Hatrack piece / MON 3-16-15 / Sunday liquor prohibition / Every West Point graduate until 1980 / Big-mouthed pitchers / Venomous Nile dwellers / 1995 crime caper based on Elmore Leonard novel

Monday, March 16, 2015

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (**for a Monday**) (completion time: 3:01)

THEME: SMALL TALK (66A: Chitchat … or an apt title for this puzzle?) — two-word phrases where one of the words is slang for a small person:

Theme answers:
  • SQUIRT GUN (17A: Toy in a water fight)
  • FRIED SHRIMP (25A: Crispy seafood dish)
  • GET SHORTY (39A: 1995 crime caper based on an Elmore Leonard novel)
  • PEE WEE REESE (56A: Hall-of-Fame Dodger nicknamed "The Little Colonel")
Word of the Day: TRISHA Yearwood (52D: Yearwood of country music) —
Patricia Lynn "Trisha" Yearwood (born September 19, 1964) is an American singer, author, and actress. She is known for her ballads about vulnerable young women from a female perspective that have been described by some music critics as "strong" and "confident". Yearwood is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
Yearwood rose to fame in 1991 with her debut single "She's in Love with the Boy", which became her first No. 1 single and was featured on her self-titled debut album. Yearwood has continued to find success and widespread critical acclaim, releasing a further 10 studio albums, which have spawned eight more No. 1 singles and 20 top-10 hits combined, including "Walkaway Joe", "The Song Remembers When", "Thinkin' About You", "I'll Still Love You More", and "I Would've Loved You Anyway". In 1997, Yearwood recorded the song "How Do I Live" for the soundtrack of the movie Con Air. It became her signature song, achieving high positions and sales worldwide, and won her a Grammy Award. She has also recorded successful duets with her husband, country singer Garth Brooks, including "In Another's Eyes", which won the couple a Grammy Award.
Yearwood has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, and has won three Grammy Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, an American Music Award, and a Pollstar Industry Award for touring. Aside from her success in music, Yearwood has also ventured into writing, releasing three successful cookbooks, which earned her the status of two-time New York Times best-selling author. Since April 2012, Yearwood has hosted a culinary series on Food Network titled Trisha's Southern Kitchen, for which she has won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Culinary Program. (wikipedia)

• • •

This was pretty nice. Much more interesting than your average Monday grid, but still Monday-easy. My time was up above average, due largely to the multiple passes it took me to get into the large, open corners, as well as some general blanking and initial wrongness. I couldn't even process what [Hatrack piece] meant. "Piece" had me thinking GUN or GAT, but that makes no sense (I don't think) with "Hatrack." Anyway, "piece" just meant "piece." A piece of a hatrack. I didn't now hatracks (my autocorrect wants "hayracks") came in pieces. This all to say that PEG, it did not come (back) to me. For a while. And I had -MAN and wrote in NAVY- even as I knew that was wrong (12D: Every West Point graduate until 1980). It was just the first thing that came into my head and my brain was like "go for it, man." Stupid brain. NEIL v. NEAL took me a second, -TALK too me many seconds longer, and WAVER … that thing wouldn't budge til I hacked it apart with crosses. I wanted WEAVE and then I just blanked. Still, done pretty quickly.

So, theme works fine. Grid design is weird, but in a good way. Substantial corners, which made the grid feel lower word-count than it was. The center is super-choppy, which drives the word count way up. Ends up at the 78 max. It's an interesting design choice, driving more of the black squares toward the middle in order to open up the corners. I like the results. There's some old school crosswordese in here (ORA, TOSSPOT), but nothing outrageous. Enjoyable.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Whirred Whacks 12:33 AM  

    Nice, fun puzzle.

    @Rex Thanks for the "Steely Dan" link! I haven't thought about them in a while. I enjoyed their music years ago, but it wasn't until today that I learned where they got their name [Wikipedia]:

    "(Core founders) Fagen and Becker named the
    band after 'Steely Dan III from Yokohama', a strap-on dildo mentioned in the William S. Burroughs novel Naked Lunch."

    That tidbit would make an interesting (Friday or Saturday) clue in a future NYT puzzle.

    Steve J 1:27 AM  

    Enjoyed this. Nice theme that's just right for the start of the week, with some good phrases/names. Good longer downs made for nice fill. Went by super-quick, even for a Monday, but I liked it.

    Ellen S 1:33 AM  

    I liked it. Almost all the fill was intelligent (even ORA and EDYS do not sink to the level of EELS, for instance). Took me three tries to spell TRISHA correctly, but that's my own fault. Nice Monday, Mr. Livengood.

    Carola 2:02 AM  

    The reveal was a punch line I didn't see coming - nice one! I also admired those fine long Downs. I liked SMALL TALK over HYPE and D.O.A. vs. ALIVE.

    jae 2:23 AM  

    Easy-medium for me.  Very solid Mon.  Liked it. Or what @Steve J said.

    chefwen 2:29 AM  

    Trust Ian to deliver a fun, light , Monday puzzle to us. I would expect nothing less.

    Being built very close to the ground, five two and a quarter, (the 1/4 is very important) I totally felt connected to this. Brother Mike used to call me SHRIMP when we were growing up. I hated that. Wasn't too fond of him either. He's O.K. Now, sorta!

    Cute puzzle Ian, keep 'em coming.

    Loren Muse Smith 4:50 AM  

    No problems here, except that like @Carola, I wasn't expecting a reveal at 66A; I had seen the STAR at 74A and somehow thought *that* would be the reveal. So I was a bit confused at the adjective SMALL showing up with all the nouns SHRIMP, SHORTY, PEEWEE, and SQUIRT. I had already rationalized that SMALL could be a noun, too.

    I guess TOSSPOT is crosswordese, but it's such a great expression. "No, let’s not invite Trisha; she's such a tosspot. You remember what she did last time she was here – right into our ewer."

    Like the word ERUDITE. You kinda have to be it to use it. I also like hirsute for some reason, and we have both APES and GORILLA in the grid.

    I hesitated with WAVER, too, but only because I always want to spell it "waiver," whatever its meaning.

    Ahem, @M&A, @R.alph, et al – I'll let you have the other possible themer.

    Nice Monday, Ian! Fine start to the week.

    Susierah 5:14 AM  

    Trisha Yearwood, the pride of my hometown Monticello, Georgia. She is a really nice person. And Otis Redding, the pride of my current home Macon, Georgia. Love it!

    pfb 5:14 AM  

    Fast, clean solve.

    @Whirred Whacks:

    Here's another Steely Dan song that works for last Thursday--Fire in the Hole:


    George Barany 5:41 AM  

    We're on quite a calendar streak: Friday the 13th followed by Pi Day followed by the Ides of March, and today is Square Root of Ten Day. Why else would @Ian Livengood have a SQUIRT start off his puzzle?

    @Loren Muse Smith, is your hypothetical TOSSPOT named Trisha any relation to the C&W singer TRISHA referenced to in the puzzle?

    For those who aren't all crossworded out yet for the day, may I recommend Something Wise by @Steve Bachman. It's a Monday theme with a late-week word count.

    I plan to be at the ACPT in Stamford, and look forward to renewing past acquaintances and making new friends. In some cases, this can be as straightforward as associating a face with a name or internet handle. Be sure to say Hi!

    Lewis 6:20 AM  

    Yes, a Monday-easy puzzle that doesn't insult the intelligence. Good one, Ian, and keep this up, Will. The theme is cute (even adorable), with interesting answers like ERUDITE, BLUELAW, SMALLTALK, ALTTAB, and PEEWEEREESE.

    You'll note that the latter has three double letters, and this puzzle either holds or ties the record (irresponsibly, I don't remember) for the most in a puzzle this size since I inexplicably began tracking this yea so many months ago -- nineteen! Anything over 12 or under 5 is highly highly unusual. I have never seen a puzzle with zero, and if and when that happens it will be a red letter day!

    Lewis 6:21 AM  

    Okay, a red leter day.

    Z 6:27 AM  

    I was thinking something noirish early on with GUN, HEAT, DOA, GET SHORTY, and SYNODS all showing up early. Finished in "challenging" time, although it didn't seem so during the solve.

    @LMS - I met an ERUDITE, hirsute TOSSPOT at the BUSSTOP once. He was into APE ART.

    GILL I. 6:34 AM  

    Our SON is 6'3 and our daughter is 5'2...He always got the SQUIRT SHRIMP SHORTY PEEWEE nicknames and SHE was called Miss altitudinous...Not sure I understand the ZEN.
    Cute puzzle. So glad DOA wasn't clued as and ambulance corpse. I should probably look up TOSS POT to see why in the world that happens to be a drunkard!
    Damn BLUE LAWs. Ruined our vacation in Myrtle Beach. Well, the Sunday we arrived and went out for dinner and had the waiter laugh at us for asking for the wine list. Don't you southerners drink on Sunday?
    If my name were Barbara, I wouldn't let you call me BABS!

    jberg 7:11 AM  

    @Gill, no blue laws in Captiva! Just back from a great vacation there -- home to Boston just in time to set a new season-snowfall record for the city, 108.6 inches (the .6 is important!)

    What I liked about teh puzzle is all the extra information in the clues -- like that PEE WEE REESE was called "The Little Colonel." All you really need for the clue is "Dodger." (And actually, the 'little' in the clue would be better omitted, as none of the other theme answers refer to the real theme.) I also liked the various paths to enlightenment -- although, in the case of ZEN, like almost everything else in Japan, they had it in China first (and in India before that). Fair enough as a clue, though.

    The hardest part for me is that, since the puzzle is printed in a sans-serif font, III looks just like Ill; so I was looking for some sort of rapper slang at 30A. Doh!

    NCA President 7:40 AM  

    Easy peasy. I had a few wrong guesses to start : her for SHE, ALTdel for ALTTAB, milk for EGGS, and SsH for SHH. Otherwise, fill in the blank for the most part.

    @WhirredWhacks: I knew about Steely Dan as a dildo for a long time (it was part of teenaged lore when I was growing up). And given Fagen's propensity for the more skeevy side of things, it's no surprise.

    Nice Monday.

    Lewis 7:46 AM  

    Factoid: BURRO racing is a sport in Colorado, where a burro, carrying a 33-pound pack of mining gear, is led by a human using a lead rope. The burro cannot carry the human, but the human can carry the burro. There is a burro racing triple crown as well, with one of the races 29 miles long. (Wikipedia)

    Quotoid: "It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the GORILLA in Manila." -- Muhammad Ali

    joho 8:02 AM  

    We're off to a great start this week!

    Creating a simple yet fresh and entertaining puzzle this sweet is no SMALL feat.

    I liked ATPEACE next to LIESLOW. Also BABS at 1A and STAR at 74A which she most certainly is.

    And how can you not love a puzzle with a SQUIRTGUN?

    Fun Monday, thanks, Ian!

    DShawMaine 8:29 AM  

    One of the fun aspects of my morning crossword ritual is guessing whether Rex and others agree with me on the difficulty/pleasurableness of the puzzle - today, it looks like I am off the grid. Thought it was too easy, even for a Monday. Basically wrote in the acrosses and was done in under 6, without trying to hurry and even refilling my coffee ('cause the point, of course, is to linger as long as possible over that coffee). Meh.
    Did learn a new term for a drunkard, so there's sumpthin'.

    Nancy 8:56 AM  

    There the NY Times goes again, trying to be all hip with the name of a country singer in the puzzle. Sacre bleu! When I was young, we had songs that were so much better than that country crap. And Otis Redding?! Was he some kind of rap singer or something? Why can't these constructors stick to REAL music, like "Kiss Me Kate" or "Three Coins in a Fountain?" All this rock 'n' roll is the devil's music and will lead to perdition!

    AliasZ 8:57 AM  

    What a disgrace to make fun of vertically challenged people, Mr. Shortz! What's next, SHORTY jokes? "He was so short, he had to stand on a stool to peek under the bed." "He was so short, at first ground frost his ears froze off." This must be a new low for the NYT.

    I was approached by a TOSSPOT,
    At the Fifth Avenue BUSSTOP:
    "Buddy, can you spare a ten spot?"
    "Sorry pal, but today I'm short."

    Delightful and solid puzzle today, what I learned to expect from Lian Evingood.

    Here is an ELUDE and Fugue by J.S. Bach, who was not short on musical genius, inspiration, innovation and beauty.

    Hartley70 9:03 AM  

    Cute conceit today and perfect fun for the vertically challenged. I have 1/2 inch on @chefwen which is to be expected because I was never the shortest kid in the class.

    I really liked this one. Many thanks to Mr. Livengood

    Tita 9:04 AM  

    If you're in the neighborhood, get a homemade ROOTBEER at Sycamore Grill in Bethel.

    Time to make some pretzel bread - they get boiled in food-grade LYE. I just love baking things that require hazmat suits to make.

    Nice Monday, Mr. Livengood - thanks!

    Fredd Smith 9:19 AM  

    @jberg --

    Sorry to hear you're back in Boston. We're retired, so we spend all winter (and Spring, 'till early May, then back up there to Concord) here in SW FL. It's gonna be warm-ish on the golf course today, a tough life to be sure, but someone's gotta do it. ;)

    We occasionally take a trip out to Captiva, enjoy bird-watching at Ding Darling, and an earl supper at Sunset Grill. Ever seen a Green Flash?

    chefbea 9:20 AM  

    Tough for a Monday but got through it. I play words with friends...in fact some of the people I play with I "met" on this blog.

    and several people call me Babs.

    Anonymous 9:21 AM  

    Randy, Randy, where's the love?

    "Short People got nobody
    To love

    They got little baby legs
    That stand so low
    You got to pick 'em up
    Just to say hello"

    mac 9:28 AM  

    Excellent Monday, it was over very quickly. I didn't even see the "hatrack" clue. At 1A I immediately thought "manicurist", but it wouldn't fit.

    I know Trisha not through her music, although I might recognize some songs, but a friend's daughter is a producer of her cooking show.

    Another set: Tao and Zen.

    mac 9:28 AM  

    That is 1D.

    Roo Monster 9:29 AM  

    Hey All !
    Ahh, nice easy, no-brain-strain puz today. Just what was needed for a MonPuz. Filled in slow-n-steady, I don't go for speed records. :-) Agree with the nice open corners, disagree that the middle is too choppy. I liked the grid. I like to count the black squares, like @Lewis likes to track the doubles. There were only 34, usually 38-40 on Monday.

    The BUSSTOP-TOSSPOT thing is cool. Also liked the other long downs, ROOTBEER, ASHTREES and the corner 7's.

    Does a non-speed talker LIE SLOW? If Baseballer Young silently agrees, is it SY NODS? (sic) Is what a prostitute does=GETS HORTY? (a stretch on that one!)


    Anonymous 10:03 AM  

    I believe Ms. Streisand spells her name Barbra...not Barbara, nor BABS.

    Very solid puzzle- not a crappy Monday.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:04 AM  

    Nice little puzzle.

    old timer 10:53 AM  

    I need a pen with darker ink. Not being able to read what I wrote is what kept my time at 9 minutes, instead of 7.

    I'm sure those downs were lovely, but I *mostly* did acrosses -- downs only when I was slightly stuck.

    Nice to see my old hero PEEWEEREESE, the Brandon Crawford of his day. (I was a Dodgers fan when I lived in LA, even before they came West. Became a Giants fan when it was obvious I was never moving back to SoCal.

    Christian Mojallali 10:57 AM  

    I loved this puzzle today. Way faster than usual for me, and the only thing I grumbled about was TOSSPOT. All of the weirder stuff I got with crosses and didn't even notice. Rex said he struggled with PEG and WAVER, but I never even read those clues.

    Not sure If I'm okay with 74 across though. Putting a symbol instead of a clue is kind of a cop-out in my opinion.

    Very fun puzzle.

    Joseph Michael 11:07 AM  

    Pleasant puzzle. Thought Rex would complain because the positioning of the theme words in the answers is inconsistent. Glad he didn't.

    Liked the shout out to GET SHORTY. Great film. Also liked the long downs in the corners.

    A bit too easy for my taste, even for a Monday, but nicely done.

    Request to the Crossword Gods: Can TAO be put to rest for a while?

    Nancy 11:08 AM  

    @OISK (from yesterday): Listened to the Nelson Eddy version, but found it too slow and lugubrious. Then listened, in succession, to Burl Ives, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and a group whose recording had such tinny sound that I couldn't listen. Wasn't blown away by any of them. But then I found, I think, the version I may have heard as a child. It's sung by the songwriter, himself, Stan Jones; it's sung at a much faster pace than the others; and I loved it.
    Take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqFBE6vZ1i4
    PS. I'm impressed with your total memory of all the lyrics. This is one oldie that my memory of is very fuzzy.

    Lewis 11:25 AM  

    @josephmichael -- The theme answer words are balanced: two in the front of the answer and two in the back. Rex is usually okay with balanced.

    Nancy 11:39 AM  

    @Rex Parker --
    If you check Sunday 3/15's comments at 5:56 p.m and today's comments at 8:36 a.m., you will see that someone calling himself "Nancy" is using my name to make ugly, hostile, angry comments that I would never in a million years make. I couldn't care less what some anonymous, hate-filled, very disturbed stranger says ABOUT me but I do care about his making remarks ostensibly in my name. Even though my name's in blue and his isn't, I worry some people will get confused. Can you track this guy (I'm sure it's a guy) down and block him for me? I don't imagine you want your blog used for nastiness and spite, do you? I'd appreciate anything you can do. Thanks.

    Joseph Michael 11:41 AM  

    @lewis -- I was including SMALL as a themer. So that would yield three in front and two in back.

    Either way, I was glad It didn't become a point of criticism. It's a nice puzzle.

    L 12:25 PM  

    A super fun Monday puzzle. Doable, but required some thinking. Any Monday that's not completed on autopilot is a good one.

    'merican on the train to Geneva 12:29 PM  

    Took me 30 minutes, on paper. I don't think I could even fill in all the squares copying from a completed version in front of me in the 3 minutes Rex says he finished his in. Sheesh.

    Thought the theme had something to do with words containing QUIRE at first. Finally figured out the theme but got stuck for awhile in the NE at the EDY_, TOS_POT crossing. Never encountered the former and never heard the latter.

    Also almost Naticked at the PEEWEE_EESE x T_ISHA crossing. Guessed R there, and was lucky.

    ISLE have to agree with the others, though. It RELY took TALENT to construct such a dense puzzle, and that's no LYE. ('Nough SAID.)

    @Nancy: terrible that some GORILLA has decided to mess around with your nom de plume. Rest assured, I can tell the difference!

    Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:37 PM  

    @muse: Other themer? I cannot possibly imagine what U might be referin to, girl.

    @63: Glad to see U so jolly. ORASONSHETAO, dude. Long strings of weejects can be mucho uplifting. Them Six U's in the first four puz rows had me on a temp high, also.

    Fave clue = the 36-D clue, which in my version had "Quiet!" written in real small letters. Extra small talk, huh? Like. Also liked the STAR clue, which was a picture. STAR is an anagram of ARTS, U see. Other answers that woulda benefitted highly from picture clues: EGGS. COMET. ROOTBEER. OOZE. RULER. GORILLA. TOSSPOT. Maybe EWERS, but two pot clues might be confusin.

    Thanx, Mr. Livengood. Great stuff ... but where on earth did U go, after row four?


    Leapfinger 12:38 PM  

    What, no Crisco in the grid??

    Momma's little baby loves short'ning, short'ning,
    Momma's little baby loves short'ning bread.

    In the vein, I was looking for Button Gwinett to pop up.

    Not to belittle anything or anyone (esp not @Roomie!), but I also think that 39A was meant to be GETS HORT'Y, the space just being a bit too tight. That's probably just the Hungarian background talking, and the, um, INverse relationship to yesterday's RED INCARNATION. So that's my take on it, but I'm sure I'm in a tiny minority.

    J-Lo if you must, but I agreed yesterday that it was a travesty to coin the abbrev ScarJo. IONIC, isn't it, that today follows with the BABSification of Streisand? 'Barbra' is all the shortening she needs.

    Also IONIC: Hard on the Heels of the TaylorSwift anagram kerfuffle, this grid gives us RIM-MIR and SON-ONS. Didn't have time to DO A thorough check for more, but there sure is a lot of anagrammatic potential in the fill.

    A few thoughts that popped up:
    Would have been nice to have HOE Down instead of Across;
    Anyone named 'FRIEDman' out there? So how do you pronounce it? Ergo, that reads as FREED SHRIMP...Willy nilly.
    Eager to see how @M. Moopsbane follows his SYNapse with SYNODS. No idea what the VIG would be.

    Thanks to @AliasZ and @Nancy for Ab-Fab contributions yesterday from the pros INverse. Bless all y'all's inventive talents!!

    And thanks for a stellar Monday puzzle: Better Living through Livengood!

    Anonymous 12:48 PM  

    I supposed it's inconceivable that there are two people named Nancy who do crossword puzzles. Nice tantrum though.

    foxaroni 1:00 PM  

    Thanks @LMS, @M&A and @Leapy. Your comments are always the highlight of the blog for me.

    Thanks, too, to @Rex, IL and WS. Most likely I will never make it to any tournaments, so I'll never get to meet you in person. Hence this note to say "thanks!"

    Foxaroni in Kansas City

    Anonymous 1:01 PM  

    @Nancy, welcome to the internet. Relax and learn to ignore

    foxaroni 1:05 PM  

    To "blue" @Nancy (as opposed to your "black" imposter/poseur (sp?)-- thanks, too, for the Youtube link. The interesting things we learn here.... :-)

    M and Artwork 1:12 PM  

    Top most challengin answers, to clue with a picture:
    1. UCLA. Maybe draw a bear sneakin into the NCAA tourney?
    2. DOA. Maybe show a Hello Fresh order gone bad?
    3. SHE. Lots of viable possibilities, if U are one of the lucky few that have seen this great 1935 flick.
    4. ZEN. Pic of Buddha with a C-roll?
    5. MRI. I've got some primo knee pics, for this.
    6. SYNODS. A Sinex bottle and a cross? tough.
    7. LES, NEIL & OTIS, huddled together. Pic of a desperate-lookin xword constructioneer?
    8. ETS. If M&A drew it, reaction of average solver = "Ash trees?!?"


    Anonymous 1:26 PM  

    Hey foxaroni--that's racist. Just because she's mean you shouldn't assume she's black!

    mac 2:04 PM  

    @Nancy: it won't be hard to tell you spart, I noticed the different tone right away.

    M and A Help Desk and Nobel Piece Prizer 2:34 PM  


    * Blorg-registered @Nancy = @Nancy.
    * Freelance @Nancy = @Alias-Nancy.

    Ditto for the multiple @Evil Doug's, btw.


    JTHurst 2:56 PM  

    @ Nancy 11:39 AM How do you know its a guy who lives down the block from you?

    Ah, sarcasm the whetstone of the American dialectic.

    Nancy 2:58 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    evil doug 3:02 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Leapfinger 4:02 PM  

    Steely Dan is a dildo?

    All thINGEs considered, BUS STOP should have been clued to Marilyn Monroe. One of her most appealing vehicles.

    I also thought immediately of Randy Newman's Short People, which apparently generated quite a lot of reactive SMALL TALK. One response to this came in the form of a satirical piece on Smart People, which Deb Amlen linked in her blog. For anyone interested but not sufficiently to go looking for it, you can read it by clicking here.

    [Ummm...if this doesn't work, you'll just have to meander over to WordPlay.]

    Ludyjynn 6:46 PM  

    Had to use the next-door neighbor tech-savy teen's services to get my computer finctioning today; felt strangely at sea while it was offline. Sweet relief to be reconnected.

    All I'll say is that this easy, peasy Monday left me ATPEACE.

    Thanks, IL and WS.

    Ludyjynn 6:48 PM  

    Apparently, my brain is still offline; sorry for spelling errors above!

    Teedmn 7:29 PM  

    I agree with @Rex that this was a bit more difficult than the usual Monday I had a couple of write-overs such as ceSSPOT, and had stUDIed (a synonym of "learned", don't ya know) before ERUDITE but TAO and TALENT fixed that SHORTlY!

    I was the shortest kid in my class until about 10th grade, so I've heard them all. Now a towering 5' 4 1/2", I still think of myself as short. (And yes, the 1/2" is very important!)

    Thanks, Ian Livengood for a nice Monday romp.

    mathguy 9:50 PM  

    The Closer and I are at the Marriott on Kaanapali Beach in Maui until the 24th. I'm late because I couldn't get the hotel computer to spit out the puzzle.

    I agree that this was way above average for a Monday.

    @George Barany: I didn't bring a calculator, but working by hand it seems that 3.1615 is the square root of ten to four digits. How did you come up with that? I remember that the square root of 3 is George Washington's year of birth.

    mathguy 9:56 PM  

    I just found an online calculator. Root 10 is 3.1622. But 3.1615 is pretty close.

    Leapfinger 12:51 AM  

    @MnA, picture clues? EWERS? Pitcher clues? Har.
    Take Jiggs 'n' Maggie, if you remember that far back. Jiggs was an overindulge, would go all gout. Maggie was the TOSSPOT: EWER always seeing the POT she threw at Jiggs frozen in mid-air, inches from his head. Seems TOSSPOT Maggie was never a HITPOT. I can still picture that: their noses were drawn with O's.

    Second pitcher: ROO M. Onster's cousin, ROO T. BEER. EGGSellent time to have The Iceman COMETh.

    Third pitcher: RULER
    Not sure about this one: R ULER in this case ULER's Method, ULER's
    Formula or ULER's Theorem? Most likely, @mathguy will be Closer than any of Us.

    But you digress.

    Innocent bystander 1:03 AM  

    @Blue Nancy
    'ugly, hostile angry remarks...'
    Hmm, sounds inneresting. Sorry I missed it.

    '...that I would never in a million years make.'
    Just don't split your infinitives. You'll have @Grammar Nazi down on you.

    Anonymous 10:08 AM  

    Fried shrimp = green paint

    spacecraft 11:33 AM  

    I am trying to imagine calling Ms. Streisand "BABS." Having a lot of trouble. Hershey, OK. Bain, sure. Even Stanwyck. But Streisand? N..no.

    Count me with those who didn't get the theme TIL the revealer; that's always nice. Despite SHH and DOA (interesting the latter wasn't clued as "dead on arrival--" either the expression or the great old movie), this one has pretty decent fill, including the mini-theme of Eastern enlightenments.

    I love ROOTBEER; that's part of why I'm not a TOSSPOT. And now, folks, would somebody please explain the clue for STAR, which in my paper was just a capital "H". I have to suspect that the clue was something else, not covered by this paper's font.

    I tried a little experiment. After completing the grid, I made a duplicate one and just COPIED the entries from the filled one into the blank one. No thinking at all, just simply COPIED. Took me 3:06, writing as fast as I could. SO GET OUT OF HERE with those RIDICULOUS times, @Rex! I flat-out don't believe you.

    rain forest 1:09 PM  

    Nice Monday puzzle. Also needed the revealer to see the theme.

    One question: Aren't all West Point grads still army men?

    rondo 1:15 PM  

    @Spacey - my paper must have wing-ding fonts, or whatever, because 74a shows a picture of a five pointed star.
    Also with you on that whole speed solve thing. LYE

    But enough SMALLTALK, it's lunchtime. I figured the theme after FRIEDSHRIMP gave me the second small person.

    Not much else, lotsa threes, but it's Monday. Back to lunch and let all you ERUDITE folks continue to comment.

    rondo 1:16 PM  

    @rain forest - not since they started admitting women.

    Burma Shave 1:34 PM  


    and makes SMALLTALK with a HOE about BLUELAW (at the BUSSTOP),
    and drinks ROOTBEER to ELUDE the crime.

    --- SGT LES OTIS


    when the APES TREAT BABS to some liquor?
    And when SHE gets higher,
    Will SHE sing like ACQUIRE?


    BS2 1:59 PM  

    Or will that STAR lay her TALENT on thicker?

    DMG 2:26 PM  

    A fun Monday! Agree that BABS doesn't seem right for Ms. Streisand, but It's not as bad as the Bobs I got stuck with as a child-Dad really wanted a boy! See you tomorrow!

    7955. An 8 not too bad

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