Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Name That Species”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upThis week we’re looking for a familiar life form, so let’s get into it, shall we?
Lots of theme material in this one, five traditional (longest across) entries and then another five shorter entries that are starred:
- 17a. [Sign in a takeout restaurant], ORDER HERE
- 23a. [All creation, religiously], KINGDOM OF GOD
- 36a. [Dignify], CLASS UP – I consider this a partial unless “the joint” is added to it :)
- 48a. [Original version of Trivial Pursuit], GENUS EDITION – pie wedges, anyone?
- 59a. [Peter Griffin’s title], FAMILY GUY – I recognize the reference, but not the name, so I first thought Peter was some member of royalty
And here are the starred entries (with enumerations), all anagrams of a “life form”:
- 41a. [*Mechanical fixture (1)], PINHOLD – DOLPHIN (order: Cetacea)
- 15a. [*In the doldrums (2)], LOW – OWL (kingdom: Animalia)
- 43a. [*Butcher’s cut (3)], LOIN – LION (class: Mammalia)
- 66a. [*Common vacation destination (4)], SHORE – HORSE (genus: Equus)
- 1a. [*Dramatically illuminated, in a way (5)], UPLIT – TULIP (family: Liliaceae)
So the first level of this one is to recognize that the theme entries all begin with a traditional taxonomic level (phylum and species are noticeably missing, but the latter is in the title). The second step is to find the animal/plant anagrams of the starred entries, but after that I was rather stuck. My first stab was to look up the genus and species of each of the starred entries (encouraged by the “species” in the title), but there are a heck of a lot of different dolphins and tulips, etc., so there were no unique entries to come up with here.I then thought to perhaps find out a higher level of each, maybe look at their families and use their beginning initials, but again this didn’t lead anywhere productive. Finally I hit upon matching up the theme entries (in order) with the enumerations and found the entries above. (Kudos to anyone who knew these without having to look them up online!) Take the first letter of each and you get CAMEL, a familiar life form to anyone who’s ever been to a zoo (or on a desert caravan).
I found this a pretty tough meta as the WSJ contest puzzles have gone of late, what with the multiple steps needed to reach the final meta solution. The entry LUNULES is completely new to me, and I strongly wanted PINHOLE before PINHOLD. Finally, I’m surprised I’ve never heard of the “simple board game” of LUDO, anyone played it before?