Monday, 7/4/11

BEQ 4:22 
NYT 3:21 (pannonica) 
LAT 2:56 
CS 6:50 (Sam) 

Paul Johnson’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review

NYT crossword 7/4/11 answers 7411

Wow, another début today. In a windmill—or perhaps pinwheel—arrangement are four 12-letter themers; a central five-letter theme entry anchors the center. Each is clued the same way, [|Movie studio| picture?] The answers refer not to any specific films, but each is a feature of sorts. What’s being asked for is the distinctive production logo that identifies the studio in the opening credits.

  • 17a. 20th Century Fox has its monumental lettering illuminated by a SEARCHLIGHT. Or more than one. Searchlight Films also happens to be a division of the studio specializing in independent releases.
  • 11d. TriStar has a version of Pegasus, the FLYING HORSE romping across the screen. I never can understand why some fantastical flying creatures are depicted as running on air while flapping their wings. That looks silly.
  • 25d. MGM features a crest with its quaint and not-for-a-moment-believable motto “Ars Gratia Artis,” but what’s most noticeable is the ROARING LION. I believe the original mascot was named “Leo.”
  • 51a. Columbia Pictures’ logo depicts what I’ve always assumed to be a fleshed-out version of the Statue of Liberty, more generically a TORCHBEARER.
  • 36a. Last, and least (in word length but not in depicted object) is Universal‘s calling card, a revolving Earth, a GLOBE.

Nifty theme, well executed. Clean fill supported by clues well-pitched for an early week puzzle. Low on the Scrabblometer, but satisfying nonetheless. Some fun longer fill, including ALCOVES, BOAT RACE, DORITOS. I could have done without the awkward and antiquated [Library book stamp] DUE BY. Liked the BLOBS/GLOBE crossing but not the nearby ALBEE/ALEE duo. Some rare flair for a Monday in rhyme-cluing YELPS as [Sounds from pounds].

Inadvertent imagery in a number of rows:

  • R2: PETAL ELATE LEI. A happy luau experience?
  • R4: TOUPEE FLICK. Don’t tell me you’ve never had the urge!
  • R6: ROONEY BAD EGG. He’s always so grumpy.
  • R10: NOOSES CHASER. Round up the posse!

Updated on a patriotic Monday morning:

Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Sounds Like a Celebration” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy crossword answers, 7 4 11 "Sounds Like a Celebration"

Happy Independence Day, one and all!  Today’s puzzle anticipates some explosive fireworks, as the four (or maybe five?) theme entries are nouns or phrases ending with some explosive sound.  I suppose, then, that each one “ends with a bang.”  (Reminder–if you’re not completely satisfied with the jokes, you’re entitled to a full refund.):

  • 17-Across: The [Sweet on a stick] is a TOOTSIE POP.  An old commercial posed the riddle, “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?”  According to the company’s website, “It depends on a variety of factors such as the size of your mouth, the amount of saliva, etc. Basically, the world may never know.”  In fact, the world does know–well, I do, anyway.  I counted one time when I was about 12.  I forgot the exact number, and if I recorded it somewhere it has been lost.  It was something like 350 licks.  But I won’t claim that each lick was of uniform length, technique, and saliva content.
  • 40-Across: ["Wow!"] is how a lazy person (or one obsessed with word economy) says GEE WHIZ.  I’m not sure this is a theme entry, but I checked my dictionary and “whiz” can be used as a loose synonym for “bang.”  So I decided to err on the side of inclusion.  If I’m wrong, shoot me (and you’ll have a fifth bang after all).
  • 64-Across:  The [Brief prosperous period in the late 1990s] was the DOT-COM BOOM.  Then all the stocks acquired during that period went boom.
  • 11-Down: A [Sarcastic comeback] is a WISE CRACK.  It could also be clued [Smart drug?].
  • 34-Down: One who [Parties heartily] certainly HAS A BLAST.

Some of the non-thematic entries really sparkle.  My favorite is probably DRY EYES (clued [They're rare at a tearjerker]), but SET PLAN and WENT BAD are also nice.

Like any box of fireworks, there were a few duds.  MIS-DO (clued as [Mess up]) is awkward, and BY SHIP feels awfully forced.  And I’m not really loving the clue for the partial IT UP.  The clue reads [Lived ___ (partied heartily)].  I like that it harkened back to the clue for the theme entry in 34-Down, but I know the expression as “live it up” (present tense) and not as “lived it up” (past tense).  But these small nits are easy to ignore, as overall this was a fun way to ring in the nation’s 236th year of independence.  Enjoy the day and be safe!

Peter Collins’ Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword answers, 7 4 11

An easy Fourth of July history theme in a grid with left/right symmetry:

  • 5d, 9d. [Document signed 7/4/1776] = DECLARATION / OF INDEPENDENCE.
  • 39a. [Chief author (who died 7/4/1826) of 5- and 9-Down] is THOMAS JEFFERSON.
  • 7d, 51d. [Chief congressional advocate (who died 7/4/1826) of 5- and 9-Down] is JOHN / ADAMS.

Highlights:

  • 25a. KISMET is a pretty word meaning [Fate].
  • 28d. [What can't be parted after it's departed?] is the HAIR that is no longer on a bald dude’s head.
  • 61a. ["Bedtime for __": Reagan film] clues BONZO. Anyone else announce “Bedtime for Bonzo” when it’s time for their kid to go to sleep? No? Just me?

Answers I associate with older puzzles (though they keep showing up in contemporary puzzles): ODENSE, ED AMES, EELER, SSRS, SALT I, STYE, ST. LO. They’re never going away, are they?

Three stars.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 7/4/11

Have you heard of the “DADCHELOR PARTY“? That’s a new one on me. So, when is your party, Brendan?

Highlights:

  • L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, “JUST A GIGOLO,” “ADD AS FRIEND,” MELISMA, CHALLAH, MAGGOTS (because frankly, these humble larvae hardly ever get to shine in crosswords), and “I’M GAY” clued as [Comment made during an outing].

Smooth puzzle overall. Four stars.

Now, get out there and enjoy the holiday! Perfect weather in Chicago, sunny and 75°.

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10 Responses to Monday, 7/4/11

  1. Ladel says:

    I was looking for a hidden firecracker or even a sparkler after yesterday’s freehand drawing lesson, rather, we got a solid Monday puzzle, and that’s explosive enough for me. Happy 4th to all.

  2. Bruce N. Morton says:

    (Re Sat. Stumper)–Just out of idle curiosity, have any of you ever actually encountered a high school course called “Hygiene”? Perhaps as a small component, or adjunct to some “health” course, or something, but as a free-standing full-scale class? (I’ll let you write your own jokes as to whether any High School student has ever passed it.)

    I’m afraid I too found the ice cream soda puzzle to be very dreary, but Fri. & Sat. were good. I was on the way to shattering my all time PB for an NYT Sat., until I got to the damn SE where a rapper crossed something else I had never heard of. Is “coke float” a regionalism? I don’t think ice cream sodas usually contain coke, in any sense of the term.

    Bruce

  3. Meem says:

    If you are seeking a Fourth of July type theme, Liz Gorski has a free puzzle today at crossword nation.com. Classic, solid Gorski.

  4. joon says:

    nice theme today—a fresh and non-obvious take that’s still easy enough for a monday. no mean feat, that. but i can’t be the only one who had WINGED instead of FLYING, right?

  5. Ladel says:

    @joon

    You know too much Greek (Pegasus) and don’t go to enough bad movies. You just might be alone here. LOL

  6. Gareth says:

    Came out with a Monday time despite being only vaguely aware of the theme answers, and not sure which one goes with which. Strange. Offbeat Monday. Nice!

  7. Anoa Bob says:

    Sounded like four of the theme entry pay-offs in the Washington Post puzzle—POP, CRACK, WHIZ and BOOM—were onomatopoeic, while the fifth—BLAST—kinda fizzled out.

  8. Ladel says:

    Can anybody tell me how to change my picture on this blog. Thanx

  9. pannonica says:

    Ladel: You can modify it at http://en.gravatar.com/

  10. Ladel says:

    Thanx for that pannonica.

Comments are closed.