Monday, April 09, 2007

The Monday Sun

Wouldn't you know, the first day of my fulltime New York Sun crossword blogging and the puzzle's late, didn't show up until after 9:00 a.m. (EDT). I suppose it's churlish to complain, since I'm not paying for it, but I might be willing to if I could get it the night before as with the NY Times.

Then my wonky computer at work would let me go everywhere except Blogger.

Oh well, here's hoping that late really is better than never.

This was a pretty cool Monday puzzle, a little botany, a little literature, some geography, some golf. Lots of X's and Z's and J's for those of you who are jaded by the more popular letters and looking for something a little more exotic. One thing that the New York Sun does with its weekday puzzle is give them a name that hints (albeit obliquely) at the puzzle's theme. The name of this puzzle (by John Calvin Williams) is Group Hugs, which didn't help me much until I got the first long entry 17A: Rush hour comment (ITSAZOOOUTTHERE). When I looked at the answer those three O's in a row kinda jumped out at me, and a couple seconds later I made a leap of my own: "Oh yeah, O's are a symbol for hugs as XXOO. Maybe all the long across entries have three O's together like." And they do:

39A: Tropical flowers with reedy stems (BAMBOOORCHIDS) I had never heard of this kind of flower before, but looking it up I learned some flower anatomy. According to Wikipedia: "These flowers, 5 – 8 cm in diameter, are a rosy lilac and white disk with a purple lip." I didn't know flowers had lips -- well, except for those bulbs favored by the Dutch, which of course have two lips. (Hey, I told you I like my jokes corny.)

58A: Senior's complaint (IMTOOOLDFORTHIS) and even an extra triplicate clinch at 26D: Frighten away (SHOOOFF).

Other clues that struck my fancy:

40D: Island that's home to orangutans (BORNEO) Whatever happened to the Wild Man of Borneo? Why has he been exiled from crosswords? (I tried to find a picture of said wild man but came up empty, which is not to say there aren't some goings-on in Borneo.)

23D: Woodcutter who said "Open sesame!" (ALIBABA) When I was a kid I thought Ali was shouting "Open says me!" which makes as much if not more sense than invoking the name of a plant known mostly its seeds. This Ali Baba painting is by the great Maxfield Parrish, who made a guest appearance in last Thursday's Sun puzzle.

13D: Last word of the first verse of "Amazing Grace." (SEE) This kind of clue where you have to mentally sing the whole song as quickly as you can is kind of a pain when you're timing yourself

41D: Driving options: (ONEIRONS) this probably took me longer to get than any other entry, just couldn't stop thinking about leather seats, sun roofs, that kind of "driving" option.

27A: Portugal's capital, to the Portugese (LISBOA) I did not know that, and I do not know why we change other country's names around. If the Portugese call it Lisboa, why do we call it Lisbon. Why do we call Nippon Japan and Helas Greece? That's the kind of stuff I wonder about. That and whether gorilla glands can bring back passionate youth.

All right, see y'all tomorrow.


Ultra Vi said...

Robert, great new Sun blog! In your honor, I think I'm going to start doing the Sun puzzles every day.

One question about the format, which may have only to do with my computer: the text (in a lovely light AVOCADO green) is hard to read against the white background. I wonder if anyone else has this problem. In any event, would you be averse to switching to something closer to a FOREST green? Just wondering, as it is slow deciphering on my little iBook screen.

Orange said...

FYI, one or two weeks' worth of Sun puzzles are typically posted at one time. Occasionally, they're not posted until a Monday afternoon, so patience is sometimes required. But they're generally worth the wait.

Stop me before I use another adverb, please.

Norrin2 said...

Vi, I hope you will start doing the Sun puzzles -- they're great and I know you'll enjoy them. I'll tweak the color scheme a bit when I get the chance. Let me know if it gets better for you -- or worse.

Thank you very much for the tip, Orange. This is going to make my job a whole lot easier. (I am so grateful I won't even say anything about the adverbs.)