After yesterday's amazing word search-acrostic-crossword from Patrick Blindauer, this one seemed more like a Tuesday puzzle, with a simple theme based on animal puns.
But first our new and improved SPOILER WARNING (now with 50 per cent more rant!): 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 -- No, you know what, they're better. That's right, I said it, the New York Sun's puzzles are better than the New York Times's puzzles, and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be Peter Gordon and to keep putting out this superior product and have everybody just blog, blog, blogging and yak, yak, yakking about the Times, Times, Times. Look, if you don't have time for two great puzzles a day, do the better one, do the SUN -- (we now return you to your regularly scheduled spoiler warning) -- 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.
On to the critter calembours
19A: Animalistic novices (GNU BEES) Puns on the word GNU are nothing new. Here's an old limerick:
A problem occurred at our zoo,
When a baby was born to the gnu.
When they tried to announce it
They couldn't pronounce it,
But of course the new gnu knew.
Gnus are also known as wildebeests, but that's harder to pun on.
23A: Animalistic Glenn Ford romantic comedy of 1964? (DEER HART) A very venisony answer, sinced a hart is also a deer -- specifically, a male red deer at least five years old.
32A: Animalistic salon application? (HARE MOOSE) One of the first gifts I ever bought my wife was a nightshirt with a picture of Bugs Bunny putting moose on his hare -- I mean hair. She's not nearly the big Bugs Bunny fan that I am, but she's still and still wears that nightshirt.
51A: Animalistic wine? (BOAR DOE)
And where would all these animal pairs go? Maybe in a STABLE (3d: Firm) but more likely in NOAH'S ARK (54A: Biblical refuge). The only other animals I see roaming around this puzzles are at 57A: Creatures in "Them!" (ANTS) and maybe 50A: Termagant (NAG) but there are animal sounds at 13A: Knee-slapper (HOOT) and 53D: Slangy refusal (NAW) -- that's right, gnaw, like a beaver. (Hey, it's no worse than some of the other puns in this puzzle.)
Other entries of interest:
29A: 078-05-1120, on a Woolworth's sample wallet insert: abbr. (SSN) The most misused social security number of all time. A wallet manufacturer wanted to show how well those new-fangled cards would fit in his wallets, he included a sample card with his secretary's number on it. Read more about at it at Social Security's own website.
Lot of poison in today's puzzle: 2D: Toxin in spoiled food (BOTULIN) and 33D: Poisonous salt (ARSENITE) I don't guess PEE (17D: ___ -wee's Big Adventure") is poisonous, but you probably shouldn't drink it.
52A: "Terrible" ruler (IVAN IV) I guess the first three Ivans were sweet.
43A: Follower of Clint as Best Director (ANG) That's Ang Lee, who won the Oscar for "Brokeback Mountain."
28A: Entertainer nicknamed "The Great Dane" (BORGE) Victor Borge was also known as "The Clown Prince of Denmark." He's certainly the funniest concert pianist I ever saw. He used to say things like "I'm going to play it with both hands so it will end faster," and "I'd like to thank my parents for making this night possible. And my children for making it necessary."That's all for today. Let's do it again on Thursday.