ORLANDO, Florida. Officials at Sea World were at a loss to explain what happened here yesterday, and experts say it was an aberration that is unlikely to be repeated. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said marine biologist Dr. Philip Crestin, “and there’s no reason for regular readers of the New York Sunday Times to be alarmed.”
For the time being, however, trainers will not be allowed in the water after Krystal, a six-year old dolphin, successfully completed the crossword puzzle in The New York Times Magazine in less time than Mandy Tuttle, a sophomore business major at Florida International University who works in marketing at the theme park.
Krystal ran through her customary routine of stunts, then was presented with a copy of the puzzle in a dishwasher-safe Ziploc plastic bag. She completed the answers in fifteen minutes, while Tuttle was still struggling with 6 across, “Brother of Harpo, Chico and Groucho.”
Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals on earth, and their friendly appearance and playful attitude causes humans to assume they will be congenial companions for board games, trivia contests and other “brain-teasers.” In fact, oceanographers say, competition with dolphins can be demoralizing for humans whose cognitive faculties have been rendered useless by excessive exposure to TV “reality” shows.
“It is imperative that we prepare ourselves for a world in which dolphins are no longer content to jump through hoops,” notes Crestin. “Their scores on high-stakes aptitude test are right behind Asian women and gaining.”
Krystal will not be put down, but for the time being will be confined to a secretarial pool in the hope that she can be rehabilitated. “We’re going to restrict her to ‘Find-a-Word’ puzzles, but it may be too late,” says Sea World Director of Marine Operations Lee White, Jr. “She already has a big head.”
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Wild Animals of Nature!”