Legendary siren of Rhine / WED 8-10-11 / Coach Ewbank who led Jets to Super Bowl / Certain fraternity man informally / Surrender of * Diego Velazquez

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: FIVE IRONS (59A: Fairway clubs ... or a hint to the starts of the answers to 17-, 24- and 45-Across and 10- and 37-Down) — first words of all five theme answers can precede "IRON" in a common phrase

Word of the Day: MINGO (16A: Iroquoian people) —

The Mingo are an Iroquoian group of Native Americans made up of peoples who migrated west to the Ohio Country in the mid-eighteenth century. Anglo-Americans called these migrants mingos, a corruption of mingwe, an Eastern Algonquian name for Iroquoian-language groups in general. Mingos have also been called "Ohio Iroquois" and "Ohio Seneca". Most migrated to Kansas and later Oklahoma under Indian Removal programs. The federally recognized descendants of today reorganized in 1937 as the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma. (wikipedia)
• • •

Got to meet Liz Gorski in person this past weekend for the first time. I can't say enough nice things. She has been incredibly supportive of me and I really just love her to pieces. But enough gushing.

Weird puzzle. On the one hand, a straight-over-the-plate "first words can precede X"-type puzzle, with an interesting reveal. On the other hand, BREDA (60A: "The Surrender of ___" (Diego Velázquez painting)). Also MINGO. Also WEEB (though I've definitely seen WEEB before in puzzles) (1A: Coach Ewbank who led the Jets to a Super Bowl championship). Also SIG (43A: Certain fraternity man, informally). Just a lot of really odd stuff that wouldn't come even with crosses (well, I mean, obviously it came, but I had to drag it). BREDA is pure outer-space material. It's a place name? A place in ... hmmm, Iowa ... but I'm guessing this BREDA is in The Netherlands. I've never seen or heard of this place. That "R" was a complete and utter and out-and-out guess (BURL seeming like a vaguely familiar word, albeit one I'd never use) (51D: Small knot). The fact that MINGO and BREDA are symmetrical makes me think I'm being taunted. My reaction to MINGO was "that sounds like the name of some wacky sidekick-type character, like BALKY on "Perfect Strangers" or something." Turns out, I was right—he's the "half-Cherokee" character on the "Daniel Boone" TV series of the 1960s. MINGO was played by ED AMES (of crossword grid fame). Anyway, I had no idea MINGO had any legitimate Native American validity. And now I do. At least I remembered how to spell LORELEI correctly this time (35D: Legendary siren of the Rhine).

Not much to say about the theme. It's fine. I like SOMBRERO (20A: A Mexican might sleep under it), LOVERBOY (53A: Beau), and MRS. PEEL better than I like any of the theme answers, though. Got thrown by singular SCRAP PAPER as answer to plural [Sheets...] and, as usual, by compound answer TVAD (didn't have "V," wanted one word, of course) (29A: 30- or 60-second spot). This town isn't big enough for both ADEE and AROO. ASE is among the worst three-letter fill in existence (22A: "Peer Gynt" mother).

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Place for a sweater? (STEAM ROOM)
  • 24A: Sheets for scribbling (SCRAP PAPER)
  • 45A: Ice cream holder (WAFFLE CONE)
  • 10D: Playground lingo (PIG LATIN) — whereas [Mingo lingo] would be ... what? Iroquoian?
  • 37D: Fizzless drink (FLAT SODA)
BEST OF is a very interesting answer, with a very interesting clue. I was lukewarm on it when I was solving (as one often is when one struggles to understand what the hell's going on), but the more I think about it, the more I like it. I also like that the HE-MAN has a BUXOM companion down there in the SW (a BUXOM companion who really wants to be named BREnDA ... but can't seem to find the requisite "N").

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


The Bard 8:14 AM  

King Lear > Act I, scene IV

KING LEAR: Are you our daughter?

GONERIL: Come, sir,
I would you would make use of that good wisdom,
Whereof I know you are fraught; and put away
These dispositions, that of late transform you
From what you rightly are.

Fool: May not an ass know when the cart
draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

KING LEAR: Doth any here know me? This is not Lear:
Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
Either his notion weakens, his discernings
Are lethargied--Ha! waking? 'tis not so.
Who is it that can tell me who I am?

Fool: Lear's shadow.

joho 8:19 AM  


Seeing (OK)CORRAL and DODGE (City) in the puzzle was fun, too.

Thank you, Liz, for yet another satisfying solve!

What's in his hand 8:37 AM  

The Lover Boy video embed shot before you push play certainly looks like NSFW.

Rex Parker 8:43 AM  


Thanks for that. The rioting footage and economy were getting me down this morning. I needed a laugh.


Glimmerglass 8:46 AM  

I went with BURL (never heard of BREDA), because it's some kind of wood irregularity, but a BURL is a large knot, not a small one. Woodworkers carve salad bowls out of burls. MINGO was new to me.

foodie 8:46 AM  

I really struggled with this one. I just could not get a toehold for a while, and then I started nibbling at it. But I know nothing from Golf, and it was Natick City in multiple sites. I finished but with raised eyebrows at multiple spots (noted by Rex)..Not sure how I feel about it. I usually love LG's puzzles, but this one was not my favorite amongst hers.

mac 8:50 AM  

Interesting puzzle, I enjoyed this solve, even though I ran into trouble right at the start with Weeb. Lots of interesting clues and words, and a solid theme (although I have to look up pig iron).

Yes, that's Breda in the Netherlands, at the end of the 80 year war against the Spanish. When Velasquez finished painting it, the town had already reverted back to the Dutch. Hard to believe this small border town used to be a mighty fortress.

jesser 8:55 AM  

I don't mind learning a new word from time to time, but this puzzle was ugly with them. I did grin at SOMBRERO, LOVER BOY and BUXOM, but the scowls at MINGO, BREDA, MRS PEEL, WEEB, ADEE and AROO cancelled out the glee.

A rare fail from the usually sparkling Ms. Gorski, in this bad dancer's opinion.

This is going to be One Of Those Days, so I'm outta here. Happy Wednesday all!

Brian 9:02 AM  

I'm relatively new to the community here at Rex's blog and I thoroughly enjoy it, but I didn't realize until working this morning's puzzle how it has influenced my solving experience. When I read the sport-oriented clues for WEEB and UCLA, I thought, "Oh, Tobias Duncan isn't going to like this. Two sports clues stacked atop each other? No, he isn't going to care for that at all."

The thought surprised me, but the nature of it made me chuckle a bit. So thanks, everyone out here (especially Mr. Duncan today, I suppose) for bringing a new dimension to my crossword experience!

I liked the puzzle overall. Loved FLATSODA! ALLWET was great. SOMBRERO was fun. BUXOM thrilled me.

It wasn't a breeze but it wasn't a killer. Took a little puzzling out, and I like that.

Gorski knows how to do it.

efrex 9:06 AM  

Got through this one pretty reasonably well, with the final letter being the MRSPEEL/ASE cross. Almost made my usual ASCOT/EPSOM error, but caught myself in time (hey; I might actually be getting the hang of these things!). Did make the error of putting SMITH in before ROLFE (this is what happens when you rely on Disney movies to teach you history... stay in school, kids!)

You know you're too much of a musical theater buff when you see the clue "full-bosomed" and the first thought that comes to your mind is a lyric from 1776 ("Lees of Old Virginia"). Either that, or I'm just getting old...

Still and all, though, I'm starting to vanquish some of my nemeses: Late-week Silk & Krozel puzzles last week, and a mid-week Gorski today - maybe there's hope for me yet...

Orange 9:07 AM  

ASE (and its cousin, the suffix -ASE) stinks, but I was actually missing it the other day when a puzzle had A.S.A.'S and it could've used "ASE'S Death" instead.

Took me a while to see what @What's was getting at. Ha! The still frame is a bit low on the "hot girls" quotient.

John V 9:18 AM  

So, this was an example of the 90/10 rule: 90% of the puzzle took the first 10 minutes and the remaining 10 percent took the next 90 minutes :) Well, okay maybe the next 10 minutes. Still, felt like a challenging Tuesday.

Tore through and then hung on MINGO/EMILE cross,BREDA/BURL cross. Thought 21D Sheet music abbr was pretty lame, as I would expect musical instruction abbreviations for this clue, not a reference to arrangement/arranger .. unless is misunderstand the clue/answer.

fowst: Elmer Fudd's favorite opera by Gounod

thursdaysd 9:18 AM  

Yesterday it was the SE, today it was the SW... Needed Check Letter to realize ABAtED was wrong - still think ABASED a bit strong for "Put down". I don't drink SODA so was having trouble thinking of a FLAT drink.

I did know BURL and MRSPEEL, but definitely not BREDA or MINGO or WEEB. And ONEA seems to be showing up rather a lot lately. I let the crosses decide EPSOM/Ascot for me.

jberg 9:20 AM  

Somehow, WEEB was a gimme -even though I couldn't really believe it until I crossed it with Wimp at 1D. That was one of three writeovers for me - I also had ASa at 22A (I actually knew it - come on, Peer Gynt is not some kind of obscure work - just not how to spell it), and nInEIRONS. But you wouldn't use a 9 iron on a fairway, and then I realized that the number was part of the revealer - a nice touch!

The hardest part was guessing how Poe spelled his middle name; got it right, by chance.

Tobias Duncan 9:30 AM  

@ Brian! Too funny! First thing I thought when my puzzle started with a sports stack was " oh I am gonna bitch a blue streak about this tomorrow..."
One thing I hate is this idea that colleges must be clued in terms of sports so often. Surely UCLA has more interesting trivial facts than that.

Burl is downright tricky today for a woodworker.In this case "small knot" is referring to a knot in wool.

Finished three min faster than yesterdays puzzle.

JC66 9:38 AM  

Whenever Ed Ames or MINGO, show up, I get an uncontrollable urge to post this video.

Lindsay 9:39 AM  

My MO for early week puzzles is to start in the SE, get the reveal, and see how many theme answers I can fill in without (or with minimal) crosses. So I find FIVE IRONS and conclude we are adding "fe" to get wacky phrases. And stared and stared and nothing came to me. Of course if I had reread the clue ".... A HINT TO THE STARTS OF ...." I wouldn't have gotten thus sidetracked, but reading the clues just, I dunno, too much work.

Which brings us to square #16. No idea about the Iroquoian people. Are they jingoistic? Wanted "first syllable" for 9D but it wouldn't fit, so I went with ExILE crossing xINGO.

GILL I. 9:40 AM  

Sheesh, I must have made blogger mad; it just threw away my post.
I'm a big fan of Ms Gorsky but this one fell flat for me. It didn't have her usual oomph and I felt that when I finished all I did was fill in the blanks.
Didn't like 20A. Ok, throw the rotten tomatoes....but that clue is a bit stereotypical of the lazy Mexican. I've yet to meet a "lazy" Mexican much yet one sleeping against a cactus with his sombrero covering his face. There, I said it !!!

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

If you hid the constructor's name, I never would have guessed it was a Gorski. Not to say it's a bad puzzle. Just straightforward. Liked the fill like LOVERBOY and SOMBRERO (nice visual clue on that one). Agreed about the supbar fill too though.

solasoletta 10:12 AM  

I obviously know nothing about golf. Had "nine iron" instead of "five iron." Oh well.

M07S 10:17 AM  

Yesterday's AABA with today's ABBA and BAABAA kinda makes your head spin.
I agree with @thursdaysd that ONEA does seem to be showing up a lot lately. Is this classification still in use?
And thanks to @Tobias Duncan for pointing out that this particular BURL relates to wool (or thread or cloth).
A nice solving experience today.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Listening to some very beautiful music from the Peer Gynt suite....

GILL I. 10:21 AM  

Damn...What's with me and missspelling constructor names?
Sorry senora Gorski.

slypett 10:23 AM  

I was tearassing my way through the puzzle, doing 90, at least, when I skidded on the FIVEIRONS, banged an (accidental) uie and wound up in the arms of a BUXOM lass. She was ABASED by PETA and had to drink a FLATSODA. It was 86 PROOF. "BAABAA" she said to MRSPEEL, "Does it SNOW in BREDA?" They went to the STEAMROOM, where each had a SOMBRERO. MRSPEEL asked the lass to ROLFE her. "IWILL" she said, though it would be better to let HEMAN EMILE do it."

Two Ponies 10:25 AM  

My feeling was just so-so today.
I amused myself with the mini-theme of romance with lover boy, wooer, buxom, and wed.
Then there's the old TV theme of Gunsmoke, the Avengers (loved Mrs. Peel), and Mingo the side kick.
@ JC66, I haven't watched your video clip but I'm guessing Johnny Carson is involved. Right?

JaxInL.A. 10:37 AM  

Love Liz Gorski, but I could hardly believe this is one of hers. Started out sour for me because of the cluing on SOMBRERO, already pointed out by @Gill I. P.  Such a false stereotype, even if one doesn't _have_ to read it that way.  Then loads of partial phrases, that awful WEEB, and all the weaknesses that Rex pointed out.  

The theme answers worked for me and I had a nice time trying to figure out what they had in common before I got to the reveal.  I liked a good bit of the fill, esp. cluing for CORRAL, and having DODGE in the same puzzle.  Favorite entry might be VERSO, probably  because it's odd and I knew it.  

But the grimace-inducing stuff washed away my initial delight at seeing the Gorski byline.  Not her finest hour.

Ms. Gorski has recently undertaken a large geographic expansion in the world of her blog. After ruling Crossword City for years, she is now queen of Crossword Nation.  At both municipal and federal levels, she has an utterly charming style that will keep you coming back. She only posts occasionally (sometimes weekly, sometimes more, some less), but always something fun and beautifully written.  And she's got her puzzles there!

JaxInL.A. 10:40 AM  

@quilter1, nice to see you, hubby and grandson made it back safely.

quilter1 10:43 AM  

I liked it. MRS PEEL fell in right away. Had busty for BUXOM at first but soon corrected. Overall I thought it was cleverly done, not too easy and made me think. I wanted Huron for the Iroquois but when that didn't work I had to think through to MINGO. A good Wednesday.

Tobias Duncan 10:54 AM  

It has come to my attention that sometimes Rexites visit Taos without dropping me a line... not pointing any fingers here but this must stop.
For Pete's sake if you wont let me take you out for a cocktail, at least let me buy you a cup of coffee at the most crossword friendly small town coffee shop on the planet.

That is all :)

Bob Kerfuffle 11:14 AM  

Agree 20 A seems not PC.

Re: 5 A, Sturdy mountain climber?, TBAR - As a sometime skier, I would say the question mark is well-deserved. The T-bar is actually a rather delicate mechanism, frequently getting out of whack, in my experience.

evil doug 11:14 AM  

Well, if we're going to hyperbolize sombrero into a PC infraction, let's not stop there:

Wuss? C'mon, you know what that's derived from. Sexist and most foul. It's gone.

Buxom? Too much sexual emphasis on the female breast instead of celebrating its natural purpose. Gross.

Proof reminds me of booze, and I think we must be sensitive to those with drinking problems. Pour it out.

He-man and loverboy? I resent those simplified characterizations of my much more complex fellow men. Out.

Wooer? Just another term for trying to get in someone's pants. No way it stays.

Weeb Ewbank coached the Jets, and that reminds me of the creeps at Jets games who harass women in the stairwells. Gonzo.

Mingo? That character was obviously a stereotype of the Indians who were created as no better than sidekick servants. Gotta go.

Steam-room brings to mind fat old creeps checking out each others' nude bodies in overly (homo-)sexual ways. Scratch it.

Abased? Creates some horrible sexual images that I don't want to consider. Must be removed.

Emirs? Reminds me of 9/11. Can't handle that.

Snow reminds me of drug use. Can't have that in a family paper.

Ogres frighten little children. Our precious kids must be protected. Cut.

I like fur. PETA must die.

Waffle-cone is a put-down to the poor cake cone. I don't think it's right to hurt the cake cone's feelings.

This PC crap---especially when exaggerated beyond the clue and answer---has got to stop. It's a fricking crossword puzzle. Lighten up, and quit imposing your ridiculous personal hang-ups on the rest of us.


Mel Ott 11:15 AM  

I went nuts trying to figure out a theme related to FIVE. Oh, it's IRONS. Doh.

FWIW WEEB Ewbank was the winning coach in what were arguably the two most important football games ever. The Colts' sudden death NFL Championship win over my Giants in 1958 and the Jets' upset win in Super Bowl III (1968?).

The former established pro football as a major TV attraction and the latter validated the AFL-NFL merger and popularized the Super Bowl. Together they led to the multi-gazillion dollar industry pro football has become. Not necessarily a good thing IMO.

jesser 11:21 AM  

"Lighten up, and quit imposing your ridiculous personal hang-ups on the rest of us. Evil"

Hello, Pot! This is Kettle.

evil doug 11:23 AM  

Pot calling the kettle black? Patently racist! You should be ashamed.


archaeoprof 11:23 AM  

I share the general mixed reaction to today's puzzle.

LOVERBOY must be a group from the 80's. Between grad school and young kids, I seem to have missed that whole decade.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

SCRAP PAPER does not necessarily refer to one sheet of paper. "Here is a box full of scrap paper." Would not use the plural "papers" in this case.

chefbea 11:41 AM  

I too had trouble with Mingo, Breda and Weeb. Other than that..a good puzzle. I never remember if its Epsom or Upsom. Now I will remember...E for England.

Two Ponies 11:51 AM  

@ Evil, I laughed so hard I almost spilled my coffee.

evil doug 12:02 PM  

Jesser: On a more serious note...

You're right, I'm highly (and somewhat acerbically) opinionated. But I support free speech---including your right to take shots at me---while I believe PC tends to thwart the open exchange of words and ideas.


Emily Post 12:16 PM  

Of all things, good manners is most conducive to the free and open exchange of ideas.

deerfencer 12:17 PM  

Agree with glimmerglass and others re BURL being misclued; here's one the size of a refrigerator:


shrub5 12:22 PM  

With just the B in place, i put IBEX for the sturdy mountain climber?, then (correctly) entered BOOR and (the misspelled) eROO. The "X" got me nowhere re bumper cars, nor did the "I" lead to an early time for tea. After straightening out this mess, I proceeded along fairly smoothly, then plopped down EPCOT for the English derby site, my conflation of Epsom and Ascot. And so it went along, hitting the BREDA, MINGO, WEEB, ASE snags as others above have mentioned. Oh, I was in the STEAMbath for awhile, too. I could remember only recto (R for right) so had to wait for the crosses to wake up the brain cell containing VERSO.

Nice to learn BURL can refer to a lump/slub in cloth or wool in addition to a knot in wood.

Enjoyed this puzzle because I learned many new words!

GILL I. 12:23 PM  

E. Doug
I never said sombrero was un-PC. I simply said (my opinion) I didn't like it.
I'm not imposing a hang-up on you or anyone else. It's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
P.S. another sterotypical misconception (or perhaps not) is that all airline pilots smoke and do crossword in the (COCK) pit.

Dictionary.com 12:24 PM  

Disagree with deerfencer, glminerglass and others re BURL being misclued:

   [burl] Show IPA

a small knot or lump in wool, thread, or cloth.

a dome-shaped growth on the trunk of a tree; a wartlike structure sometimes 2 feet (0.6 meters) across and 1 foot (0.3 meters) or more in height, sliced to make veneer.

Sarah 1:03 PM  

Fun puzzle, although I didn't work out the theme until I came here -- just got it through crosses. I was actually sort of bummed out by the SOMBRERO clue: the Mexican sleeping under his hat is a pretty racist stereotype (ie Mexicans would rather sleep than work), based mainly in the fact that Mexicans have been forced to work harder and in dirtier jobs than white Americans. It's a similar stereotype to that of the lazy black person, and comes from the same source ie we have to work them so hard because otherwise they're so lazy they wouldn't do anything. The clue was, for me, a blot on an otherwise enjoyable puzzle.

CoffeeLvr 1:06 PM  

Great choice for WOD, @Rex.

I have to feel some affection for any puzzle that references the great MRS Emma PEEL. The seven letter answer almost tricked me. And a shout out to "Gunsmoke."

@Evil Doug, you made me laugh.

Thanks to all who explained how "small knot" equals BURL. I did get the R off the association with wood, but wondered about it.

embee 1:08 PM  

Only thing I had to google was Valasqeez painting "Surrender of Breda". ( and I actually saw it in Spain.)

Moonchild 1:14 PM  

Having a siesta under a sombrero is very sensible in a hot climate.
I don't see the negative aspect.

embee 1:15 PM  

Oops meant Velasquez, fat fingers.

syndy 1:32 PM  

Not Liz's finest but still right up my alley-finished in easy Monday time!My only write overs were GOAT for TBAR and SMITH for ROLFE !Worse piece of fill- SIG unworthy of a GORSKI puzz.! I guess REX was recovering from all his carousing last night and could not PoST in a timely manner

quilter1 1:35 PM  

@Tobias Duncan: Actually, I thought about letting you know we were coming, but as it turned out we had only a day and it was full of things to see with the grandgirl. Next time for sure.

Whatever happened to Mr. Peel?

600 1:45 PM  

Wish I knew what NSFW means--though the laugh at the embed is clear enough. My big thanks of the day, though, has to go to JC66--please ALWAYS post that clip when you think of Ed Ames and Mingo. I'm still laughing.

BUSTY before BUXOM, otherwise smooth flying today. Good thing after my utter failure yesterday.

ANONB 1:53 PM  

Am I the only one who didn't know
(or care that Emile" was a rat
in "Ratatouille"?

Sanora Senora 2:03 PM  

Thanks, Rex for another great assist!

Fun puzzle with a lot of the Ol' West..buckAROO, DODGE City, the O.K. CORRAL, strong booze and SOMBRERO. Got FIVEIRONS, just need some six-shooters. Can even see a CROWE on a fence.

Surprised people got bothered by the SOMBRERO clue...I'd expect the cross-cultural compassionati to be more troubled by Idi AMIN being dropped in as an "oscar-winning role."

Glad it's just a puzzle!

Matthew G. 2:05 PM  

I've complained about the "lazy Mexican" stereotype appearing in the puzzle before: last December, when we had MANANA SENOR. I feel that way again today -- even if you think it's overblown, come on, there are other ways to clue SOMBRERO.

As for the rest of today's puzzle, it was fine, but I agree with those who found it lacking by Gorski standards. I had no trouble with BREDA, getting it from the crosses before I ever saw the clue, but the SIG/DODGE crossing slowed me down terribly, since "Gunsmoke" was before my time and I know nothing about frats. Thought it would be a short title, not a short Greek letter.

jackj 2:22 PM  

With a particularly unexciting theme and fill that had nary a hint of traditional Gorski, I decided that the only way to confirm that Liz had been the constructor was to find the picture hidden within.

Armed with a 16 crayon box of Crayolas, every possibility was hit on and despite a vigorous effort, the result looked like Jean-Michel Basquiat had channelled Jackson Pollock and created the world's ugliest graffito.

All of which leads one to believe that someone must have hacked into the Gorski blog and slipped it an electronic micky.

NSFW 2:25 PM  

@600 Not Safe For Work, i.e. close your office door before watching/playing.

foodie 2:46 PM  

@evil, I believe that freedom of speech is one of the most valuable assets we have in this country. And coming from a place where the idea is not even on the horizon, I understand what happens when it's eroded.

But I would like to say that pointing to hidden stereotypes is also very valuable. This does not mean the person who uttered the statement is necessarily prejudiced. I do my best not to be, but someone on this blog pointed to me that I was stereotyping and I really appreciated it. We all have some constructs, mostly subconscious, that make us categorize people. Shining the light on it is good feedback. It doesn't mean you have no right to say what you think, or that you have to change your mind. But it may make you stop and think about connotations that you may not have considered. So, in the end it's about the spirit in which it's done, and how it's accepted.

Nancy in PA 2:48 PM  

I can't believe that I, a fiber addict, had no idea that BURL was anything but a knot in wood!

When I lived in Spain, I saw many construction workers taking their siestas right under sidewalk trees, eyes covered by hats...so SOMBRERO clue didn't bother me at all.

I also saw the Velazquez painting, and also forgot entirely the place name BREDA.

@JC66--that clip is priceless! Ed Ames and that plummy voice.

Better-late-than-never dep't: It was nice to connect some (all too few) names with faces at Lollapuzzoola 4. It was a blast and I hope many Rexites will converge there again in '12.

Joe 2:53 PM  

I agree--weird puzzle.

Can't believe Rex didn't embed the Ames on Carson clip.

Unknown 3:22 PM  

Even though it can be perfectly normal to take a nap and use your hat to, say, cover your eyes, in this context the clue is used in the manner which has been used to (stereotypically and generally wrongfully) describe Mexicans. It might not seem much to the average American, but for us natives of the lands south of the Rio Bravo, seeing this representation of the fat, lazy, mustachioed man, leaning against an adobe wall, or a big cactus, napping away under the midday sun, is pretty offensive. Always have and always will. Even if one can, from time to time, encounter people on the street, anywhere in the world, taking a break under whatever hat they happen to be wearing, the comic, mocking connotation when talking about Mexicans and sombreros is still there.
I can agree with @evil doug, in respect to the excess treatment of the PC symbol, but in this case....well, it felt pretty close to home, since it was the first thing I thought when I read the clue and then the answer: "oh, come on, really?? are we still living in the 1960's of Speedy Gonzalez? Sheez!"

Anyway, that's my two cents.

truly yours,

600 3:26 PM  

@NSFW--Thank you!

sanfranman59 4:10 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Wed 10:03, 11:51, 0.85, 20%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:24, 5:51, 0.92, 35%, Easy-Medium

long suffering mets fan 4:23 PM  

theres just something that makes me chuckle about the word WUSS -- maybe because I remember it from Monty Python, maybe because it was such a common word in HS thirty+ years ago.

1 mistake -- the BREDA/BURL crossing, felt like a BULL knot was fathomable

thanks, Liz for a more than solid Weds !!

Sfingi 4:28 PM  


Never heard of WEEB, NSFW or MINGO. Now how could there be an Iroquoian I never heard of? This is 6 Nations country. We learn: Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Mohawk, Cayuga and sometimes Tuscarora. So the MINGO were another time, another place. The important thing is that the Oneida were on our side.
You gotta learn something every day.

evil doug 4:29 PM  


"So, in the end it's about the spirit in which it's done, and how it's accepted."

In my view, you're only half right. It's all about the spirit in which it's done, because a hundred different people can choose to accept it in a hundred different ways. That's the flaw in PC. The truth lies in the creator of the words, and if I were you or andreaomn I'd query Ms. Gorski to learn her intent rather than presume the worst.

andreaomn tries to make her case, sincere as she may be, by saying "this representation of the fat, lazy, mustachioed man, leaning against an adobe wall, or a big cactus, napping away under the midday sun...". But the clue didn't include those modifiers. And by twisting the existing truth she's creating the exaggerated stereotype herself.


long suffering mets fan 4:54 PM  

@doug -- AMEN

Everyone is too damned PC these days.

A siesta is a part of Mexican culture. Anyone who's ever been to Mexico knows that stores and basically entire towns shut down for their daily siestas.

This in no way infers that Mexican people are lazy -- how this clue makes some people uncomfortable is truly a great example of the over-sensitivity of this country.

Unknown 5:07 PM  

I'm uncomfortable with the stereotype. Why not clue: A Mexican can wear one? Saying "sleep under one" brings up the stereotype. I am not trying to be oversensitive, but it's just how it's read. That's all. I'm not about to question Ms Gorki's real intentions, which I presume were honorable, but I thought the cluing could have used a second thinking.

On the other hand, I don't know where in Mexico the longsufferingmetsfan has been, but the afternoon siesta is a practice long extinct, I'm afraid. People have to work all day, no breaks, to be able to make ends meet. At least, in the Mexico I grew up in and go to every year.

retired_chemist 6:09 PM  

There is a Mingo County in West Virginia as well as a "city" of Mingo in Randolph County.

Google also reports a West Virginia Mingo language site.

Having grown up in WV, I found Mingo far from obscure.

The Carson clip is priceless.

Stan 6:21 PM  

So many mini-themes and complementary pairs going on here I can't list them all. But I loved the WUSSie ECTOmorph hiding out in the upper left corner from all the HEMeN, Kappa SIGs, LOVERBOYs, and football players. MRS PEEL had me stumped because I couldn't think of Diana Rigg's first name, which could have been seven letters and worked with "Emma" as a clue.

Thanks for a fun solve, EG. Even if it's not a pangram.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:12, 6:51, 0.91, 16%, Easy
Tue 8:27, 8:55, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:07, 11:51, 0.85, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:33, 3:40, 0.97, 41%, Medium
Tue 4:27, 4:35, 0.97, 46%, Medium
Wed 5:15, 5:51, 0.90, 28%, Easy-Medium

Pete 10:57 PM  

@Doug - It must be nice to live in your world, where one doesn't have to be cognizant of the reasonable sensibilities of those around you, but nonetheless, you're wrong. If you say something that can reasonably be expected to offend reasonable people, the resultant offence is of your making, not theirs. If you shoot a gun into the air and the bullet ends up hitting someone, is it your fault or theirs? Your argument says that it's theirs, which is clearly absurd.

I've seen dozens of people sleeping under hats in the movies, cowboys under Stetsons, private eyes under fedoras, dissolute young heirs under boaters, and Mexicans under sombreros. Only one of these pairings have made it to the point of racist caricature, and that was Mexicans under sombreros. The clue was unfortunate.

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

Rex, I just read today's comments after giving up on the syndicated puzzle. "A stunt puzzle that is more about showing off constructor cleverness than providing an entertaining solving experience."
Yet you thought Caleb's "No-U-turn" puzzle was clever.
Too inside for the likes of me.
Here... what's a 13 letter word for a much used be-bop form?

Stan 11:38 PM  

Anon 3:34: "Rhythm Changes"? As in the chord changes to "I Got Rhythm, I Got Music, I Got My Gal, Who Could Ask For Anything More" by George Gershwin. The chord sequence is the base of many bebop tunes including "Salt Peanuts" (Dizzy Gillespie) and "Oleo" (Sonny Rollins).

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Racial stereotyping is not racism.

ELO and Styx, together again, on one page.

@ salosoleta
I was wavering between four and five, so I just counted the theme answers listed in clue 59a.

@ archaeoprof 11:23 AM
if you had to miss one, that was the one to miss.

Seems like we've seen a lot of ONE A's lately.

"All these jobs are racist against people who don't have skills!" - Luanne Platter, King of the Hill


Pippin 1:20 PM  

Finished with 3 writeovers - Ascot for EPSOM (should have known that as I lived in England for several years), goat for TBAR (I never considered the T-BAR a "sturdy" mode of transportation when I skied, but then I was never a very good skier)and scratch pad for SCRAP PAPER. Learned new words - WEEB, BREDA and MINGO.

Got all of the above from crosses with no googling so it was a good day for me.

rain forest 2:17 PM  

The puzzle was just fine (didn't have a problem with Mingo or Breda, and knew Weeb). What wasn't fine was reading the comments, starting with the absurd idea that 20A was racial sterotyping, which led to the over-reaction by Evil Doug. Some people say they learn much from the comments, but too often what is learned is not helpful.

Anonymous 2:45 PM  

I didn't finish the puzzle; had to go online to complete it. Couldn't get 9a (epsom); 15a mingo, 45a,wafflecone; 59a five iron or 60a breda. did not enjoy puzzle.

Dirigonzo 5:42 PM  

From syndiland, all the discussion of SOMBRERO reminds me that I haven't had one (the cocktail, not the hat) for a very long time; it may be time to rectify (or rexify?) the situation.

Didn't we just have a puzzle with the buck suffix spelled eROO?

This puzzle continued the week's trend of fun and somewhat more challenging than usual fare (for me, anyway). Thanks to all concerned.

Deb 5:46 PM  

Re the "lazy Mexican" stereotype, I, too, was taken aback by the cluing for SOMBRERO. And forgive me, Evil Doug, but your anti-PC protestations are pretty rich - coming, as they do, from a white man in the U.S.

This conversation was had regarding the word JEW in a puzzle several weeks ago, and in that case I agree that the speaker's intent is important. But there's a big difference in that Jewish people in the U.S. have, by and large, assimilated and (again, by and large) succeeded to such an extent that any stereotypes that may exist about them are merely comical and/or moot. The same cannot be said of Mexicans in this country, particularly considering all the brouhaha over immigration in recent years.

As Matthew G pointed out, here are a lot of other, less offensive ways the word could have been clued. "Part of the original Taco Bell logo," even though it still conjures up the stereotype, would have been preferable.

Anonymous 9:59 PM  

Spacecraft here. All the flap about PCness just reinforces my opinion that humans as an organism had better regrow some thicker skin. We never used to have these problems. If you took offense to some remark, you acted on it with fistic directness. But far more commonly, you simply CONSIDERED THE SOURCE and forgot about it. This is the Age of Taking Offense. We seem, any more, to delight in spotting anything that even MIGHT be objectionable to anyone. Lighten up, people; we have better things to do--and far more troublesome issues to worry about!
Now to today's offering. Seemed more like a Tuesday, in terms of difficulty. A golf enthusiast (though no good at it), I liked the theme; for a while I didn't know what fit in front of ____IRONS, not thinking of a written-out number (for me that's a crossword minus; cf. THREEAM elsewhere today), but got it soon enough. Hand up for the near-Natick at BURL/BREDA. My only near-cheat, I guessed the R and then looked up BURL in my Scrabble dictionary to confirm before inking in. Another hand up against AROO ("Marmaduke's howl") and ADEE ("chick chaser?") appearing together. Diverting clue for EMILE, giving Monseiur LeBeq of South Pacific the night off. Last point: I dislike partials like [la] BREA. Scoring-wise, that's like a fall off the balance beam, a mandatory .5 deduction. Two very fine words ending in -OM, EPSOM and BUXOM, along with MRSPEEL (Steed, you lucky cad!) were welcome.

cationf: an interrupted holiday.

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