04.19 Tue

April 19, 2011
John Lampkin

Theme: All About Animals — Each theme answer is an animal commonly known by its habitat.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Grassland burrower (PRAIRIE DOG).
  • 23A: Mojave lizard (DESERT IGUANA).
  • 37A: Flippered ocean critter (SEA LION).
  • 51A: Sure-footed Rockies denizen (MOUNTAIN GOAT).
  • 60A: Playful swimmer (RIVER OTTER).
I received a lovely note from John Lampkin last night with some background about this puzzle:
This puzzle is a direct response to Scott Atkinson's fun LAT offering of Monday, 6/28/2010 where he used a "double animal name" theme with TIGER SHARK, ELEPHANT SEAL, SPIDER MONKEY, and TURTLE DOVE. After saluting Scott and kicking myself for not thinking of it first, I realized I could raise the stakes a notch by getting three layers in there: a critter, its habitat, and its characteristic behavior. Some fun!
We've got a lot of what we expect from John in this grid: primarily nature and classical music. I don't recall thinking that John is particularly fond of foreign languages, but there's a little Spanish, a little German, and some French:
  • 5A: Comme ci, comme ça (SO-SO).
  • 8D: "Yes, yes, Fifi" ("OUI OUI").
  • 11D: Earth, in Germany (ERDE).
  • 12D: 60-Across habitats, to José (RIOS).
  • 21D: Cinq moins deux (TROIS).
  • 61D: That, in Toledo (ESO).
41A: Jack Horner's last words (AM I) might also have been clued as French, but wasn't. Is there such a thing as too much French? Maybe the grid had already fulfilled its quota.

By far my favorite entry in the grid is GEEZERS (4D: Old coots). Fun to say (both clue and answer). I also love seeing one of my favorite movies of all time in the grid: 52D: "Paper Moon" Oscar winner O'Neal (TATUM). She really was fantastic in that movie.

The only head-scratcher for me today is 62D: Fast-spinning meas. (RPS). No idea what this means and a quick Google search doesn't help.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm moving this weekend, so write-ups will be relatively short this week. So far, everything going pretty smoothly — thanks for all the good wishes. We're only moving about two miles away from where we are now, which I think is going to make this easier than our last move (from Iowa to Virginia). I guess we'll see.

And with that, I'll leave you with one last note from John Lampkin:
Oddly, I've never photographed any of these species, but I do have a nice image of a pair of mating MONARCHS. For those of you contemplating trying this at home, do not, I repeat, do not attempt this in a hammock.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: Hawk's home (AERIE).
  • 24D: Container weight (TARE).
  • 30D: "Boola Boola" singers (ELIS).
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Everything Else 1A: Chase, as a fly (SHAG); 9A: Whaler's rear end (STERN); 14A: "__ Fly With Me": Sinatra standard (COME); 15A: Swan's "Swan Lake" wear (TUTU); 17A: Boo-boo, in tot talk (OWIE); 20A: "Hungarian Rhapsodies" composer Franz (LISZT); 22A: "My __!" (GOODNESS); 26A: Boulevard, e.g. (ROAD); 27A: Comical Coca (IMOGENE); 31A: "You betcha!" ("YESSIREE!"); 35A: Bad doings (EVIL); 36A: Soft drink suffix (-ADE); 42A: Zoom or macro (LENS); 44A: Orange-and-black-winged butterflies (MONARCHS); 46A: Dangles a carrot in front of (ENTICES); 50A: Jay with jokes (LENO); 56A: Prayer set to music by Schubert and Gounod (AVE MARIA); 59A: 1945 conference site (YALTA); 63A: Object of worship (IDOL); 64A: Some '80s Chryslers (K-CARS); 65A: Crescent's tip (CUSP); 66A: It flows through Egypt (NILE); 67A: Feel intuitively (SENSE); 68A: AMA concerns (HMO'S); 69A: Slippery fish (EELS); 1D: Chew out (SCOLD); 2D: Canadian comic Mandel (HOWIE); 3D: Not quite right (AMISS); 5D: "The Racer's Edge" (STP); 6D: "... __ daily bread" (OUR); 7D: College football immortal Amos Alonzo __ (STAGG); 9D: Verbally refused (SAID NO); 10D: Like most adolescents (TEENAGE); 13D: Strips in a photo lab (NEGS.); 19D: Wander (ROAM); 25D: Gray matter creation (IDEA); 28D: Flood emergency op (EVAC); 29D: Gp. that funds psychiatric drug testing (NIMH); 31D: "Boola Boola" university (YALE); 32D: Paradise (EDEN); 33D: Email status (SENT); 34D: "Slippery" tree (ELM); 38D: Kansas city (IOLA); 39D: R.E.M.'s "The __ Love" (ONE I); 40D: Au pair (NANNY); 43D: Almost boils (SIMMERS); 45D: Hair-raising product? (ROGAINE); 47D: Like some sandpaper (COARSE); 48D: Continental coin (EURO); 49D: Tattletale (SNITCH); 53D: Nostalgic record (OLDIE); 54D: Ring-shaped reef (ATOLL); 55D: Fairy stories (TALES); 56D: Torah holders (ARKS); 57D: Smoking or drinking, some say (VICE); 58D: "__ Almighty": 2007 film (EVAN).


Anonymous said...

RPS stands for revolutions per second. It's a notation used when the RPM values get large and need to be reduced for practical usage reasons.

C said...

Nice, simple puzzle. Maxed out my French vocabulary, I don't think I know any more French than is contained in this puzzle. OK, maybe I know a few more numbers, some food names, colors, and pronouns but it sure felt like I used all of my French.

CoffeeLvr said...

PG, when I went to bed last night I was still puzzling over RPS, too. But when I read your question this morning, I knew right away. Anonymous @ 5:08 AM is correct.

I had one error; mis-spelled ARK as ARc. Coming from automotive, even if not Chrysler, I should have questioned cCARS. Oh, well.

Nice theme for Earth Day week.

syndy said...

and to add to the animal count all the mices and rats from NIMH!an awful lot of yale in this one

Nighthawk said...

Good luck with the move this weekend, @PG. I hope the weather cooperates and I hope it is, appropriately, the beginning of a time of rebirth and renewal for you and the PuzzleFam.

Fun and smooth puzzle seemed to almost fill itself, until I mis-parsed 37A as SEAL _ON and had a total Natick on some town in KS I's never heard of, adding about 1/3 more to the total time just for that one letter! If only I'd realized the theme!

Chuckled at the long downs GEEZER and ROGAINE juxtaposed with TEENAGE and SIMMERS.

One day I want to take a trip to the Rio Grand Valley for the fall Monarch Migration to Mexico. It must be pretty spectacular.

@Anon 5:08. Thanks. Had RPS, but no idea about the S.

Humbert said...

Wow, Lepidoptera porn. Way to go, John!

Rube said...

Good write-up for a good puzzle. I had one writeover, RPS/RPm, like several others. The "Secret of NIMH" was one of my kids favorite movies. They'd watch it over and over, (when they weren't watching "The Wizard of Oz").

Nice outdoorsie theme. Thanks JL.

John Wolfenden said...

John Lampkin is one of my favorite constructors, but I feel like RPS is a tad obscure for a Tuesday. I would've gone with CUSE/RES, CUSE as is Carlton Cuse, writer/producer of "Lost," and RES as an abbreviation. Just sayin.

I always like animal themes, and the high density of fauna and flora is part of why I tend to enjoy Lampy's creations. Funny how it always seems to be RIVER OTTER and not SEA OTTER.

"Hair-raising product" for ROGAINE was cute.

Ole J. Forsberg, Ph.D. said...

Can someone explain for me the "slippery" tree clue? I figured out that it had to be an elm, but I am still in the dark.

Greg said...

As a Kansan I was happy to see both IOLA and PRAIRIE DOG.


tutu said...

@PG, If you don't mind me saying................FRENCH!!!! I love it when you say it.

hebow44 said...

Slippery Elm? Try Wikipedia. It's there.

Ole J. Forsberg, Ph.D. said...

Thanks. I understand now.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the Animal theme, I saw a "Great Land of Ours" theme originally. Mountains, Praries, Desert, Sea, etc.. My first thought was of the song "America the Beautiful". Also, what the heck is an IOLA and how does it relate to KC?!? Never seen that one before

KJGooster said...

@Anon: Iola is a city in Kansas. Note that the word "city" is not capitalized in the clue.

Debbi said...

I havent puzzeled in years, this was a great crossword to begin with and so fun to do. Old coots & qeezers brought back great memories, and the 'terms of endearment' they'd use, of my grandparents. Cursing was not allowed... haha +Happy Easter+