FRIDAY, Jul. 4, 2008 - John Underwood (IT IS "RESISTLESS IN BATTLE," WROTE SOPHOCLES)

Friday, July 4, 2008


Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: JOHN PHILIP SOUSA (28A: Subject of this puzzle)

Happy 4th of July, Americans. Assuming there are no thunderstorms, we are going to spend the day in patriotic style: poolside bbq followed by minor league baseball game, complete with post-game fireworks. Added bonus: first 7000 fans get Groucho glasses, because nothing says "4th of July" like 7000 people at a minor league baseball game trying to break the record for "Most People Wearing Groucho Glasses at In One Place at One Time." My sister's family is here for the holiday, and we spent all yesterday hanging out with them. My nephews are 3 (Griffin) and 6 (Miles) and completely hilarious. Sahra and Miles together are like some olde tyme comedy team, only with no set jokes and no timing and a tendency to crack themselves up into incoherence. Highlights of yesterday's visit included eating a pancake breakfast prepared by my lovely wife; watching my sister and brother-in-law do the U.S.A. Today crossword puzzle while I offered color commentary (which mainly involved my proclaiming that every other answer sucked); walking in the woods; watching the kids swim in the near-lethally chlorinated hotel swimming pool, which featured an insane and unnecessarily graphic sign nearby telling you what you could and Could Not do in the pool; eating a delicious dinner at a downtown restaurant while playing increasingly surreal games of Hangman with the kids (Miles was partial to words like "eeeeeeeee" and "dite pepse" (he's obsessed with soda ... obsessed, I tell you - perhaps because, unlike many other kids, he is not allowed to drink it with impunity). We started doing Hangman using complete sentences. I gave the kids "MILES AND SAHRA SMELL LIKE CHEESE." They loved it, and Sahra countered with "MILES AND REX SMELL LIKE ALCHAL" (we destroyed evidence of this one, as it seemed the kind of note that could be used against me in a court of law). Highlight of the night was hearing about a big-horned sheep stuffed animal that was the "mascot" of my sister's family's recent trip around Colorado. The sheep was named (by Miles) "The Big Sh'Clark" (I'm laughing just typing it), and somehow the whole latter part of last night was overwhelmed by "The Big Sh'Clark": calling everything "Big Sh'Clark," turning "Sh'Clark" into a verb, and finally creating a recipe for a dessert called "The Big Sh'Clark" which contains (in case you are interested) chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, M&Ms, a single Skittle (!?), halves of Reese's Pieces (?), and root beer .... ok, as if on cue, this very second (6:30am) my daughter walked into the room holding up a yellow piece of paper for me to see. Me: "What's that, honey?" Sahra: "The Big Sh'Clark" Me: [can't stop laughing]. Here are photos from dinner.

And ... puzzle! Super easy - must be some kind of holiday exception going on here, because I can't believe this was intended as a Friday puzzle. It took me only a few seconds longer than Tuesday's puzzle did, and the whole thing felt very, very Thursday. Almost quintessentially Thursday. No matter - it's an enjoyable little puzzle with the nice patriotic bonus of a twice-repeated "U.S.A." (the start, middle, and end of a patriotic cheer).

Theme answers:

  • 20A: 1916 work by 28-Across ("America First") - scary title; sounds like an anti-immigrant group
  • 48A: Title subject of a 28-Across work (Stars and Stripes)
  • 55A: Sobriquet for 28-Across (The March King) - it's the 4th of July and you go with ... "sobriquet?" Bastille Day is only 10 days away; you could have waited.

Not a lot of tough stuff today. Sister and family are going to show up here any minute and make writing impossible, so:

Kwik list:

  • 1A: Designer known for his "American look" (Ellis) - as in Perry. I think the first cologne I ever bought was Perry Ellis. I now cannot stand the smell of cologne or perfume, in general. Hurts my nose, and thus my head, and thus my soul. Maybe the tiniest whiff is OK. Most people who wear it bathe in it.
  • 16A: "Three Places in New England" composer (Ives) - I like him. I'm going to put him on right ... now ("Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano")
  • 35A: When doubled, a book by Gauguin (Noa) - whoa ... that was a shocker. I had NON, at first, as in "NON, NON, zat is not how you paint ze naked ladees."
  • 54A: N.R.C predecessor (A.E.C.) - needed all the crosses, largely because I confused the N.R.C. with the A.N.C.
  • 61A: Items for Rambos (uzis) - so there are multiple Rambos now?
  • 64A: Ames Research Center org. (NASA) - I did not know this. Is this in Iowa? Nope. CA.
  • 67A: Anita who sang "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" (O'Day) - lotsa people have sung this. I like Dinah Washington's version. But this one's not bad either:



  • 68A: Where Hercules slew the lion (Nemea) - that's why it's called the Nemean Lion.
  • 3D: It is "resistless in battle," wrote Sophocles (Love) - interesting answer
  • 4D: Spring river breakup (ice run) - one of those seasonal, regional things that I never knew about growing up in CA.
  • 6D: Barbara Kingsolver's "_____ America" ("Otra") - I had "VIVA!"
  • 11D: "Die Meistersinger" heroine (Eva) - no idea; this answer and NOA and HARLAN (30D: Supreme Court justice Stone) were the only unknowns to me today.
  • 32D: Beamed intensely (lased) - yes, that is intense. I wanted RAYED. Well, I didn't "want" it, but I thought it was the answer.
  • 38D: Fraternal patriotic org. (SAR) - I somehow neglected the "fraternal" part of this clue and so had DAR for a while. You almost Never see the SAR.
  • 46D: Opposite of legato: Abbr. (stac.) - hmmm. Kind of icky. Maybe not ICKIER (51D: More gross) than TSKS (55D: Clucking sounds), but icky nonetheless.
  • 58D: "Garfield" waitress (Irma) - it slightly sickens me that that the crossword can go this deep into "Garfield" for an answer.
  • 41D: Poetica opening (ars) - not sure I like ARS and "opening" so close to each other.
  • 50D: Put back on display, in a way (rehang) - OK, now that's icky.
  • 21D: Sammy the lyricist (Cahn) - he's good, but I prefer Sammy the Seal

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

57 comments:

Parshutr 8:13 AM  

Only one teensy quibble: Defeat = WORST?
Not even being in the game is worse than defeat.
That said, enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of our nation's birthday!

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

This was not a Friday puzzle; more like a Monday as I aced it which
I never do on Fri. Agree with
parshutr. Worst doesn't make it
for defeat.
Happy 4th!
RHea

joho 8:32 AM  

When you win you "best" someone, not worst them. I totally agree with the two who beat me to this comment.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

I'm with parshutr: If you defeat someone, don't you actually "BEST" them?

PhillySolver 8:36 AM  

Will have brats and wurst tonight. If I get the worst of a conflict I could also consider it a defeat. Not the smoothest definition, but it worked for me. I agree this was a fine but easy puzzle giving me more time on the holiday for family. Off to Lansing for a week. Happy Fourth and Stars and Stripes forever.

jannieb 8:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jannieb 8:39 AM  

Didi I miss the whole "Damn" weekend? Are we back to Monday already??? I certainly worsted this puzzle. I think we're in some sort of xword twilight zone this week. Maybe Will's on vacation. Tomorrow's puzzle will no doubt be written by interns. Enough already!

Peter S. 9:00 AM  

Ditto to all above. A level of easy that actually took a lot of the fun out of it.

Here's another problem. The apparent Americana sub-theme in the clues and answers (ELLIS, IVES, USA x 3, "hot dogs and beans," Harlan STONE, SAR) seemed just too scattershot -- like the creator wanted a super-USA-themed puzzle, then sort of gave up, taking 'em where he could get 'em. It just fizzled out.

I actually wondered if "NOT US!" was part of the sub-theme. Sounds like a motto for the current administration: "We do not torture."

"NOT US" also fit with that first main-theme answer: AMERICA FIRST. A decent enough Sousa march, but with a title (via Woodrow Wilson) that came to be forever associated with American isolationism -- especially with the rise of the "America First Committee" in the late '30s and early '40s, resisting US entry into WWII.

chefbea1 9:17 AM  

I am finally back. Thank you all for your kind expressions of sympathy.
Went four days without doing a puzzle. Did yesterdays but had no time to come here.
I agree - very easy patriotic puzzle
Happy 4th to all

P.S. I assume you all saw the beet recipe in the new york times magazine section

imsdave1 9:17 AM  

Maybe this is why we got the tough early week puzzles. This was super easy, but a nice 4th of July salute. Enjoyed the bonus American composer (I'm listening to IVES' second symphony as I type). No Times in central CT today, so I finally broke down and subscribed online. I have reasonable typing skills, but found it very awkward trying to do the puzzle on the computer. Had to print it out to enjoy it.

Just the immediate family today for the BBQ, so a big splurge - filets and lobsters on the grill. Yum.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday all.

hereinfranklin 9:22 AM  

Had kosher instead of Jewish after first pass. After fixing that, all fell into place.

To iamsdave1,
What time is dinner?

Crosscan 9:35 AM  

Happy July 4th to my southern neighbors.

I didn't find this that easy. Must be an american thing.

I also had kosher at first.

I struggled with "INLAID". didn't know HARLAN, SAR or TISCH, so
IN---D just stared at me (or me at it).

Adam 9:36 AM  

I refused to believe worst=defeat, so I put in "wrest" which, though not perfect, is better than worst (I think). That screwed up the west for me...

Adam 9:38 AM  

So basically wrest screwed up the west which screwed up the rest...Hah!

Jeff 9:42 AM  

As others have said, I finished this in no time flat. Even though I finished quickly, I had to Think Really Hard a couple times and it didn't "feel" easy. I had fun with this one.

When I saw the 3 USAs in the NE (USA, soUSA, sUSAn), I thought the puzzle was going to be full of 'em and went off looking for more. Turned out to be a wild USA hunt as there were just 2 more literal USAs. Too bad, that would have been a fun little sub-theme (USAge, bUSAn, haUSA, caUSAl, pUSAn, USAble, etc.). That's probably a lot harder to construct than I imagine.

Happy 4th everyone. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!!

Orange 10:12 AM  

The dictionary refutes the first three commenters:

tr.v., worst·ed, worst·ing, worsts.
To gain the advantage over; defeat.

Did you really think that Underwood and Shortz would just be wrong?

Also, if you defeat the Big Sh'Clark stuffed animal, you end up with worsted wool.

alanrichard 10:25 AM  

Worst and Jewish Deli, okay so its wurst - so what - literary license. I agree with everyone that this was a very easy puzzle. All these theme puzzles are a piece of cake. Once you get JP Sousa, The March King & America First its really a gimmmie. The triple USA took any challenge out of the corners.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Roget's II: The New Thesaurus
Main Entry: defeat
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: To win a victory over, as in battle or a competition.
Synonyms: beat, best, conquer, master, overcome, prevail against, rout, subdue, subjugate, surmount, triumph over, vanquish
Idioms: carry, get, get, go someone one better



That was one I could get, but there were a bunch I couldn't Happy fourth

ArtLvr 10:42 AM  

Interesting that this puzzle is by John Underwood of NYC and today's puzzle in the Albany paper (via Tribune Media Services) is also by him! The latter is slightly more challenging, with four 15-letter theme phrases for July 4, but our NYT is cute too. Hard to imagine fresh ones next year!

Harlan Stone, before Rex's time, is worth a Salute today -- I barely recalled the name but father was a lawyer who was concerned with Supreme Court workings. In a nutshell, Stone served as Justice of the Supreme Court for a total of 20 years, the only one to rise from most junior in 1925 through his tenure to most senior when FDR made him Chief Justice in 1941, and he held that position for his last six years until his death in 1946, age 73.

Although a Republican, during the 1930's Stone was known as one of the "Three Musketeers", with Cardoza and Brandeis, who were considered the liberal minority, supportive of New Deal programs such as the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. The hostility of the reactionary majority led FDR to a highly controversial but futile attempt to increase the number of Justices, so he could appoint several new ones more in tune with the times.

Stone was also the only Justice to have died during an open session of the Court, suffering a fatal stroke in 1946 while delivering a dissent which related to the revocation of a religious discrimination law. By today's standards he would be rated as a middle-of-the-road jurist, not actually among the more liberal...

∑;)

jae 10:50 AM  

Nice 4th puzzle but very easy. Got JPS with zero crosses. My A to Z Crossword Dictionary has worst among the words under defeat. Enjoy the holiday!

Joon 10:54 AM  

that's a new definition of WORST for me. that means you could use WORST and BEST as clues for each other. how deliciously evil.

i didn't think the theme was scattershot. the three USAs were symmetrically placed. the only things that were semi-random were the clues that referenced america in some way, but those weren't really theme answers. just fill with interesting clues.

a friend of mine worked at NASA ames for a summer. i believe his dad still works there.

i actually found this puzzle very tuesday-level, and tuesday's puzzle is still my slowest for the week. so overall the week went monday, wednesday, tuesday, tuesday, tuesday. is it the 4th of july, or groundhog day?

Norm 10:58 AM  

If you are defeated, you have been worsted. Not commonly used in the active voice perhaps, but valid. Lovely puzzle. Brought back memories of watching the Marine Corps band at the parade ground with my dad. Rest in peace, Colonel.

Bill from NJ 11:00 AM  

My grandfather had a lot of 78s of John Phillip Sousa and when we visited him every 4th of July, he dusted them off and we listened to The March King all day long so I knew quite a bit about this defendant going in.

Recently, I had to replace my turntable in order to play these dinosaurs and found a really nice one at a thrift shop.

I know it would be a lot easier to burn CDs of these old records but there is something about the tinny sound of an old record that reminds me of The Good Old Days and my grandfather.

I guess because the 4th falls on a Firday, this is why we don't have a typical Friday puzzle although I had some trouble in the NW as I had BLASS at 1A which was confirmed by LOOM SHRIMP as crossings. Holes in my education prevented me from getting ID so my error presisted for a while. I had no such hole involving 19th century French painters so I got both Gauguin clues.

All in all, I enjoyed this puzzle because of the memories invoked.

Happy Fourth everyone! And welcome back Chefbea

jeff in chicago 11:11 AM  

As someone who is usually CRUSHED by the Friday and Saturday puzzles, I have nothing but love for this one. I will truthfully tell people I did it with zero Googles while judisciously failing to mention its ease.

Enjoy the Fourth, everyone.

jls 11:22 AM  

>...you could use WORST and BEST as clues for each other. how deliciously evil.

exactly. and in today's case, but for the number of letters required for the correct fill..., a classic example of misdirection.

solved this terrific tribute puzzle last night not long after being at a combined ny phil/u.s. military academy band concert -- so for me it was the veritable icing on the cake.

friday shmiday -- happy 4th!! there's always next week after all --

;-)

janie

dk 11:42 AM  

Rex, The best WORST thing you can do with your guest SHRIMPS is to teach them to hang spoons from their noses. It is best done in a restaurant, the swanker the better.

My trick is to rub the spoon on my t-shirt before afixing it to my nose. I am famous for walking over to the sommelier and asking for another bottle of the white Margux avec spoon.

ps. It is a real GOOF if you wipe a dirty spoon on your shirt.

For me LASED was the WORST and ENCRYPT was very ASTUTE.

@Chefbea1, welcome back. Today it is pulled pork, cole slaw with fresh pinapple that has been grilled and corn on the cob (also grilled). The wine pairing is Champagne (brut), the game croquet.

Happy 4th

Leon 11:53 AM  

Happy Fourth to all!

Nice puzzle Mr. Underwood.

I eventually got 3 down but I started with GOFER for 17 across ( I knew it was wrong but I liked it.)

I'm sure there is a translation that says "resistless in battle" for the Sophocles quote. I'm not complaining, I get the drift. I'm just curious. My search for one was futile. The quote is from Antigone. The closest was:

CHORUS
(Str.)
"Love resistless in fight, all yield at a glance of thine eye, Love who pillowed all night on a maiden's cheek dost lie, Over the upland holds. Shall mortals not yield to thee?"( F. Storr translation)

Other translations:

Eros, undefeated in battle

Eros - unconquered in battle:

Love!
You are beyond wars, beyond any place you fall!

Love, never conquered in battle

Love, unquelled in battle

mac 12:06 PM  

Quickest Friday puzzle ever, but I liked it! Have been cooking since
9 and am just about to peel the SHRIMP and put them in their marinade. Cold pea/mint soup, served in tiny glasses is chilling, pulled pork is slowly cooking, lamb patties are formed, tzatziki, chimichurri and German
potato salad are made, and the apricots are ready to be baked.
I'm setting a table inside, don't think the weather will hold.....
Oops, have to do the white bean salad still! Husband just came home with crabmeat, avocados and red white and blue flowers!

filmrobe 12:27 PM  

I'm a Newbee who has really enjoyed this site. Always come here to see if my sense of the degree if difficulty measures up with Rex's. Almost always does. Great sight and great choice of musical oldies!

While Deli's may be referred to as Kosher-style, the "Jewish" ones can usually be distinguished by the emanating odor of garlicky salami, mouth-watering pastrami and Gulden's mustard, all commingling as you pass by the door.

Opus2 12:28 PM  

Personal best time for a Friday. Even for a Canadian like me, this was easy. I thought three identical answers (USA) was not "de rigeur" but given the occasion, it's all good.

I read legato and missed the preceding "Opposite of", so I started with SOST(enuto) instead of STAC. And I filled in KLEIN instead of ELLIS, so I was off to a bad start.

Never heard of IVES; was totally stumped by Sport UTE (I get it now), but still recovered for a PB time.

Happy Indy day, neighbours.

Opus2

crackup 12:47 PM  

I actually thought this whole week has been easy; for all the xword puzzles I do. Thought the xword gods were being kind due to today being my bday.

imsdave1 12:48 PM  

@opus2 - Charles Ives was the first significant American composer of classical music. See the Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Ives

I'll figure out how to paste as a link someday.

Search out his music, as it is remarkably unique.

Ulrich 12:49 PM  

Easy, yes. But as someone else has said, the theme day happens to be a Friday this year. So, we have to live with it.

I found the somewhat jarring ring of "America first" offset by the fact that USA was not first, but LAST in the top rows, then in the middle, and when it was first, it was in the LAST rows.

One year, we travelled across country roads on a trip west, which included stretches where every radio station was a C&W station, a fact made bearable by the fact that that year, Martina McBride's "Independence Day" was a huge hit and we could sing along all day. Ever since, it's the tune we play on the Fourth.

Jim in Chicago 1:04 PM  

Agree with all the above.

I noted that we have ELLIS in the top left and GRADS in the bottom right. A connection with the fact that many Americans are GRADuates of ELLIS island? Probably a stretch.

Charles Ives is a fairly well-know american composer. One of his infamous pieces is Variations on America (too bad that didn't make it into the puzzle.) Legend is he despised the song, and the variations get wilder and wilder as the piece goes on. At one point two competing bands come into the picture, sort of like what you experience at a parade. All great fun.

fergus 1:35 PM  

I'll disagree with Rex about this being very Thursday. There's nothing enigmatic about it; no gimmick, and nothing ungrammatical. So, Tuesday or Wednesday, certainly, but why Thursday?

My mistake was pasta-related, choosing FUSILI instead of ROTINI, and thinking that because it's Friday NYU was too obvious in Greenwich Village.

Well, Jesse Helms gets to join Thomas Jefferson in dying on the 4th of July. Much as I might wish to editorialize, but won't, it would make an interesting study to compare their views on patriotism.

I miss the Sousa-filled parades from my youth in the midwest. The parades seem to focus on different topics in liberal Californian enclaves ...

rafe127 1:39 PM  

Did anyone else notice the "REX" sardines in the Tom & Jerry cartoon ?
:)

linda 1:41 PM  

I just wanted to say thank you for the song video. The best part was when he was tweaking the dog's lip. Made my day, regardless of the puzzle content.

Joseph 1:56 PM  

I thought it was a rule not to have the same answer twice in a puzzle, and here we have USA three times. That left me thinking, "It can't be," and doubting all of the crosses.

But agreed, easy for a Friday. Maybe this puzzle was left over from a year when the 4th fell on a Thursday.

alanrichard 3:20 PM  

I just got back from my afternoon swim, (3000 yards), and I figured I'd check to see if there was any interesting comments about todays puzzle. I hope tomorrows is more of a challenge because i felt as if this week was ground hog day and Monday kept reappearing.

"Semper Fidelis" 3:21 PM  

34 Extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of frailty and weakness won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle , routing alien hosts.
Hebrews 11

Shamik 3:31 PM  

Happy 4th everyone! Nice to have an easy puzzle on a Friday.

Nothing like experiencing Independence Day in a small town with (count 'em) FOUR days of activities including the 70th annual production of the Meeker Massacre Pagent, aka "Twilight of the UTE Empire" (yup, Utes...and I don't mean those in "My Cousin Vinny").

http://www.meekercolorado.com/HSociety.htm

And the parade features tractors, pack horses and lots of candy throwing to the kids. Family next to me had 8 children with all 4 girls in the same red/white/blue dress and all 4 boys in red/white/blue shorts outfits.

All was followed by bbqs, pie sales, music, kids' activities on the courthouse lawn. Ya had to be there.

See you tonight after the rodeo and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert for the fireworks!

Hey...I grew up in Stamford, CT...this is such a different life out here.

joho 3:54 PM  

Is it just me or does anybody else just tolerate the early weekday puzzles waiting in anticipation for the really tough ones on Friday and Saturday? Maybe "tolerate" is too strong a word, but easy just isn't that fun for me. This puzzle was patriotic and perfect for today (And I think the USA on Sousa was the hint) but it's still not the challenge it should have been.

Orange 4:04 PM  

Fergus, many Thursday NYTs are just themed puzzles without gimmicks. Now, I thought this one seemed like a Wednesday because I spent less time on it than it usually takes me to do a Thursday puzzle, but perhaps it lined up at Thursday level for Rex. Either way, it wasn't very Fridayish.

MargaretR 4:23 PM  

no, it's not just you, joho. I like the Thurs - Sat puzzles more. Today, though, I zipped through like everyone else but ended up with Defeat = WORDT, failing to notice "fraternal" in the clue for SAR. Dumb ol' Margaret is doing the puzzle today!

MargaretR 4:27 PM  

I've just read the blog and see that Rex had DAR too. I now feel much smarter!

NYTAnonimo 4:34 PM  

Enjoyed today's puzzle, though it was not a Friday level. Also enjoyed your story and pictures about your daughter and nephews Rex. They might enjoy these puzzles. Hope everyone is having a great 4th.

Dick Swart 4:43 PM  

Great kid shots at dinner, Rex! All families should have lots of cousins.

Re: Ives. Places in New England v. appropriate for the 4th. But Ives Variations on America the Beautiful as recorded by E Power Biggs comes to mind first for the 4th. which leads to ...

The Stars and Stripes Forever: Must have been in the 80's. Leonard Slatkin musical director for the MN Orchestra summer series in Minneapolis arranged for 5 Steinway grands to be on stage. Looked like a marina!

Five pianists (including Slatkin) played the Horowitz arrangement figured out somehow for 10 hands or maybe just every man for himself!

Audience went wild! No encore - stage a scene of completely exhausted piano players.

Happy 4th!

miriam b 5:19 PM  

Rex, your description of Sahra and Miles going into gales of hilarity reminded me of a photo I have somewhere. In it, my cousin has evidently said something so funny that I've been rendered helpless with laughter. He's laughing too, almost as hard. I guess we're about 10.

I have another male first cousin my age who's always been a tad creepy. There were also two female first cousins, one older and one younger. It's true that one can never have enough cousins. Six of my grandchildren have seven first cousins. Two of them have nine.

Oh yeah, the puzzle: Predictable enough, but OK. I don't think we should get our knickers in a twist today over 3xUSA.

Doc John 7:13 PM  

I also found it easy and also was a little taken aback at the repetition of the USA fill.

@ Rex: STAC may indeed be icky but I do see that abbreviation all the time in music.

Happy 4th everyone! Today happens to be my anniversary (not my wedding, obviously, but the day that Howard and I met.)

Off to shower and see fireworks on the bay from a friend's boat.

Doug 7:28 PM  

Happy 4th!
from up here
in the north.

I thought it was going to be an easy Friday, but some "gimmees" turned out wrong: TOMMY as in Hilfiger instead of ELLIS. I thought, come on, the guy puts red, white and blue into every piece he designs....

Had WINAT instead of WORST (and all the crosses still fit, because the ODINTO, HANLAN and AAR all seemed plausible. FUSILI for ROTINI. ICEJAM for ICERUN because I somehow skipped the UMA gimmee.

Took me a good 30 mins to finish it I think, which is great because I usually don't finish Fridays!

chefbea1 9:13 PM  

@slamik - where in stamford did you grow up. We love it here

@dick swart - wasn't leonard slatkin the director of the st. louis symphony orchestra?

miriam b 10:42 PM  

@doug: Happy 4th to you too. I also thought of Tommy Hilfiger.

@doc john: I would rather see it written STACC. It just seems like a more valid abbreviation for an Italian word in which the two C's are sort of conjoined. I'm not a musician, just a music lover, so I speak from ignorance and a touch of pedantry.

mac 10:53 PM  

Would you guys please remind me next year that I could accept an invitation instead of cooking for 2days....? I'm exhausted but happy because my friends and family loved their 12-course 4th of July dinner. I have to say the food was great, and even though there was a lot of it, it was pretty light!
Plenty of leftovers, so no cooking for the next few days, thank Goodness!
@shamik: you are very funny! Where are you living now?
Hope you all had a wonderful 4th!

embien 2:58 PM  

6weekslater:
Here in Syndicationland it's 8/8/08, which as you know is the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

It couldn't possibly be planned, could it? No, has to be a serendipitous accident:
USA! USA! USA!

(I can just imagine the puzzlement of all those syndication solvers who don't notice the 0704 date of the original. "This is a Friday puzzle????" they'd be saying.)

Waxy in Montreal 5:22 PM  

Good observation, embien -

Also, wrt the Olympics, the puzzle also contains SUIT UP, DAISES, MITT & NET.

Jet City Gambler 5:33 PM  

I was puzzled at this as soon as I saw it, it certainly didn't look like a Friday grid. Jumping into it, I realized that it was a special 4th of July puzzle, hence the presence of a theme and easier difficulty.

The one thing I didn't like was "American" in the 1-Across clue and "America" in the 20-Across answer. ELLIS could have been clued with Ellis Island and still maintained the USA theme ...

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