Monday, August 06, 2007

The Once and Future King

The last couple of puzzles from Patrick Blindauer have turned into things like acrostics and chess problems. So you know what I thought when I saw the title of this one "King Me"? I was thinking "Oh great, I'm going to have to play checkers after I finish solving this one." Thank goodness, such was not the case. Checkers is not my game. The king referred to here is a little more powerful than a couple of checkers playing piggyback.

We'll get to the spoiler warning right after this King Arthur joke (which comes with its own SPOILER WARNING: Bad puns (and tongue-twisters ahead) )

Back in the Middle ages, some friars were selling flowers. Unfortunately, the friars were not paying the appropriate taxes on their profits from the sale of these flowers. King Arthur didn't like this, so he sent Sir Lancelot to make the friars stop selling the flowers. Unfortunately, the friars threw rocks at Sir Lancelot and chased him away.

Then King Arthur sent Sir Galahad to make the friars stop selling the flowers. And the same thing happened again: The friars threw rocks at Sir Galahad and chased him away.

Then King Arthur sent Sir Hugh to make the friars stop selling the flowers. Sir Hugh, unlike his predecessors, was able to make the friars stop selling the flowers.

By now, however, King Arthur was getting pretty ticked about the whole situation. He called his knights together at the Round Table and said,

"Why is it that only one of my knights was able to make these friars stop selling these flowers?"

The other knights all immediately wanted to know,

"Who was it? Which one of us did this?"

To this King Arthur replied,

"Only Hugh can prevent florist friars!"

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.

By my calculations this puzzle's black spots exceeds the desired 17% maximum. But I think Blindauer should be forgiven on the grounds of artistic license. Just check out that beautiful picture of the sword in the stone in the grid there. That took some doing, working in the medium of black squares. (SWORD IN THE STONE, by the way, is the answer to 17A: Classic T.H. White novel, with "The")

Other Arthurian references include

10A: Legendary king (ARTHUR) and 31D: Last name of 10-Down (PENDRAGON)

4D: Wizard of 10-Down (MERLIN)

35D: 10-Down's possession, as seen in this puzzle's black squares (EXCALIBUR)

and of course:

14A: "Gimme ____ Lovin' " (SOME) 15A: Integrated software package (SUITE) and 16A: "Walkabout" director Nicolas (ROEG)

What's that? You don't see the connection? What about Sir Lancelot? Wasn't he some sweet rogue?

Other entries of interest:
1A: Pacman Jones's real first name (ADAM) I told you the only sport I care about is baseball, and that may be all I need I knew this football answer because the other day on XM Homeplate (the all-baseball, all the time channel) they were talking about a young phenom just called up by the Seattle Mariners and they said his name was Adam Jones "not to be confused with Adam "Pacman" Jones)
10A: Razor introduced in 1977 (ATRA) Discontinued years ago, but will live forever in crosswords.

23A: Shot putter? (SYRINGE) When I was a kid and you had to get a shot, the doctor would give you the empty syringe to take home. We called them shot-givers, and they were good for convincing the girl next door to play doctor.

The I's have it today. We've got PSI and CSI and XXI and ORI.

54D: Former union members? (EXES) I was thinking globally not maritally. I had SSRS.

63A: Team with "SD" caps (PADRES) And sometimes I don't even know baseball. I should have had this one right off, but it took me a minute cuz I read it too fast and thought it said "STD" caps. I couldn't think what team would wear a cap like that.

Here's the grid -- and no, I didn't finish it in a minute and a half. I just jotted down the elapsed time when my boss informed me that he was not paying me to do crossword puzzles.


Orange said...

Boo, hiss to your boss!

Austin said...

I will admit it took me FAR FAR too long to get SWORD IN THE STONE at the top. Sheesh. Felt dumb once it came to me.

Finally finished Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the debut novel by Marisha Pessl. It was very good. It's a mish-mash of a murder mystery, a coming-of-age tale, and an examination on American pop and literary culture.

Definitely worth the read. Add it to the list. lol I think next for me is The Corrections by Jonathon Franzen. Ever read that?

And a PS - Thankfully my boss turns a blind eye towards my puzzling at work. :)

Rex Parker said...

I teach Arthurian Literature, so this one was a piece of cake for me. When Orange wrote me to tell me there was a word I would love in today's Sun puzzle, I was excited to find out what that could be. When I started solving, I thought "Oh, Arthurian Literature ... that *is* very me."

But then I hit the answer that she was really referring to: PANTIES. Let's just say she and I feel Very Differently about this word...