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Pranksters Set Stadium Trap...Almost

Another Pre-GAME Joke Foiled

They're at it again.

A fountain of yellow paint forming a "Y" may have showered unwitting football players during tomorrow's game if University police had not uncovered yesterday a device made with fire extinguishers, rat traps, and yellow paint buried under the 50-yard line in Harvard Stadium.

Officials were reluctant to blame the prank on Yale tricksters because the fire extinguishers found were from M.I.T.

"I thought they were very ingenious," J. Lawrence Joyce, director of Buildings and Grounds, said of the pranksters. "I don't know how a referee or drummer in the band would have felt if he had been squirted with paint," Joyce added.

Earlier in the week, grounds personnel noticed burns in the turf around the 50-yard line. While replacing the area with sod, they discovered a wire leading into the ground and contacted University police, who called the bomb squad.

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Joyce stopped at the stadium while the bomb squad was there and wondered "what everyone was doing around the thing if there was a bomb in there," he said.

They discovered a two-foot by three-foot box three feet below the surface at midfield and disconnected a device that would have triggered fire extinguishers full of paint.

The box contained three large rat traps connected to the fire extinguishers. A wire led from the device to the opposing team's bench and along the sideline to the end zone.

The plan apparently was to attach a battery to the wires which would spring the rat traps which would activate the fire extinguishers which would spray paint the field through hoses arranged to form a yellow "Y," Joyce said.

"I'd say the thing would have worked. No doubt about it," Capt. Jack W. Morse of the University police said yesterday.

Area police declined to say last night whether arrests had been made or were expected in connection with the incident.

The only casualty incurred during the discovery of the prank resulted when paint gushed onto the suit coat of John Moran, assistant foreman of property maintenance at Weld Hall, Joyce said.

The fire extinguisher prank is the latest in a series of tricks Harvard and Yale have played on each other before the final game of the season. In past years the schools stole one another's flags, and the Harvard band hired a plane to fly over the stadium trailing the message: "Yale band eats moose."

"The people must have been masterminds to do it," Larry Brown '79, Harvard varsity football quarterback, said last night of the incident.

"You've got to expect stuff like that," he added. "It's part of the Ivy League tradition."

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