+ ‘Bone to pick’ on crossword puzzle answer
To: Timothy E. Parker, crossword editor
Love to do your crosswords every week. As a long-time Observer reader and word puzzle aficionado, I find them to be an enlightening chore after tackling the Friday Wall Street Journal and the Sunday New York Times offerings. Once a former U.S. Navy crypto officer, the cryptograms are also a challenge to my previous military exploits ... 58 years ago!
Have a bone to pick with you, or maybe it’s the creator of the March 29 puzzle — See 100 Across: “Stop!” to Captain Bligh. I do not agree with “belay” as the prime answer, although it fits the grid.
According to Webster, “belay” primarily refers to a verb, which is used mainly in rope or line handling terminology — or, in some cases, it can be used to mean defer or cancel, such as a captain might say to his helmsman, “Belay that last course change. “
Now, in my Navy days, 1953-57, the nautical term for stop was always “avast,” such as when heaving or tugging on lines or hauling in the anchor ... the cry would go out from the boatswain, “Avast (stop) heaving”.
O.K., I’m a nit-picker, but I guess I’m still an “old salt,” or as my wife says, “You have too much PC time on your hands.” Again, I enjoy your puzzles and regards to my good friend, Matt Walsh.
Longboat Key snowbird
+ Letter from father remains cherished memory
April 12 is my birthday, my father’s birthday and the day F.D.R. died. I was at Okinawa when President Roosevelt died, living through 200 Kamikaze attacks and being up all night the 12th of April, 1945. Somehow word was passed, “The president has died.” Everyone, along with time, stood still.
He was our commander-in-chief, and a bit of us died with him that day. This is the letter my pop wrote to me April 13, 1945. He had three sons and a son-in-law in combat overseas at the time. Sixty-seven years later, I still cherish this letter.
I just returned from the Navy Yard Receiving Barracks. They held a beautiful memorial service for the late F.D.R. The service embraced the entire third Naval District of which New York is the base. There were plenty of scrambled eggs on hand and also brass from the Royal Navy. The principal address was given by Admiral Kelly, commandant of the third Naval District.
To me the most significant feature was the presence of a Jewish chaplain, Lt. Commander Joshua Goldberg.
Since Thursday night all programs were off the air. The only thing heard on the radio networks were the news and solemn music hymns. The most striking one, of course, was the Navy hymn “Eternal Father,” which was F.D.R.’s favorite. He was a Navy Man.
Another hymn was “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me” containing striking words such as “Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea, unknown waves before me roll, hiding rocks and treacherous shoal, chart and compass come from thee, Jesus, Savior, pilot me.”
How significant and applying to anyone in the Navy — “Unknown waves before me roll,” etc. Also, “O hear me when I cry to thee, for those in peril on the sea.”
Anyone at sea is in peril, but in this war time era the danger is increased 100-fold.
The death of such a great and beloved man brings a certain degree of solemnity to everyone.
I look out the window at the bleachers at Ebbetts Field and everything looks normal as they are packed. Remember the “Cards” giving the “bums” a run for the roses?
Let’s hear from you, it’s been a few weeks; I can only guess from the news where you are. Smooth sailing, sailor, and God be with you always. We will never forget Apri,l 12 1945, our birthday. God bless F.D.R.’s soul.
+ Fix the pension issue, put unnecessary spending on hold
The editorial on Longboat Key’s $26.5 million unfunded pension liability was enlightening and disturbing. The deficit has grown tenfold in the last 10 years, a staggering increase. The deficit equates to about $3,500 for each person living on Longboat Key. It’s unclear if retiree health-care costs are included in the calculations or if that is an additional liability.
Unfortunately for many years, politicians have made a habit of awarding overly generous benefits to municipal employees because the cash costs occur long after they leave office. Consequently, many states, cities and towns are now facing a similar fiscal crisis.
We demand and receive first-class municipal services on our island, but we must deal with this growing deficit in contract negotiations with our employees. Corporate America took similar steps years ago, and we must do the same.
Let’s hear no more talk of land acquisitions, an expensive community center and other things we don’t need until this deficit is addressed. Mayor Jim Brown’s unspecific responses on this problem in your interview were far from comforting.