Sunday, March 1, 2009

NYT Monday 3/2/09 - Color My Zoo

I solved the Monday New York Times puzzle after the drive back from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament - I must have been tired because I only saw three across thematic answers, missing the more discreet Gold-Bug and Red Pony. Thanks to jon88 for pointing out the omissions!

What a nice theme for a puzzle: I can just imagine the compiler starting with Purple Cow or Pink Panther and wondering if a grid could be made from fancifully colored animals. I'm so glad it worked out.
Solving time: 10 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 46a Nero [Emperor who fiddled around?]

An unconventionally hued zoo:
17a Pink Panther [Inspector Clouseau movie, with "The"]
35a purple cow [Poet Gelett Burgess wrote that he never saw one]
56a white rabbit [Lewis Carroll character who's late]
11d Gold-Bug [Edgar Allan Poe story, with "The"]
40d Red Pony [John Steinbeck book, with "The"]
Purple CowThe Purple Cow is one of my favorite comic poems and short enough to quote in full:
I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
The Purple Cow by Gelett Burgess
Burgess became so fed up with being associated with that one verse that he followed it up with:
Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"—
I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!
The Purple Cow: Suite by Gelett Burgess

Lynn Lempel
Grid art by Sympathy

CompilersLynn Lempel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares45 (24.1%)
Scrabble points300 (average 1.60)
New To Me

20a Trini ["If I Had a Hammer" singer Lopez]. My ignorance is such that I couldn't have told you whether Trini (short for Trinidad) was male or female. Here he is:

65a Seger [Rocker Bob with the Silver Bullet Band]. Not the soundalike Seeger who wrote If I Had Hammer, but the roots rocker who wrote one of the Songs of the Century:

Fort Myers9d Myers [Fort ___, Fla.]. The City of Palms - many of which were planted by Thomas Edison, who had a winter home on McGregor Boulevard. The brutally cold winter this year has made us yet more envious of our Florida friends.

35d piker [Cheapskate]. I couldn't think beyond miser for a long time. piker in the clued sense may derive from the word for a vagrant who wanders the pike; or be a reference to poor residents from Pike County, MO who migrated to California. Since piker is also a British dialect word, the former explanation seems more likely.

37d closer [Ninth-inning relief pitcher]. I'll have to remember this baseball term. Magdalen's a big fan of the closer played by Kyra Sedgwick:

Over There49d Cohan [George M. who composed "Over There"]. Over There was written during the "war to end all wars" and was still being sung by US soldiers in World War II.


46a Nero [Emperor who fiddled around?]. A rare example of a cryptic definition in a Monday puzzle. Easy cluing normally makes it tough to pick a "clue of the puzz" - not this time.

12d PepsiCo [Its brands include Frito-Lay and Tropicana]. There's a Frito-Lay factory close to our route into Binghamton, NY - the smell of chips frying is a bit of a giveaway.

The Rest

1a eerie [Spooky]; 6a tramp [Walk with heavy steps]; 11a GPA [College transcript no.]; 14a spurs [What a cowboy may use while saying "Giddyup!"]; 15a Easy A [Course to breeze through]; 16a OED [Brit. resource for wordsmiths]; 19a LP's [Hi-fi supply]; 21a breads [Rye and whole wheat]; 23a coin [Invent, as a phrase]; 24a Regis [TV host Philbin]; 27a RBIs [Stats for sluggers]; 29a smog [Air that makes you go [cough, cough]]; 30a warn [Alert to danger]; 31a Bruce [Martial arts actor Lee]; 32a Tet [Asian New Year]; 33a sari [Draped Delhi dress]; 34a log on [Start a Web session]; 38a acrid [Bitterly pungent]; 41a lilt [Gentle rise and fall of the voice]; 42a boo [Ghost's cry]; 45a treks [Plodding journeys]; 47a sexy [Like the models in a swimsuit issue]; 48a mode [Pie à la ___]; 49a cases [Patients, to doctors]; 50a tail [What you might catch a tiger by, in a saying]; 51a uproot [Pull out]; 53a eland [Antelope with a hump and twisted horns]; 55a I to ["How was ___ know?"]; 60a Ron [Politico ___ Paul]; 61a navel [Belly button]; 62a plaza [Public square]; 63a any [Unspecified amount]; 64a sneak [Take furtively].

1d ESP [Parapsychology subject, briefly]; 2d epitome [Perfect example]; 3d run riot [Go wild]; 4d irking [Annoying]; 5d ESPN [Jock's channel]; 6d ten [Number of sides in a decagon]; 7d rat [Squealer]; 8d ash-bin [Rubbish holder]; 10d pare [Cut, as expenses]; 13d ads [Commercials]; 18d air war [Combat with fighter-bombers]; 22d arrow [Symbol by the phrase "You are here"]; 23d CST [Chicago's winter hrs.]; 25d Earp [O.K. Corral gunslinger]; 26d grilles [Decorative gratings]; 28d sen. [One of 100 on the Hill: Abbr.]; 31d blot [Ink stain]; 33d suds [Soapy froth]; 36d Eire [Yeats's homeland]; 38d ATM [Source of PIN money?]; 39d croûton [Salad cube]; 42d bean-bag [Hacky Sack, basically]; 43d oxidize [Form rust, say]; 44d Oyl [Popeye's Olive ___]; 46d native [Indigenous]; 47d stable [Sty : hogs :: ___ : horses]; 52d owns [Holds the title to]; 54d laps [Swimmers' distances]; 55d IRA [Money for the senior yrs.]; 57d tea [Afternoon social]; 58d elk [Antlered animal]; 59d tar [Black goo].


Anonymous said...

Don't forget the GOLD BUG and the RED PONY.

Crossword Man said...

Oops - I thought the puzzle was a little light on theme squares. Many thanks for pointing that out!