“Weird” Al Yankovic has gifted the journalism world a pimento-styled memento. The parody master and constructor Eric Berlin designed the New York Times crossword for the April 4th issue, using a delightful spread of cheese puns.
The puzzle includes movie-cheese entries like “A FEW GOUDA MEN” and “FETA ATTRACTION.” Yankovic previewed his handiwork Wednesday on Instagram, cracking, “If you’re REALLY good, you don’t NEED the clues!”
Berlin, who has constructed 40 puzzles for the Times, detailed the origins of their dairy-centric collaboration. He called himself a “fan of Weird Al practically from the moment he first emerged on the scene” and praised the singer’s unique verbal style.
“His lyrics were clearly the product of somebody with a puzzler’s mind – just glance at the all-palindrome lyrics of ‘Bob,’ or his innumerable pun-filled parodies,” Berlin wrote. “When a documentary about the man briefly showed a picture of him holding an issue of Games magazine, I was simultaneously a) completely unsurprised and b) transported with delight at this further proof that Al and I would get along famously should we ever meet.”
The cheese theme originated few a series of back-and-forths between the duo. “I suggested ‘The ____ Film Festival,’ with that blank to be filled in with whatever struck Al’s fancy,” Berlin added. “He replied with a long list of cheese/movie puns, and I had no doubt that we had a winner.” Yankovic’s original options included “QUESOBLANCA” and “cheese-adjacent puns” like “FONDUE THE RIGHT THING” and “CHEESY RIDER.”
Yankovic’s ongoing “Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour,” which primarily features his non-parody original songs, closes June 10th in Green Bay, Wisconsin.