MONDAY, Jul. 20 2009 — Oh bushwa / Stop a prevailing trend / Alice's mate on The Honeymooners / One who mounts and dismounts a horse

Monday, July 20, 2009

Constructor: PANCHO (48A: Mexican revolutionary _____ Villa) Harrison

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Parts of PLANT (57A: Factory supervisors ... or a hint to the starts of 20-, 36- and 42-Across => PLANT MANAGERS)

Word of the Day: BUSHWA — noun

rubbishy nonsense; baloney; bull: You'll hear a lot of boring bushwa about his mechanical skill.

Also, bushwah.

1915–20; perh. repr. bourgeois 1 , from its use in political rhetoric, the actual sense being lost; taken as euphemism for bullshit

As an amalgam of "bourgeois" and "bullshit," BUSHWA is one of my new favorite words.
I did this puzzle as fast as I could, with virtually no impediments, and yet didn't come close to a record time. Weird. Still, the puzzle was very easy — easier than most Mondays, even. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to think of ROOT, STEM, and LEAF as MANAGERS as well as parts of a PLANT. That seems a stretch, and yet the clue on PLANT MANAGERS suggests that the whole answer is a "hint," not just the first part. That ambiguity is a little odd, but the puzzle is solid enough, fill-wise, for a Monday, and I have to give props to PANCHO for getting his own name in there. I'm all for shameless self-promotion, especially for constructors who, even when paid the highest going rate, still aren't paid enough for their labor. I also enjoy the PLANT-related answers throughout the grid: a couple of lovely symmetrical pairs. One who TOILS (8D: Works long and hard) in the garden might, among other labors, STREW seed (53D: Spread, as seed) ... and one who PRUNEs plants (23A: Lop off, as branches) might have a horrible accident: "MY EYE!" (54A: "Oh, bushwa!").

Theme answers:

  • 20A: What the love of money is, they say (ROOT of all evil)
  • 36A: Stop a prevailing trend (STEM the tide)
  • 42A: Quickly turn the pages of (LEAF through)

I had a couple of questioning moments while solving this puzzle. First, I would have though WEBBED FEET, not WEB FEET (5D: Duck features), though that answer was certainly easy enough to get, and I can see from just tooling around the internets that the phrase "WEB FEET" is certainly in use. I also puzzled over 35D: Make lemons into melons, e.g.? (transpose), because I was thinking that the two switched letters would be adjacent. So I at first thought the answer was inaccurate, that the rearrangement in question was more anagram than transposition. Then I saw that no, it simply involved transposing two letters that were not adjacent. Sometimes my observations are less than scintillating.


  • 1D: It may hang out in a sports stadium (tier) — NOW I know why I didn't break any speed records today. I stumbled right out of the box by entering TARP here, and then (shortly thereafter) not being able to get STATUS right off the bat (4D: Condition of affairs). Slightest hesitation or bit of wrongness, and a sub-three time (for me) just slips away.
  • 25D: _____ a beet (red as) — had the first beets out of our own garden last night, and they were delicious. And I have historically claimed not to like beets at all. Honestly, I think anything out of my own backyard tastes perfect, in that it tastes super fresh (and virtually free).
  • 33D: Alice's mate on "The Honeymooners" (Ralph) — "mate"? Yuck. They were married. He was her husband. Or is the puzzle trying to save ink? Or is "husband" in the grid somewhere? .... nope. I think I lost a few second here too, looking at --LP- and thinking it looked really, really implausible. The only name coming to mind Instantly with this clue was Kramden. RALPH was right behind.
  • 43D: Ellington's "Take _____ Train" (The A) — never saw the clue. Notice that I had the answer THEA in place and thought "that's an odd name to see early in the week," forgetting that this partial existed.
  • 45D: One who mounts and dismounts a horse (gymnast) — this word interests me because of that -AST suffix. Weird to me when words end in "AST" and not the more common "IST." Harder to come up with "-AST" words, but when I do come up with them, they are invariably awesome. Well DYNAST sucks, but ICONOCLAST is good, and ECDYSIAST is very, very good.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. Special L.A. Times puzzle today ... my write-up here.


ArtLvr 7:50 AM  

That's a blast, your search for words with -ast rather that -ist. Also your exception to "mate"...

I did have one of my fastest times here, and "hint" at the last theme answer meant to me that you didn't have to consider both words. Okay Monday.


dk 8:06 AM  

Rex, you know this blog will be awash in beet recipes after your write up. So why disappoint?

My favorite remains grilled beets tossed with garlic infused olive oil, feta (or tear your face off blue cheese for the brave) and roasted walnuts. Cote de Rhone washes this down nicely.

Neighbors have been grilling beets (coat with olive or walnut oil) with pineapples and some raspberry sauce of their making. Very good with German white wines.

We ate our first (from the garden) green pepper this week end and our neighbors raspberry canes are going crazy (see aforementioned sauce).

I thought just money was the ROOTOFALLEVIL. I did not know you had to love it as well.

Todays puzzle is brought to you by the letter Y.

ArtLvr 8:12 AM  

p.s. -ast seems to be related to words of Greek derivation meaning lover, e.g. Pederast or boy-love, also Gymnast etc.. In the case of Iconoclast, that -ast is said to be included in -clast, the whole meaning icon-breaking...

Yea, beets!


Debsanger 8:15 AM  

I broke 4 minutes for the first time!!! Yeh yeh, I know I'm pokey -- maybe I type slow, cuz it was almost like autofill.

I'm never a fast solver, tho I solve almost all NYT puzzles complete (and unassisted) . . . it's like I have a motor governor or something LOL

HudsonHawk 8:18 AM  

Say, did RALPH or DESI live in a Br..., wait that's a dead horse of a different color.

Loved the Lemonheads and Blind Melon videos, though I would have preferred It's A Shame About Ray over Into Your Arms.

chefbea 8:26 AM  

Great puzzle Pancho. Good to see your name in it as well as Acme (again) and of course the beloved beet.

I am very impressed that our leader has beets in his garden - who would have thought??

And thanks DK for your grilling techniques.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

@DK - the money quote is from the bible, 1st Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

treedweller 8:39 AM  

I made a half-fast attempt to come up with some more words ending in -AST. Came up with chromoplast. My knowledge here is clearly not vast. If this is a contest, I'll probably come in last. Oh, well. The die is cast. It's in the past.

Which is about all I have to say about this puzzle.

joho 8:52 AM  

This puzzle was OK for me. I think I remember that I loved PANCHO's last puzzle which might have been his debut?

@DK ... when reading your comment I couldn't help wonder what garden vegetable and wine you would recommend to go with CURRIED WOLF?

PIX 8:53 AM  

easy, even for a monday...

Orange 9:13 AM  

Funny you should mention beets. A friend of mine joined one of those CSA local agriculture dealios to get fresh, locally grown produce, and it's introducing her kids to new veggies. Last week she raved about the roasted beets, but her 6-year-old doesn't like beets. When he found out that eschewing the beets meant he couldn't get the resulting purple poo, he cried with disappointment.

Orange 9:15 AM  

@joho: Pancho has had a number of puzzles outside the NYT in the last couple years. The L.A. Times, maybe the Wall Street Journal, I think the Chronicle of Higher Education...he gets around.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  


nanpilla 9:18 AM  

I agree with you, Rex, I also objected to WEB FEET. The adjective form of web is webbed. I have the same beef with handicap.

Kurt 9:24 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Liked the write-up. Loved the "No Rain" video. It's a classic!

Thanks Pancho Harrison. Thanks Rex Parker. Thanks Shannon Poon.

dk 9:24 AM  

@joho, Rioja or a strong red from the Douro region of Portugal, grilled parsnips (make sure you peel them) and hericoverts.... since you ask.

@Orange these wines will also give your friend's child purple lips. Not, of course, that I am advocating under aging drinking... just sayin.

Morgan 9:24 AM  

Easy peasy! Too much crosswordese for my personal taste (ETNA, ATRA, HAR, ERS, ESO, etc.), but otherwise a perfectly fine Monday.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:29 AM  

Didn't Joe Krozel just make this puzzle?

mac 9:38 AM  

Lots of baseball answers this morning: tier, stretch, see ya (who is that reporter again?), closer, A team.

Good Monday, very quick for me. I think Rex was unlucky, several times he seems to have gotten the end of the word before the beginning, always tougher.

I also hesitated with the web feet. Made me think of the song my husband used to sing, about his webfooted friend, somebody's mother?

Growing vegetables in your own garden will make you eat anything you used to dislike. It's the same with cooking: let a child prepare food, and it will (almost) always eat it. My son drew the line with liver.

Frances 9:51 AM  


From long-ago summer camp days: "Be kind to your web-footed friend, for a duck may be somebody's mother..." Sung to a John Philip Sousa march (can't tell you which one). Toward the end, one sings "Now you may think that this is the end, and it is..." and stops dead in the middle of the musical phrase. Great fun for middle-school-age kids!

fikink 10:02 AM  

Be kind to your web-footed friend,
For a duck could be somebody's mother.
Who lives way down in the swamp,
Where it is so cold and damp.

Now you may think that this is the end,
well, it is.

(At least that is what I remember my dad singing to us on car trips.)

JC66 10:05 AM  

Cool videos, though you could have used Blind Lemon Jefferson.

Ulrich 10:17 AM  

And I think the "Pancho" in Pancho Harrison explains why ANO is not being clued as a Spanish word--what a kill-joy!

PlantieBea 10:23 AM  

A nice Monday puzzle and writeup from Rex. My one false start was PIG for RAT--easily repaired. Fresh beets and beet greens (don't forget to use the greens!)are delicious. My former non-beet eating kid used to eat the red roots unknowingly in a chocolate cake.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Cast, East, Fast, Hast,...
Hmmm, much less interesting an exercise than I originally thought.

XMAN 10:48 AM  

"Ya shudda slugged me harder." (John Wayne)

"Aw, c'mon, it's just a Monday." (XMAN)

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

@PlantieBea - Your kids wouldn't eat beets, so you got rid of them? Kind of harsh, no?

Noam D. Elkies 10:56 AM  

Searching a wordlist turns up a bunch of -east words (breast, northeast, yeast, etc.), plus aghast, (a)vast, bombast, chloroplast, contrast, enthusiast, flabbergast, lambast, roast, toast, and various less familiar examples such as scholiast.

Enjoyable Monday puzzle too.

NDE (back in MA)

Crosscan 11:01 AM  

Broke 3 minutes for the first time. I have nothing to add about beets except - Bleh!

retired_chemist 11:02 AM  

Easy Monday.

“The start of 57A” would IMO have been a better hint to the theme. The MANAGERS in PLANT MANAGERS seems irrelevant.

Ah, ACME again (60D). Nice on a Monday.

Liked the clue for 45D GYNMNAST - was looking for something equestrian until I was down to the last letter.

PlantieBea 11:20 AM  

@Anon 10:49 Yep, we plant parents take a dim view of youngsters who view beets at the "roots of all evil". Kidding :-) He's right here, the former kid, now young man, plotting his own escape to college in the great north. I suppose he should be correctly identified as the individual who formerLY would eat no beets unless they were hidden in a cake.

chefbea 11:33 AM  

I wrote this earlier.. don't know where it went

My ending for the song: You may think that this is the end, well it is
But I think I will continue. And now I think I will stop..

I have a very good friend whose name is Eileen Ast.

foodie 11:47 AM  


Yes, a great deal of baseball, as mac pointed out. But the plants are good, seeing ACME again is good, and BEETS!

@Rex, DK, Chefbea et al, one thing I discovered. I love roasted beet, but if you're going with boiled, I have one suggestion for an alternate taste/presentation: Slice as thin as you possibly can, layer artistically on a plate, add some toasted nuts and sprinkle with a citrus sauce-- e.g. OJ and a little lemon or lime. Tastes much lighter and fresher...

Two Ponies 11:57 AM  

Fun enough for a Monday.
Spot on write-up.
I too hesitated on the -ist or -ast.
Historic anniverary of the moon landing today.
It was especially memorable to me because my family was on a camping trip when it was going on. Someone had brought a television and we gathered around the picnic table watching it live while we looked up at the real moon shining in the sky. An amazing moment I will never forget.

Anon 10:49 12:27 PM  

@PlantieBea - That's a relief. I personally was sent to live with my Okie relatives for 6 months after the "great peas incident" of '86. Scarred me for life.

Shamik 12:28 PM  

Beets in a puzzle make me smile.

Medium for me. I seem to be slowing down of late.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

I used to belong to an organization called RALPH, which stood for the Royal Association fo the Longevity and Preservation of the Honeymooners. Not sure if they are still in existance, but they were a regular riot.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:39 PM  

I was plunging right along, couldn't be a simpler theme, so I boldly entered 57A as BRANCHMANAGERS (except that it didn't fit). A lot of over-writing followed. (Was I the only one who fell into this bramble?)

HudsonHawk 2:02 PM  

@BobK, I almost did the same thing, just based on the __AN at the beginning. But I waited for the crosses, largely because I was skeptical about that B in the middle of 35D.

Charles Bogle 2:39 PM  

Thanks @twoponies for the moon landing reminder..

And as RALPH would say-w/out a HAR-"do you wanna go to the moon, Alice?"

ChemProf 2:48 PM  

@foodie: And here I was sure I was gonna be the the first one to suggest fibroblast. :)

Agreed that it was fun and easy (though for me that means sub-6 not sub-3 ;) ). Read "ninth" as "nine" in clue for 31A and was trying to cram STARTER in there for a few seconds. Otherwise smooth.

chefbea 2:52 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle. Me two. I tried branch also thinking the theme was parts of trees.

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

Thanks @Anon 8:34 AM for the reference to 1st Timothy 6:10. I learned this phrase in Latin (without the biblical source) as "Radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ..." which I now see is from the Vulgate (Latin) translation from the Greek original.

Though I know "little Latin and less Greek," with the help of online dictionaries I can trace "cupiditas" (Eng. cupidity, little used nowadays for "greed") to "cupere" -- to desire -- no doubt related to Cupido, the Roman god of love. Whence "the love of money" in the 20A definition.

By comparison, "radix" (the ROOT of 20A) is vibrant in modern English -- "radix" per se, the root of a number system; e.g. "radix 2" == binary; "radish" a root vegetable [not a B..T :-]; "radical" == mathematical root [square or otherwise]; political == tear out by the roots ["root out"]; chemical == r_c might explain better than I; ...

This blog can lead down some interesting -- to some, perhaps -- philological paths. Thanks, all!

Lurkin' Larry (missin' G courtesy Sarah PalinG :-).

joho 4:06 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle ... wanted BRANCHMANAGER, too. Had to Wite-Out the "B."

foodie 5:08 PM  

@ChemProf-- I better have thought of fibroblast. We work on a whole family of molecules with that in their name (Fibroblast Growth Factors and Receptors). It turns out in the brain, they affect mood.

Re meaning of "blast", in science, as a suffix, it means a bud or a germ or an immature cell-- hence Fibroblast, Lymphoblast, Osteoblast are all immature cells that eventually give rise to skin, lymph nodes, bone, etc. More for your collection, Rex!

Moon landing! We in neuroscience still wonder-- what can we do for the world that would be the equivalent of a moonshot?

Land on the subconscious, may be?

Ulrich 5:16 PM  

@lurker0: We've come a long way, baby--we now know that greed is good--and don't let those pinko/commie/bleeding-heart-libruls tell you otherwise!

retired_chemist 6:17 PM  

@ Frances et al. - The Sousa march is "Stars and Striped Forever." Listen to it here. The web footed friends version is entrenched enough to be mentioned on this link.

Retired_Chemast 6:19 PM  

Ummm - Stars and Stripes Forever. My bad.

chefbea 7:42 PM  

Hoo-ray for the red white and blue......

Doc John 8:01 PM  

Sousa marches- a tuba player's dream! Not to mention the sousaphone. You gotta love an instrument that you wear.

As for beets: when I was a kid, if someone told me that years later I'd stand at a salad bar and say, "mmm, beets!" I'd have laughed in their face. I still haven't gotten up the nerve to try borscht yet, though.

fergus 9:14 PM  

The only thing I pointed out to myself today was "I AM NOT amused!" Doesn't this sort of require the royal first person, stated in the plural? I simply took it as a joke, and liked it better than the more common Playground retort.

dk 10:24 PM  

@docjohn borscht with sour cream will stop your heart 2x, with a little mint 3x.

dk 10:26 PM  

@joho, chef son wants to know if the wolf curry is real and what is in it. He sez forgo the parsnips.

Toast for 2day

Very playful group today.... I must say

XMAN 12:41 AM  

@Dr.John: I second the cold borscht with sour cream. It will not stop your heart but fulfill your belief in human goodness.

edith b 8:39 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
andrea iconoclast michaels 12:49 AM  

viva Pancho!

(I wrote an hour long message last night that got lost in translation :( but wanted to give Pancho a shout out!)

Bleedover word: ACME!!!
Plus there was ONES in the puzzle again! 6 out of 7 days in a row, I think.

It's 24 hours later, did anyone ring in with iconoclast or enthusiast?


I think "Stars and Striped forever" is funnier!

sesquipedalian 2:07 PM  

The -blast or -plast words don't count because they come from entire Greek words.
seem to qualify in addition to others already suggested

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