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:
- CARIBBEAN QUEEN (19A: 1984 #1 Billy Ocean hit)
- DOMESTIC WORKERS (36A: Maids, butlers and au pairs)
- PREDATOR DRONES (51A: Aircraft in modern airstrikes)
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)
• • •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