04.17.07 -- Neither FISH nor FOWL

Puzzle by Jennifer Nutt

Hey! A jelly”fish” is not a fish at all! A jellyfish is a marine invertebrate. That’s right -- despite their name, jellyfish are actually not fish! Jellyfish are made up of over 95% water, and they do not have brains, hearts, gills, bones, or blood. So, if jellyfish are not fish, what are they? Jellyfish belong to an animal group called invertebrates, because they do not have backbones. Fish are vertebrates, because they have backbones. Further, a “starfish” is really called a “sea star” and they are only distantly related to fish. Sea stars are a group of marine invertebrates.
Ooo...! 'n hey agin! Look at 30D (Like an ivory-billed woodpecker), RARE -- “Extinct” is not “rare” and the “Lord God” bird (Compephilus principalis) has not been proven to be “rare” (as in “hen’s teeth”, well maybe!) but more likely “extinct” (as in “T-Rex”); however, as the article states “Who knows? I personally can't tell a parakeet from a vulture.”

Aside from the technicalities, of which I’m sure I’ll be told no one gives a tinker’s damn, this is a tidy Tuesday crossword that groups the ends of entries with “fish” -- 17A SCAREDYCAT, 23A LITTLEANGEL, 48A EVENINGSTAR, 59A GRAPEJELLY, 11D MIDDAYSUN all tied to 33D FISHTAILS (“Has the rear end move side to side…or a hint to the five asterisked clues”).

Additionally, there is 8D SPANGLED (take your pick, Emperor, Perch, Pike) and 26D EEL (both are in the right family, you know, “fish”, from what I can gather) -- but I personally can’t tell an orca from an opah!
It was nice to see 1D Photographer ANSEL Adams today. Love 6D CYD Charisse of “Singing in the Rain” (the lady has been around the sun 86 times)! Liked that APE and RILL abut longitudinally (15A, 16A) to sort of form a homonym for "April" -- it has thusfar been such a rainy month! Strong macabre clue for 54A CHAIR (Drastic sentence with “the”). Never heard of 38A EVITE (You might R.S.V.P. online to this) before, but now I know -- made an easy correct guess though, what with crossword favorites EMAG, EBAY, EMAIL and E-everything flopping around in…ahem…on the net!
The fill was a little fishy, but not foul (groan) -- the usual ITE, APE, RDA, GPA, ENV, RES, DEN, EVE, ETD, MSG, SIN, OCT, and the four-letter “words” ECCE, AREA, ETTE, MULE, YEAS -- and with that a three-letter “yea” to this puzzle!
Illustrations: Above -- 30D Ivory-billed woodpecker. Below -- 59A, 23A, 17A, 48A, 11D, 8D, and 26D -- in other words, jellyfish, angelfish, catfish, starfish, sunfish -- with the extra catch of the day, a spangled perch and an eel.


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Anonymous said...

I like your blog. My husband and I here in Tennessee subscribe to the NYT by mail. (He worked in NYC for many years. We still care what goes on there.) I appreciate the time and effort that you put into this blog. Please continue.

DONALD said...


Thanks for stopping by! Hope you'll express your opinions in this Comments section -- what time of the day do they deliver the Times in your local area in Tennessee? On Long Island, it's thrown in the driveway about 6:00 AM -- lived about a year in neighboring Kentucky way back, so I am intrigued by your location. Again, let me know your view on the day's puzzle, keep me on my toes!

Linda G said...

Nice write-up, Donald.

Can't believe I almost missed such a well-thought-out theme.

Tax season is officially over. My husband has met with his last client, and he's on his way to pick me up for dinner. And, of course, I'll sign our return and get it in the mail. One can never rush these things ; )

DONALD said...

Thanks Linda! I think what happens with the electronic puzzle is that the clues get hidden due to constriction of space -- I just joined yesterday because we've been flooded so much on Long Island that all I get is a soggy mass of paper wrapped in blue plastic in the driveway -- so now I have an alternative, but I prefer the tactile pen-in-hand method -- when I looked at the electronic puzzle, it was difficult to discern the "theme" also, but when I printed it out, the clues were all visible at the same time and from that it was much easier to get the gimmick. Amy wrote a note in my Acrostic Comments that the "bookkeeping" is simplified in the electronic puzzle and that was a temptation. Check it out, as she says that when you enter a "defined word" answer, the corresponding letters automatically enter in the quote above. I have yet to try it, but now I can if I wish to do so. Maybe you can do yours that way and give a report to correspond with what I wrote about the old ink-on-paper method -- feel free to directly quote from that if you do decide to write something on it. It might be a good subject that will be of use to some of our "fans" in the far reaches of the USA or beyond! (Isn't that wishful thinking -- well, we know they're lurking, don't we!) -- have a good post-tax night out!

Anonymous said...

Here in rural Tennessee the day and time of delivery of the NYT is subject to the vagaries of the US Postal Service. Never the same day as the day of publication, though. I think it is printed in Atlanta.

DONALD said...


Well, until someone tells me to stop, you can get a blank copy of the current day's Times puzzle (or a previous one) here at the end of each "article".

Tennessee is sort of on the border of where the Times has it's printing facilities -- I'd guess they have one in Chicago also.

Thanks for your note!