Thursday, July 19, 2007

X Marks the Spot

SPOILER WARNING: Don't read any further until you've done today's New York Sun Crossword Puzzle. New York Sun puzzles are every bit as fun and challenging as the more well-known New York Times and they're indisputably better in one way -- they're free. If you'd like to read about an unbiased head-to-head competition between the Sun and the Times puzzles check this out. Or if you're ready to decide for yourself you can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.
This weekend Warrior is from Karen M. Tracey. Two fifteen letter entries intersect at my favorite Scrabble -- the X -- in the center of the puzzle. And they are:

36A: Ogden Nash's "Geographical Reflection" (THE BRONX? NO THONX) Frederic Ogden Nash makes his second appearance in the Sun crosswords this week, dissing New York City's Northernmost borough. This was not his final word on the birthplace of the famous rude cheer. When the Bronx celebrated its golden jubilee in 1964 the dean of Bronx Community College asked Nash if he might reconsider his opinion. Nash wrote back:

Dear Dean Tauber,
I can't seem to escape the
sins of my smart-alec youth;
Here are my amends.

I wrote those lines, "The Bronx?
No thonx";
I shudder to confess them.

Now I'm an older, wiser man
I cry, "The Bronx? God bless

Contritely yours,
Ogden Nash.

By the way, "Geographical Reflection" is one of the shortest poems ever. It could have been even shorter if Nash had used the correct name of the borough -- just "Bronx" without the "the" -- but even then it wouldn't have been as short as Strickland Gillilan's

"Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes" Adam had 'em.

As a young man under the influence of Ogden Nash and Richard Armour and others, I wrote the following poem:

The Microbes' Revenge (a sequel to the (up to now) shortest poem ever written, which is entitled "Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes" by Strickland Gillilan and goes: "Adam had 'em")

We've Eve!

To my surprise this work did not make me a world famous, wealthy poet. It didn't even sell. It was a few more years before I became a published poet. I'll tell you about that another time.

Intersecting with Ogden at the X is 7D: Tron portrayer (BRUCE BOXLEITNER). I've never seen the movie Tron, though I've seen it come up in a lot of crosswords. I had no idea Bruce Boxleitner was Tron himself. Bruce is probably better know for "Babylon 5" and "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and for being married to "Little House on the Prairie's Melissa Gilbert.
Other entries of interest:
1A: Paint holder? (STABLE) In the sense of a spotted horse or pony, as in the old trail song, "I Ride an Old Paint."

2D: Chick in the "Maisy" books (TALLULAH) Wow, there's another Tallulah besides Ms. Bankhead?

3D: Garment that combines a bra with a girdle (ALL-IN-ONE) I have an all-in-one, but mine's from Hewlett Packard and instead of a bra and girdle, it's got a printer, scanner and fax.

If this puzzle has a mini-theme, I'd say it's the old West. In addition to STABLE, we have the Indian tribes UTES (31A: 2005 Fiesta Bowl winners), OMAHAS (43D: Nebraska natives) and NEZ PERCE (39D: Language realted to Yakima) as well as 59A: Offer? (HIRED GUN), a couple more horses join the old paint at 23A: War horse (STEED) and 29A: In a position of no escape (AT BAY) and 20A: Trail marker (SCENT) Stretching it just a bit we get a bad place for your wagon wheel (IN A RUT 12D: Trapped by habit) and cow fat (TALLOW 15A: Grease paint ingredient) and star of a bunch of B westerns like "Black Bart" "Frontier Gal" and "Calamity Jane and Sam Bass" YVONNE DeCarlo (30D: She played Lily on "The Munsters."

Sometimes you can have something wrong and still somehow luck onto the right answer. This happened for me at 40D: What Dr. James Xavier had in a 1963 Roger Corman film (X RAY EYES) For some reason I remembered a long long ago Playboy article on the movie "The Immoral Mr. Teas" who had x-ray vision or a good imagination or something that allowed him to see naked women everywhere. I vowed that as soon as I was 18 I was going to find that movie. I have not as yet kept that vow. So, I confused Roger Corman with Russ Meyer and sci-fi with nudie cutie and still got x-ray eyes. (But then the fact that it started with X and x-ray is always the example for that, it wasn't difficult.)
I have a quibble with 49A: Japanese comic book genre (MANGA). Manga isn't a comic book genre -- it is Japanese comic books Comics are ubiquitous in Japanese culture and manga has many genres -- sports, romance, historical drama, comedy, soap operas, fantasy, mystery, sexuality and horror, to name a few. One of the most popular genres is Yaoi, which is all-male romance comics geared to a female audience.
Have a great weekend.


mellocat said...

Ha, I like how you came by the wrong route to the right answer for XRAYEYES. Nice little poem too! Thanks for the comments, I always like to hear how things strike people.

Norrin2 said...

Well, I figure that any route that gets you to the right answer is a good route. I'm glad you liked the poem.