Greater Antilles native once / WED 3-18-15 / 1984 #1 Billy Ocean hit / Former conductance unit / Inscription on classic letter box / Friend of Squidward / Comic who said meal is not over when I'm full meal is over when I hate myself / February revolution target / Rival ascot of Phillie Phanatic

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: BEEHIVE (60A: Where to find the ends of 19-, 36- and 51-Across) — ends of theme answers are words that are also bee types:

Theme answers:
  • CARIBBEAN QUEEN (19A: 1984 #1 Billy Ocean hit)
  • DOMESTIC WORKERS (36A: Maids, butlers and au pairs)
  • PREDATOR DRONES (51A: Aircraft in modern airstrikes)
Word of the Day: ARAWAK (42A: Greater Antilles Native, once) —
The Arawak are a group of indigenous peoples of South America and historically of the Caribbean. Specifically, the term "Arawak" has been applied at various times to the Lokono of South America and the Taíno, who historically lived in the Greater Antilles and northern Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, all of whom spoke related Arawakan languages. (wikipedia)
• • •

Started out very, very easy but then toughened up some toward the end. Theme phrases get increasingly interesting as the puzzle goes on, though the theme itself is thin, and not terribly interesting. Highly adequate. Placement of BEEHIVE is absurd—seems like something clever could've been done with a revealer: some kind of play on words … something. Needs an extra something. A little oomph. Fill is sufficiently vibrant, though I still refuse to believe a MONOSKI is a thing (18A: Relative of a snowboard). Even with BEEHIVE being a virtual gimme, that SE corner was the toughest one for me to put together. MHO … wouldn't come. I might've misspelled it as HMO, which is weird. MR. MET also didn't come easily, and I had a C v K crisis with ERIK, and I'm guessing a "rubber stamp" was a metaphor because I don't know of any stamps that just say "YES," and I haven't heard HOSER since "Strange Brew" was playing all the time on HBO 30+ years ago, and I really thought the "shower" in 44D: Something to put on before a shower was a bathroom shower, and I wouldn't put a PONCHO on under any circumstances anyway.  Most of rest of the grid was simple.


Didn't like clue on EASY CHAIR at all (20D: Sit back and enjoy it), first because I hate the "it" clues (e.g. [Step on it] for STAIR or GAS, [Beat it] for THE RAP, etc.) and second because the addition of "enjoy" is just weird. Adds nothing. Distracts. I had EASY and needed almost every cross to get CHAIR. Also, what is an EASY CHAIR? Is it a recliner? Just a … comfortable chair? Harper's appears to have a regular column called "Easy Chair." I don't know what's conveyed by the phrase. No one I know uses the phrase. It's vaguely familiar, perhaps from song lyrics … ? I maybe be getting EASY CHAIR confused with "Chevy Van" or Bob Dylan's big brass bed. I also don't know where the Greater Antilles are (I'm guessing the CARIBBEAN QUEEN lives there?) or what an ARAWAK is. I'm slightly exaggerating, in that I suspected the Greater Antilles were in the Caribbean (correct) and that ARAWAK were native Americans (correct). I've only seen / heard of ARAWAK in crosswords. If you're wondering how I can be so ignorant and still solve crosswords so fast, join the club. I wonder this often.


Really disturbed by 32A: Overwhelmed police officer's request until I realized the answer was BACK-UP, not "BACK UP!" I think recent protests in Ferguson, New York, and elsewhere really colored my perception of what was happening in that clue and why the police officer felt "overwhelmed." Puzzle already has the deeply troubling PREDATOR DRONES in it. Police officer shouting "BACK UP!" would've been a little too much potentially violent state power for one puzzle. For my tastes.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

122 comments:

Anonymous 12:06 AM  

Billy Ocean was huge in high school. Get out of my dreams ( and into my car) was also fantastic
How has Rex never heard of a rubber stamp(er) as a yes man!
I

Mike 12:07 AM  

Fastest Wednesday ever. Very easy.

Gabe Tuerk 12:19 AM  

Ara-wack, this. Or said otherwise - LESSER Antilles

wreck 12:20 AM  

This may not have been the fastest ever Wednesday for me, but it was probably up there. I really didn't get hung-up anywhere, but MHO was the last to fall -- it took sussing MR. MET to bring it home.

wreck 12:30 AM  

Interesting tidbit I just learned from Googling "Mr. Met.":

John Wilkes Booth. Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Met?

A Secret Service agent threatened to put some high heat in the Mets mascot’s oversized dome if he ventured too close to former President Bill Clinton during a 1997 game at Shea Stadium.

“We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” the agent warned. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. But approach the President, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”

AJ Mass, the man inside the Mr. Met outfit from 1994-97, recounted his brush with mortality (and perhaps immortality) in his new memoir “Yes, It’s Hot in Here — Adventures in the Weird, Wooly World of Sports Mascots.”

jae 12:41 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  There were a couple of fine long downs and I found the theme answers zippier than Rex did.  I asked my bride if she'd ever heard of ARAWAK and she accused me of ignoring the tour guides when we were in Aruba and Bonaire.  I think that was more than 7 years ago so the same mechanism that destroys crossword puzzle memories must be at work.

Liked it.

Steve J 1:28 AM  

If this wasn't my fastest Wednesday, it was close to it. Tore through it like it was a Monday puzzle. No idea why it went so quickly, as I didn't feel like I was really clicking with it.

Theme was decent, in that I filled all the themers in before getting to the reveal and wondered what connected them together. It was a decent - if not chuckle-worthy - aha moment.

Nothing remarkable about this one, either good or bad (if I ignore SOI).

chefwen 1:43 AM  

Usually my boyfriend Peter gets all the Neverland press, today I get a little ink, WOO HOO!

Easy/medium here too. ARAWAK mostly lucky guessing. MHO was also my last fill. Loved AMSCRAY.

Anoa Bob 1:56 AM  

Pretty sure I've seen a MONOSKI before, for use by skiers who have lost or don't have full use of their legs. Lemme see....yep, here's one.

George Barany 2:21 AM  

@Timothy Polin shows considerable skill in pulling off this relatively straightforward themed puzzle. While as a solver, I thought it was very much on the easy side of typical mid-week offerings, the constructor in me appreciates the various technical issues that Tim had to wrestle with, as nicely discussed over at xwordinfo.com,

The MHO / MRMET crossing didn't faze me at all. They say that you essentially root the rest of your life for whatever piece of laundry you become infatuated with at age 8 or 9, and that has certainly held true for me with respect to the one-time denizens of Shea Stadium.

Most everyone knows that "ohm" is the unit of resistance, from Ohm's Law V = IR, so it's easy to remember "mho"--the unit of conductance--as its reciprocal which is conveniently "ohm" spelled backwards. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats in charge of unit names have decided to move on, so the awkward "former" has been appended to the clue for quite some time now. Somehow, there isn't the same demand for the seven letters of "siemens" (never used in the Shortz era) as there is for MHO (18 Shortz, and 18 more pre-Shortz).

Ellen S 2:47 AM  

I did fine until 49Across&Down - no idea of either one so had to throw in random letters until I hit the right one.

However, as I am a Chicago native, "Rubber Stamp" was a gimme.

Carola 3:07 AM  

This was a very fast Wednesday for me, too. The only entries where I had no idea, CARIBBEAN QUEEN and ERIK, were easy to get from crosses, although I hesitated for a bit in the HOSER x MHO area. I saw the BEES before getting to their HIVE - I'd wondered if this would be one of the occasional themed puzzles without a reveal.

Interesting central cross: EASY CHAIR x DOMESTIC WORKERS (with TIDY weighing upon them).

Nice pairing of CARIBBEAN and ARAWAK, along with ISLETS. I also liked FEDORAS, OSIRIS, WOODSY.

GILL I. 4:48 AM  

Well, I had Indiana wearing PANAMAS. I PAY my meters but persnickety has to be DIVA right? Erase, erase...Ooh, now everything fits.
I just really liked this puzzle. I spent the first 15 years of my life being a CARIBBEAN QUEEN and would have been a SPONGE BOB HOBO if my dad had allowed it.
I'm going to use HOSER today and see if anyone knows what I'm talking about.
BEEs rock, Timothy Polin!

pfb 5:06 AM  

A pretty fast solve today. The few things I did not know I got from the crosses. MRMET was a gimme for me. Seemed a bit easy for a Wednesday.

John Child 5:40 AM  

Five Ks, five Ys, four Ws, four Hs, thee Vs, six Ps. WHOA! That's a Scrabbly puzzle. Lotsa love for LIMN, SPONGE BOB, and ITS A STEAL.

Domo arigato Mr Met ... Er, Polin

smalltowndoc 6:19 AM  

Last couple of days, thought @Rex was starting to mellow. No such luck. He's back to his usual, "I never heard of it so it must be bad fill." Really, @Rex, not familiar with EASYCHAIR, ARAWAK, MONOSKI OR GREATER ANTILLES, so that's the constructor's fault? By the way, the Greater Antilles are the four large islands in the northern Caribbean: Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. *Sigh*. Maybe I'll just stick with Bill Butler's NYT puzzle blog. It's both mature and educational. nyt crossword.com

Anonymous 7:14 AM  

"Whoo-ee! Ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, oh, are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair!"

--Dylan

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

Congratulations, Timothy Polin, for earning rex's highest praise: "Highly adequate."

Loren Muse Smith 7:31 AM  

Whoa. LIMN. Cool. This word must have been flying under my radar. "Erik's canvas limns a hesitation to stint on the finer details. . ."

STINT. I guess I go the "scrimp" or "skimp" route. Or misspell "stent."

I didn't know that LOUIS CK said this, but that's my M.O., too. I'm incapable of stopping when I'm full.

Just like Rex – I couldn't see that southeast corner. The C in ERIK didn't help, and, @George Barany, I didn't know MHO was a former anything. Thanks for the note about that. I like that the reciprocal of Ohm is, truly, the reciprocal. Makes you want to run off and name other reciprocals, huh? ERG-GRE, TESLA-ALSET.

I didn't know HOSER was Canadian. When I worked in a restaurant in Atlanta in the late '70s/early '80s, we called a bozo a HOSER, too.

Fine Wednesday, Timothy! Your puzzles always limn a deft hand at grid-filling. YES and YAY!

Darth Smith 7:31 AM  

I remember someone commenting earlier this week on the unnecessary "extra information" in a clue (I believe it was "Darth from Star Wars" or something like that. Like there's another famous Darth.) I mean, does Squidward have a different friend on another channel?! Is there a non-tyrannical Amin who might make an appearance in a crossword puzzle?!

joho 7:34 AM  

I'm always interested in see how a constructor works 14's into grid so for that alone I liked this one..

BUSYASABEE would have been a fun reveal. Speaking of which there were lot of B's in this puzzle ... nice touch!



Rhino 7:50 AM  

Theme was dull. Fill was great. Difficulty was perfect for a Wednesday. Overall I liked it a lot.

@chefwen: I just happened to read Peter Pan about a month ago. An odd book; it's funny the things that become classic. Anyway, I'd describe Wendy's relationship with Peter as more matronly than romantic.

NCA President 7:51 AM  

Count me in as finding this puzzle easy. My favorite way to solve puzzles these days (albeit, a slow way) is to go through the acrosses, then the downs, and do that once more before I go back and nail everything down. The first pass yielded lots of answers (untypical for a Wednesday, for me), and then cycling through the first pass of downs, I got a ton more. So much so, that I didn't have to cycle twice...I just went back in a filled everything in.

I got the theme on the first pass of my downs.

Easy peasy.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

From a veteran and slow solver I would say that except for the SW corner the puzzle had a Tuesday feel to it.
But the combination of AMSCRAY crossing MRMET and HOSER created my personal natiks.
Same hiccups as Rex. But enjoyable.

chefbea 8:08 AM  

Had Queen and workers and knew the theme right off!! Had trouble with MHO. hoser and Mrmet. Other than that , pretty easy. Never heard of LouisCK. thought I had one of a crosses wrong. Guess I'll google him

Z 8:16 AM  

Of course Timothy Polin does a BEE puzzle.

Right with Rex on the police clue. Policing, like teaching, involves interacting with every slice of society that is us. Applied social work is what it is. Yet, we don't give police any of that kind of training. Want to learn how to restrain an irate 250 lb. guy with serious mental/emotional issues. I know some 5'4" women trained in special education who can help you and they do it without a gun.

RAD2626 8:27 AM  

Fun puzzle. Cute theme even if it was derivative of a Green Hornet puzzle that appeared in 1948 Easy, but perhaps only because I knew all the proper names for a change.

Clever clue for Mr. Met, particularly given the ubiquitous ad the two of them did for Stand Up to Cancer/MasterCard.

Glimmerglass 8:29 AM  

When my sons were teenagers, they began calling Hosni Mubarak "the Hoser." Not a politucal statement; they just thought it was a funny name. (At least they were watching the news.)

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

@Glimmerglass--my friends and I took it a step further. "That guy really Mubaraked me." Etiology the same as your teen sons'.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

for the record: the Arawaks still exist and keep track of lineage. I knew an Arawak princess (literally a princess, not just annoyingly self-involved) who married a Florida boy and often flew back home to see family. Questioned by customs at Miami International Airport regarding her resident status, she replied "My people have lived here for 4000 years? What about yours?" She was short and spunky and very good at darts.

Bird 9:04 AM  

Easy fun puzzle but stared at and double checked crosses for LIMN. No idea what that is so it looks wrong. Theme is just okay and I agree with Rex on the revealer. Maybe it shoulda went down the center.

Happy Humpday!

AliasZ 9:06 AM  


- Tim Polin caused my hay fever to return with his IDI INE AIG INST CHI ESS SOI MHO.
- When USC OPS get into a tight situation, we have to call for BACKUP, don't we?
- After his third appearance in NYT puzzles since last Nov., LOU ISCK is still totally unknown to me. Now LOU Abbott is an entirely different matter.
- What are CARIB BEANs and why do they need a QUEEN? Do they make a good BEAN soup?
- Patron: "What is this fly doing in my CARIB BEAN soup?" Waiter: "The back STROKE."
- I wonder if Roman Polanski owns a MONOSKI.
- I appreciated the avoidance of Satie for ERIK (overdone) but who the heck is Mr. Spoelstra and why is he NYT crossworthy?
- EASYCHAIR was one of the first English terms I ever learned.
- Public service announcement: "When driving your car into the setting sun, lower DIVISOR."

Enjoyed this easier than usual Wednesday romp. It was a little light on themers, but their length made up for it. 1A could have been clued "What you will never see worn by the subjects of this puzzle."

What I liked about it most was that WORKERS and DRONES were plural, but a BEEHIVE can only have one QUEEN, and she was the top theme entry overlooking the WORKERS and the lowly DRONES. It would have been more interesting if BEEHIVE were clued with reference to Utah, and let the stupid solver figure out the rest.

You expected music by ERIK Satie or WENDY Carlos today, right? Wrong.

ANDREAS Pevernage (c.1542/43-1591) was a Flemish composer and choirmaster of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. This is a brief sample of music by Pevernage together with Cornelis Verdonck (1563-1625) and Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi (1554-1609). For good measure, here is some lovely example of another of the Antwerp cathedral's famous musical contributors as vicar-singer, another Flemish composer, Johannes Ockeghem (c.1410/25-1497).

Enjoy your Wednesday.

Roo Monster 9:07 AM  

Hey All !
"You HOSER!" Bob & Doug MacKensie.

Liked the puz. Like @chefbea (bee?) had QUEEN & WORKERS, then read the revealer clue and wrote in BEEHIVE. This was a rather easy WedsPuz, a few answers I never heard of though. LIMN, didn't think that could possibly be right, but lo and behold. ARAWAK was new, too. STINT=economical was odd. Never heard PLAT. MHO is new to me for some reason. I guess I never paid attention before when it was in other puzs. Like how SAWN looks, plus WOODSY is cool. One writeover: neat for TIDY.

Only 34 blocks, not too shabby. A shame he couldn't eliminate the NE/SW block, though. Just sayin'.

AMSCRAY
RooMonster
DarrinV

jberg 9:19 AM  

I don't know from Billy Ocean; that is, I knew there was such a person, but little more. So when I saw that a guy named Ocean had done a song with CARIBBEAN in the title, I figured that was the theme. It didn't help me think of any other possible theme answers, though (@Loren?)

Growing up, we always had one chair in the living room called the EASY CHAIR -- with more stuffing, and either an ottoman (which we called a hassock) or one of those little extensions that comes out when you lean back. Is it a midwestern thing? Now that I think of it, Archie Goodwin (of the Nero Wolfe novels) always talks of 'overstuffed' chairs.

OK, that's today's pontification. And if you are wondering how I can not know Billy Ocean or ERIK Spoelstra and still solve crossword puzzles, I often wonder that myself.

p.s. News here is that our ex-Gov Mitt Romney is going to box a few rounds with EVANDER Holyfield. Details here.

Leapfinger 9:20 AM  

SPONGEBOB and ISLETS, PIKES, CANVAS and KEEL...YES, we're seeing some LIMNology,for shore!! YAY for SLY STROKES, even when it isn't ANDREA'S fault.

When I filled in QUEEN, I jumped the gun, thought the other themers might end in BRONC* and MANHATTAN, with a vertical TRIBORO BRidge running through. I must have been in a NYC state of mind. Sometimes my reach does exceed my grasp.

Also went with 'unmanned DRONES' first. Enjoyed seeing CINQ on account of the sad tale of five cats on a boat: a storm came up, and un deux trois quatres CINQ.
(Not sure which was French, the cats or the boat.)

It's been AGES since the bailouts, but apparently AIG did not wither nor custom STEAL its infinite notoriety. [oops]I meant'variety'.

Have to AMSCRAY now, but first, have some FEDORA, m'dear.

Thanks, TimP! In MHO, you gave us just what we deSERB**





*QUEEN-Queens, BRONC-Bronx in case elucidation is needed.

**If @NCAPrez was reading this, he just went into septic shock

quilter1 9:25 AM  

What, no Eric the half a bee? I liked this although I missed the MHO/MrMet cross. Didn't know either one. But the rest was easy and fast. Getting back to my favorite things like crosswords and quilting following my mother's final illness and death.

Horace S. Patoot 9:29 AM  

if you ever rented a monoski you would remember it. It was a miserable thing from the early 80s. It was no match for the snowboard.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:30 AM  

A bee-themed puzzle without much sting.

I got a bit diverted in the far NW corner, with its cross of FED/EPI/DIV with FED/EPI/DIV, but no one else has mentioned it. I actually wondered if the pattern would be continued as a kind of theme!

Cea 9:34 AM  

An easy chair is Britspeak for any sort of comfortable chair. Easy. And while a monoski exists, it seems a completely different animal to a snowboard to me. Just quibbling. Maybe because I had to google mho, and I hate googling on a Wednesday.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Squidward is NOT Spongebob's friend. Squidward can't stand Spongebob. They are neighbors and they are co-workers at the Krusty Krab. But friends? No. Hey Poilin, haven't you ever been to Bikini Bottom?

Leapfinger 9:47 AM  

@RAD676, I don't remember the Green Hornet puzzle, but the similarity to a certain TERMite theme sure put a BEE in my bonnet.

@Alias, excellent placement! When I got to that closing DIVISOR, I roared. In MHO, there's no obvious rationale to the spelling of Dutch names.

I think perhaps one WOODSY 'unSTINTing praise' more often than the unadorned STINT:"Don't STINT when you're dishing out the chestnut stuffing".
[Four 'in' STINTs]

@jberg Honey, there's a little more themery in the constructor, Timothy Pollen.

Tita 10:00 AM  

YAY me, for guessing that DRONES would have to be next.

@Leapy - a friend's kid sent me a postcard from Paris telling me she was staying at the George Sank.

I suppose that some of the suggestions by Rex and here might have made the puzzle zippier, but it was a fine Wednesday IMO.
Thanks Mr. Polin.

August West 10:00 AM  

Nice Monday.

Larry 10:01 AM  

@smalltowndoc - I can't support you enough in your decision to switch to Bill Butler's blog. It's ever so nice a site, giving you brief blurbs about selected answers. In doing so, it obviates the need to be capable of critical reading, something you're apparently incapable of. At Butler's site, you're not going to have to be able to parse a sentence such as "Didn't like clue on EASY CHAIR at all (20D: Sit back and enjoy it), first because I hate the "it" clues.." and realize the writer wasn't saying EASY CHAIR was a bad answer, but that the writer of the sentence didn't like the clue. That's got to be a huge relief, no? Between that, and when Rex follows up a self deprecating paragraph on general Caribbean confusion with "If you're wondering how I can be so ignorant and still solve crosswords so fast, join the club. I wonder this often.", you won't have to suffer the ignominy of thinking he was trashing the answers, when in fact he was making fun of his own shortcomings.

chefbea 10:02 AM  

@Quilter. Welcome back. Sorry for your loss

Tita 10:04 AM  

@quilter - welcome back. So sorry to hear about your mother.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Easy puzzle, except for Amscray, "get lost?".

Mikey From ABQ 10:13 AM  

Some comments on Rex's comments:
Monoski is a thing. It's often used by handicapped skiers. And, there are hybrids, where the two halves can split (aka splitski). Less seen on slopes than (in order) alpine skis, snowboards, telemark skis, alpine terrain (AT, aka randonee).
Re the Bob Dylan reference: you should have mentioned "Ain't Goin Nowhere," which has a line "... Down in the easy chair..."
Peace

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Well I, for one, enjoy the "it" clues. Suck it, lollipop.

Ludyjynn 10:19 AM  

This puzzle makes me feel very, very old for one reason: I cannot accept the fact that CARIBBEANQUEEN dates back to 1984!!! Say it ain't so. Where the hell does the time go? WHOA is me.

Hand up, @LMS for LIMN being new to me, too. So you can teach an old dog a new trick, I guess. It did prevent me from finishing an otherwise easy Wed. puzz. in near record time. How to use the word in real life?!

Like @Z, I got a kick out of the constructor's name complementing the theme so well. Sure hope our local bees haven't been misled by the warmer weather lately, as another cold front arrived today and will be sticking around through the weekend. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching a huge and vocal skein of Canada geese flying northward. Not a HOSER in the group! BTW, you call them a 'gaggle' when they are standing around on the ground, but not in-flight. Go figure.

Thanks, TP and WS.

Nancy 10:24 AM  

Can someone please explain PLAT to me as a "real estate reference"? I had fLAT, Britspeak for apartment, saw the F wasn't working in f-NCH- (???), ran the alphabet, but couldn't find a substitute. I failed to finish this puzzle, because I didn't know PLAT, didn't know HOSER and didn't know MHO. Par number confused me, since I was looking for, well, a NUMBER, so I never thought of STROKES, even though I had ST--(CK?)ES. (How blind can one be?) This seemed boringly easy until I hit the SE, then became (for me) unsolvable.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Hey Nancy--why don't you use "the google" and find out what plat means?

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

It's right here on "the wiki:"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plat

Doug Garr 10:33 AM  

The MONOSKI clue was sketchy if not totally accurate. It's legit but nobody ever uses the term any more. It is actually one of the early inventions, and I recall seeing an article about it in 1972. A better clue would have been "snowboard precursor." Had a lot of trouble with the southeast corner even though I got MRMET.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

I feel like we had the exact same MONOSKI clue in the last six months. Maybe one of you people with access to a database can verify?

Anony, Jr. 10:40 AM  

@ludy j: She limned the gravity of the situation in no uncertain terms.
ie, described/outlined, either in speech or in art.

@Nancy, I've done some office help for my real-estate offspring,and a PLAT is just a map that LIMNs the roads and buildings. As noted, it's googlable for better detail.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Seems like ol Rex was easily stumped today.

MONOSKis are real and seen about as often as a TBAR (rarely)
Who can forget Bob & Doug McKenzie, "take off you HOSER?"
And HMO is the opposite of an OHM, conductance vs resistance. OHM is eponymous, a favorite word in crossword puzzles.
And he really overthought actually was hyper sensitized to BACKUP. As in I need BACK UP (now!) not BACK UP! or I'll shoot. Geeesh, such a lib.

Joseph Michael 11:02 AM  

Solid puzzle despite the abundance of three letter words. Liked the hierarchy of power implied with the QUEEN on top, the DRONES in the lowest position, and the WORKERS in the middle.

Wanted EASY THERE before the much better EASY CHAIR. Liked AMSCRAY, STROKES, and SPONGEBOB. Guessed my way through the SE corner thanks to MHO and HOSER.

Thought BEEHIVE might have been clued as a hairstyle of yore.

Jeff 11:09 AM  

Why is AMSCRAY even allowed? I'd understand something like IXNAY but AMSCRAY doesn't feel right... I don't think I've ever heard it spoken. Hated that corner, but maybe I'm being too ensetivesay.

Hartley70 11:11 AM  

@Nancy, where I grew up PLAT had a more common colloquial usage. We lived in a development of post WWII houses and an area such as that was referred to as a PLAT in 1950's RI.

Condolences to you @quilter1. That is such a wrenching loss, no matter your age.

My feelings about the puzzle are much like everyone else. CARIBBEANQUEEN was unheard of as was MHO and HOSER. I'll add MRMET to the list. Still, it was quick and fun and I'm pleased with a bit of challenge.


Z 11:13 AM  

I usually skim the anonymous postings for the occasional questioner seeking an answer, but the anonydick is posting so often that now I'm just deleting without even reading. I'll check back in a week and see if anonydick has found another blog to annoy.

@Nancy - I had often seen PLAT maps without knowing what they were called. We've been busy rearranging our lives with three property transactions in the past 13 months, so now I'm somewhat of an "expert." (BTW - @Lewis and other North Carolinians - we will be winter neighbors now).

Z 11:15 AM  

@Quilter - Sorry to hear of your loss.

Z 11:18 AM  

AMSCRAY is so "in the language" that it now gets it own definition as an English word. Note the origin.

Crosscan 11:34 AM  

I thoroughly covered HOSER in the comments on August 8.
http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.ca/2008/08/wednesday-aug-6-2008-caleb-madison.html

Crosscan 11:35 AM  

Sorry, should say August 6, 2008.

old timer 11:41 AM  

This was a generational puzzle, much easier for those in mine than those in Rex's, I think. Here's one easy chair to be down in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2JnDKvuNzw

I must admit, as I zipped through the puzzle, I was asking myself, "What nasty things will Rex say about it?" But I think he liked it, and his "easy chair" remark was the only thing I disagreed with.

My only writeover was because I confidently thought that "anthill" was the answer instead of the obvious BEEHIVE. I know who Mr. Met is, and he seems to be more important to the fans on Lawn Guyland than the Giants mascot is at China Basin (aka AT&T Park)

Nancy 11:46 AM  

Thanks @Z and thanks @Hartley70 for the info. And my sincere condolences also to @quilter.

mac 11:47 AM  

Easy Wednesday, with the theme very clear after the first two answers.

I've learned limn, Mho from puzzles, no problem with them. Amazing, @Bob Kerfuffle, the little 3 x 3 you mentioned!

@Darth Smith: if Nickelodeon hadn't been mentioned I would have had a lot more trouble with that clue. Never watched the show but I have certainly seen the little character Bob.

"Liberal" is, to me, one of the most beautiful words in the English language. It sounds generous, free and accepting of differences.

Lewis 11:48 AM  

@Z -- Good catch with Polin/bee! And you'll love the winters here
@RAD -- Loved your opening.

The puzzle seemed Tuesday easy and Tuesday themey. I would like more clever/tricky cluing on Wednesday. This is not Timothy's fault, and it's tough even to blame Will, who has to accurately place puzzles every day of the year.

Yesterday I wore green; maybe today I should wear a yellow jacket. Oh, I just saw that yellow jackets aren't bees!

Catherine 11:49 AM  

Along with the cops calling for BACK UP and the PREDATOR DRONES killing people from far up in the sky, this puzzle had another element that disturbed me. The clue on EASY CHAIR, "Sit back and enjoy it" evoked an utterly unpleasant quote once said by a dunderheaded politician about rape: "If it's inevitable, just sit back and enjoy it."-- Clayton Williams, Texan Republican Candidate for Governor, 1990. It seems a long time ago for such a thing to stick in my mind. But every time a lame-brained political type sticks his foot in his mouth about rape, the media truck this out again and remind us. Otherwise, I like bees. But rape, police violence and the wayward use of drones, not so much.

Benko 12:09 PM  

I have good friends who are Canadian and live in Victoria! and they scoff at the idea that Canadians ever say "HOSER".
EASY CHAIR, on the other hand, is a term I grew up with. Maybe it's a Southern thing?
@jae: Adorable dog in your avatar pic,
@Z: I have long held that police should be highly paid and highly trained. It should be an elite occupation, not something that bullies do because they can't get another job.

NCA President 12:16 PM  

RAD2626...funny stuff!

Masked and AnonymoUUUs 12:18 PM  

If I ever pick a name other than M&A, would really strongly consider MHO MONOSKI.

A themeless-style 72-word grid with a theme. Somethin for everybody. Has anyone else mentioned it's a honey of a puz? Well, let me be the next in the long line, at least.

Speakin of thUmbsUp puzs, today's La Times really went for it.

@quilter1: My deepest sympathies to you. Consider yerself herewith hugged.

@63: Tolerable good write-up, today. No other type-bee puzs in the history books, evidently? Just a coupla silver b's, then, for completion's sake...

* INE AIG SOI MHO. YAY, weejects.
* ARAWAK. WHOA. Have changed my mind. Wanna be MHO ARAWAK, someday.
* CANVAS = start for some art. Maybe. Let's see how far U get, without the paint, tho.
* EASYCHAIR. Nope. One more change... MHO EASYCHAIR sounds real good.

M&A

** gruntz **

Tex Antoine 12:20 PM  

@Catherine - Can't those vile Texans even come up with their own vile remarks?

According to the Wikipedia article on Tex Antoine, (and What-da-ya-know, for the sake of today's puzzle, aka "Uncle Wethbee"),

On November 24, 1976, on the 6 p.m. broadcast, Antoine's weather report came up just after a story of the rape of an eight-year-old girl. Tex thereupon quipped: "With rape so predominant in the news lately, it is well to remember the words of Confucius: 'If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it'."

NCA President 12:24 PM  
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Lewis 12:25 PM  

Factoid: Starting on March 25, 1929, Bill Williams from Hondo, Texas, spent 21 days on the Pikes Peak Highway pushing a peanut to the summit with his nose.

Quotoid: "Friends should always tell you the truth. But please don’t." -- LOUIS C.K.

Z 12:35 PM  

@Benko - Yep. I'd throw in early, generous retirement packages as well. Police and teachers - you get what you pay for. I don't know about police pay, but I know in teaching we often pay more to teachers with the easiest students to instruct and give our neediest students the least paid, trained, and experienced teachers.

I'm OTL. Tomorrow.

OISK 12:36 PM  

I know Louis CK only from puzzles, and never heard of Carribean queen nor Billy Ocean. Hoser did not click with me either. But my main problem was not knowing "plat" and wanting to put "plot" with "urso" . I chose correctly, so no DNF today. For once Rex and I do agree, very nice puzzle!

Steve J 12:39 PM  

@old timer: I'm the same age as Rex, and this puzzle didn't strike me of having a generational skew. I think it's just variances in what gets easily dredged from memory. I recall AMSCRAY from Looney Tunes cartoons, EASY CHAIR from I don't know where. HOSER dates from my youth, when Bob and Doug McKenzie were briefly a thing in the States, as does Billy Ocean, who was played say too much in the mid 80s. And there are modern answers like PREDATOR DRONE and LOUIS C.K.

NCA President 12:51 PM  

Anon 8:57am...I am very good friends with several Kenyan princes. they email me a lot.

evil doug 1:06 PM  

OISK@ 1236: Rex did not call this a "very nice puzzle." He called it "highly adequate." Big difference. Imagine your wife applying these to sex. NOT interchangeable.

chefbea 1:22 PM  

@Z where in NC?

NCA President 1:36 PM  
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Z 1:36 PM  

@ChefBea - Black Mountain.

chefbea 2:19 PM  

@Z no where me

NCA President 2:24 PM  

Leapfinger... I can see one of those pun centered posts a mile away. I've learned to read around them.

Carola 2:25 PM  

@quilter1 - I'm so sorry.

NCA President 2:25 PM  

Leapfinger... I can see one of those pun centered posts a mile away. I've learned to read around them.

chefwen 2:26 PM  

@Quilter1 - I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathy to you and yours.

NeilD 2:35 PM  

I'm confused that people don't know HOSER. To me it's a quaintly Canadian as "Eh?". MHO is easy for me because I remember it's just OHM backwards. (conductance = 1/resistance) . MONOSKI looks tricky but I've definitely heard of it. I didn't like the EASY CHAIR clue either but I'm aware of the phrase. I wanted LAZY CHAIR though because of LA-Z BOY chairs. I hate AMSCRAY. I've been doing crosswords enough that I should just file it away but I am definitely not a fan.

JTHurst 2:53 PM  

I obtained most of my information on the Arawaks from Michener's Caribbean book (great read). The Spanish treatment of the Arawak and Carib natives shaped the history of the Caribbean and the US for years to come. Because of the indolence of the Spanish settlers and the religious inquisition, over 500,000 natives were killed through overworking, disease and inhumanity.

One of the great pogroms in history considering the percentage of the remaining native population after the conclusion of the Spanish landowners genocide of the Caribs and Arawaks. This decimation occurred over a 100 year period starting in the 16th century.

This almost total loss of native workers caused the Spanish to contract with slavers in Africa to supply new workers, thus starting the African slave trade in the new world.

Lewis 2:54 PM  

@Z -- we'll have to get together, I'm in Asheville.

mac 2:59 PM  

@Quilter1: very sorry for you and your family.

LindaPRmaven 4:22 PM  

Easy as a Monday. Just fill the squares. Only thing that gave me pause was MHO and HOSER. Luckily MRMET was a gimme so guessed at the H and was right. Anyone else bothered by brick house clue for ADOBE? I never think of an Adobe structure that way.

mathguy 5:52 PM  

We're in Maui and having trouble with the hotel computer. Too late to comment but I enjoyed listening to the conversation.

Ludyjynn 6:07 PM  

@anonjr, Thanks for 'limning' practical usage of the word. My friends will look at me as if I'm crazy if I throw it out during casual conversation. Should be amusing to watch their reactions.

@quilter, welcome back and my condolences to you and yours.

@TexAntoine, I remember 'Uncle Weatherbe', but sure am glad I missed his forecast that Nov. day in '76. Might have thrown something at the tv screen.

quilter1 6:55 PM  

Thanks, everyone.

Numinous 6:56 PM  

I haven't commented these past couple of days because I found nothing in the puzzles worthy of comment. I'm still waiting. I will say that the past three puzzles were disappointingly easy for me.

But I do have one nit to pick with the comments. Decimate. It's one of the most misused words frequently heard. People use it to mean nearly or completely destroyed when it really means reduced by 10%. Think about it. What does the root, decem, imply? Decimation was a punishment for a Roman legion that screwed up particularly by showing cowardice. The legion, around 800 men, would be ordered to form up and count off. Every ninth man was then required to kill every tenth man. Needles to say, it wasn't a very common occurrence.

@Quilter. allow me to offer my condolences. It's an empty feeling, I know. Wishing the best for you and yours.

Teedmn 7:32 PM  

Drat, DNF today because I put in AMSCRAm and never looked back. Lots of fun words, RENEGED and LIMN my faves. I always see the word LIMN used in the sense of outlined: "She was LIMNed in light."

I bought a PLAT map once in order to see who owned the land I wanted to ask permission to hunt on (turkey hunting, haven't done it in years now, I'd rather just watch them.)

@quilter1, you have my deepest sympathy, so sorry about your mother.

C'mon Man 7:35 PM  

@Numinous - So, when you say that your SSN is a nine digit number, are you saying that it is a number that has nine fingers or toes? Because that's what digit means, if we're going to hold everything strictly according to what its original Latin meaning was.

For hundreds of years, decimate has meant to totally destroy.

Teedmn 7:38 PM  

@Numinous, I think the exact same thing every time someone uses "decimate" incorrectly (which is always, I believe). I always silently say to myself, "so, only 10% of the town was 'decimated' by the tornado" or whatever other disaster is under discussion. I suppose it's more language creep.

Carola 7:39 PM  

@Numinous - Re: decimate, thank you. I knew it didn't mean annihilate but I thought it meant to reduce to ten percent, i.e., out of 800, 8 would be left!

Carola 7:41 PM  

Yikes, 80!

Charles Flaster 8:50 PM  

Easy and thorough.
Totally disagree with Rex.
Liked cluing-- EASY CHAIR, PONCHO,DIVISOR, ISLETS and CANVAS.
Love Billy Ocean and regret never seeing him in person.
No crosswordEASE and enjoyed other fill.
Thanks TP.

Nancy 8:58 PM  

WHEW! I've long since come to terms with the fact that I can't envision a single detail on any map in my mind's eye; don't know the difference between composing in D Flat or C Sharp (with a nod to NCA prez and Benko) and am completely hopeless in technology and all things computer and computer-related. But to discover that I -- a writer -- have been misusing the word DECIMATE for my entire life was simply too much to bear. Except that I haven't been. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1979, so not so new) gives as its 3rd definition of DECIMATE: "to destroy a large part of." Not the preferred definition (1."to select by lot and kill every tenth man") but a perfectly acceptable one. Boy, am I ever relieved!

C'mon Man! 9:08 PM  

@Nancy - Just think, if you got the new and complete Webster's, or looked online, you'd be using the banner definition. You may now sleep well, counting all nine toes on your SSN.

Z 9:17 PM  

@C'mon man - My SSN is made up of digits, one of ten symbols used to represent numbers. These ten symbols can be used a wide variety of things, including 0.123456789, also known as the number of friends you make by being mean on the internet.

@Others - Regarding decimate, remember "that language has an ineluctable desire to change."

C'mon Man 10:54 PM  

@Z - Exactly, your SSN is made up of nine digits, and DECIMATE perfectly well means to fundamentally destroy. If one is going to say that DECIMATE means only to reduce by 1/10th, because that's what it originally meant in Latin, then digit means only finger, as that's what it originally meant in Latin. Which, I would think, was obvious. And it's not mean to point out the logical fallacy of someone's argument. Which, I would think, is equally obvious.

Leapfinger 1:14 AM  

@Z, good move. Welcome to the Old North State.

@NCA, Mr. President, so I see. Maybe small doses could act as an inoculum.

@Evil, re that thing of applying 'highly adequate' and 'very nice' to sex. I don't know about Mrs. OISK specifically, but they could be interchangeable to someone who was teddibly British. Viscount Pshaw-Huffingleigh in a cartoon in Punch, perhaps.

@Neil, I so hope you meant "quintessentially" instead of 'quaintly' Canadian. [Hoser] It's wise to tread softly in dealing with a country whose national symbol is the beaver.

I'm coming, OK? 2:31 AM  

Aw, c'mon Man, @C'mon man, if you're going to quibble about the exactitude of a word, it behooves you to watch the remainder of your language. When you say 'for hundreds of years', are you saying you [or any source you care to cite] tracked the word's usage and evolution over millenia? The change in usage you are championing is better measured in decades. The word never meant 'totally' destroyed; it always meant there was a low survival rate; 10%, if used with a scintilla of precision. As for meaning 'fundamentally destroyed', it never meant to eliminate root and stock, nor to destroy in any essential sense. It is, you know, a quantitative, not a qualitative concept.

Don't be trading a logical fallacy for illogical phallusy. Semiotic, not idiotic, pls.

@Z, liked your 'ineluctable'; wanted 'unelectable'.

C'mon Man 9:54 AM  

@I'm Coming - The OED provides citations for DECIMATE meaning to destroy in the majority back to 1663 by Spencer. So yeah, centuries, as in you're simply wrong. Further, I'm not "championing" anything, I'm citing facts.

Hartley70 6:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Burma Shave 10:19 AM  

EPIC WHOA

My DIVA’s SLY at seventeen
and won’t go BACKUP to jail,
she RENEGED on being seen
in that EPISODE of the tale
where my CARRIBEANQUEEN
STROKES her USMAIL.

--- ANDREAS FEDORAS

spacecraft 11:13 AM  

Fooled me, @Burma! I expected your "poet" to be ERIK ARAWAK. Nice piece of fluff today, not too demanding despite some crunch here and there. Many's the time this 36a took a break on his 20d. FL, you never heard of an EASYCHAIR? Ach, youth is wasted on the young!

Couple of bothers: I'll buy the "former" status of MHO, but what's with the "of old" rail rider? Does Mr. Polin believe that there are no more freight trains, or HOBOS to ride them? Maybe they can't get away with it as often as they used to, but they still do it. And PSST is always a bother. But mostly, this is a pleasant little midweeker; doesn't try for the home run. It is what it is, and that's a pretty good "it." B+.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Oh my goodness sakes! Now I'm afraid to use the words decimate, truncate, flatulate, dedicate, congregate, etc. I'll just not say anything anymore. Too much controversy.

Easy, fun, puzzle with no complaints. Thanks, T.P. (Oops, sorry, that too means something else).

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA

"As I lay dying" I'm contemplating decimating.

Mary in Bend, OR 1:20 PM  

Rex said: "I still refuse to believe a MONOSKI is a thing (18A: Relative of a snowboard).

A monoski is definitely "a thing" used by paraplegics who want to ski. My son has used one and it gives him a feeling of freedom! We live in Bend, Oregon, where Mt. Bachelor is a ski destination. Monoski was developed for use by paraplegics who enjoy skiing. We all can learn from crossword puzzles!

rondo 1:32 PM  

I'd like to line up every tenth commentor and . . . well . . . tell them they're not as smart as they think they are. They'll be decimated . . . or devastated . . . or something.

This was decent for a Wednesday, not much to grumble at. A little w/o with eonS for AGES, but that cleared up.

Since they're damn near 30 now and have been showing off nearly all their body parts for years, is it too soon to call the OLSEN twins yeah babies? I think not.

Some of the commentors ARAWAK bunch,
but today's puz was fine by me.

rondo 1:37 PM  

Please note the correct usage of an ellipsis above. Just as important as . . .

rain forest 2:03 PM  

If we decimated the commentariat, that would likely take care of the anonymice, I guess. But, who to do the deed?

Figured out the theme before getting to the revealer today, so YAY me!

I have a friend who used a MONOSKI in 1995. He thought it was lots of fun until he broke both legs. True story.

715 = 4

DMG 2:04 PM  

Lots of things here I hasn't thought about for ages. MY Dad's EASYCHAIR, people saying SPILLIT and AMSCRAY. At any rate I worked past the unknown to me CARIBBEANQUEEN and LOUISCK only to flounder at the equally unknown ?HO/?RMET cross. Wanted the physics thing to be Rho, but should have known better from precious puzzle discussions of the OHM/MHO connection. Maybe this time it will stick??? Also, always though OSIRIS was the deity, not the placce. Guess I need to,look it up!

DMG 3:27 PM  

Well, I did check, and was surprised to discover that Hades was also a deity, not just a place. So the Osiris/Hades comparison is indeed correct! learn something 'most every day!

3284 = 8 I think!

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