breed of hunting dog,” 49 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. And here’s a little more about me.