Classic German camera / MON 7-4-11 / Type who's always causing trouble / Publicly gay / Cowell formerly of American Idol / CBS forensic drama

Monday, July 4, 2011

Constructor: Paul Johnson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: (Non-) Motion Pictures — movie studio logos, clued as the given studio's "picture?"

Word of the Day: Leonard COHEN (46D: Songwriter Leonard) —

Leonard Norman Cohen, CC, GOQ (born 21 September 1934) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships. Famously reclusive, having once spent several years in a Zen Buddhist monastery, and possessing a persona frequently associated with mystique, he is extremely well regarded by critics for his literary accomplishments, for the richness of his lyrics, and for producing an output of work of high artistic quality over a five-decade career. (wikipedia)

• • •

I'm mostly on a strict Unplugged Sunday regimen these days. This is designed to give me a day off from the damned Internet. But I have a few minutes and I need to do the Monday write-up, so here I am. If I don't get sucked into the Facebook / Twitter / email / Google reader vortex, then I won't feel too bad about violating my self-imposed Sabbath.

The puzzle: a real winner. A cute idea that is completely consistent and original and playful and yet still solidly Monday-level. Grid tends to lead toward drinkers (MARTINIS, CHASER) and Democrats (OBAMA, CARTERS), but there's lots here for everyone to love. I like the inclusion of FLICK in this puzzle (21A: Movie, informally); you could've upped the movie ante by cluing the symmetrical answer, MULTI-, as [Prefix with plex] as opposed to 47A: Prefix with task or grain, but "plex" doesn't stand alone very well and anyway I'm mostly kidding. Personally, I'd have gone with ACURA over MEGAN instead of ACUTE over METAL in the SE corner—gets rid of both abbreviations (ETA, REL) down there. But this is a very minor detail. All in all, I'm very impressed with this 76-word gem. Mondays are easy to solve, but hard to construct (good ones, anyway).

Theme answers:
  • 17A: 20th Century Fox picture? (SEARCHLIGHT)
  • 11D: TriStar picture? (FLYING HORSE)
  • 36A: Universal picture? (GLOBE)
  • 25D: MGM picture? (ROARING LION)
  • 51A: Columbia picture? (TORCH BEARER) — "THAT HOT LADY" fits as well.
I don't have much else to say today. Hope you enjoy your 4th of July. I'll be doing a whole lot of nothing (if everything goes according to plan).

  • 28A: Type who's always causing trouble (BAD EGG) — clue should've added [archaically], as I don't hear this phrase used much anymore, except perhaps facetiously, by someone ironically using olde-timey speech.
  • 12D: Classic German camera (LEICA) — Don't think I could've told you it was German. It's an important brand to know for solving crosswords.
  • 42D: Publicly gay (OUT) — Great, contemporary clue for OUT. Also great clue for FLAMING (though that's more "ostentatiously" or "flamboyantly" than just "publicly." Wait, FLAMING's not a slur, is it? I mean, it isn't among people I know—more just a descriptor. Anyway, I'm pro-FLAMING, is what I'm saying. In case that was unclear.

One reminder: Lollapuzzoola 4, the funnest crossword tournament of all, is coming up on Aug. 6 in New York City. I'll be there, as will lots of other folks whose names you might recognize. Registration information here.

One announcement: Crossword goddess Liz Gorski has a new, independent crossword-constructing endeavor, and a brand new website to go with it: it's called Crossword Nation. You could do worse. She's smart and funny and one of the best constructors on the planet. (She'll also be at Lollapuzzoola 4—yet another reason to go)

See you tomorrow,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:16 AM  

Yes, fresh theme, nice execution, great write up, a day off tomorrow-- life is good!

Happy independence Day everyone! I will pause and celebrate freedom tomorrow, and think about my friends and relatives elsewhere in the world who are not quite as lucky.

PurpleGuy 12:28 AM  

An easy, breezy Monday. Started in NW corner and just kept going, with no pauses or bumps.

@Rex, your writeup is enjoyable, even if short. I'm in the OUT gay drinkers group of this puzzle. Laughed that MARTINIS were over OUT. As I said, I am and that is my favorite libation !

Don't quite get your reference to FLAMING. It's not in the puzzle, and no, it's not a slur or derogatory. I think I would have like to be called FLAMING. Wait, I think I was in my youth. Never mind.

Have a safe 4th all !!!
Agree with @foodie's comment about freedom. Will do the same(with a martini of course! LOL)

Shanti -

Tobias Duncan 1:06 AM  

Loved the super fresh clues, fast and smooth with very little crosswordese, took a sec half way through to see if it was an ACME, not sure why.
Just got in from a pre 4th party. We made potluck BLTs from scratch. My buddy cured 35 pounds of bacon, another friend grew tomatoes and lettuce, and I baked 25 loaves of the NYT no-knead bread and whipped up a couple quarts of mayo( one chipotle and the other had chicken schmaltz). Went over big, homemade bacon is to die for.

santafefran 1:11 AM  

Kind of hoping for a 4th of July theme but this one was great and likely my fastest-ever Monday.

After a few MARTINIS, this puzzle SET FREE the FLYING HORSE AND THE ROARING LION. Be careful OUT there.
It also conjured sounds of Hallelujah (COHEN) and the Velvet Fog (TORME.

FLAMING is too close to home to get my vote.

Thanks, Rex, for your wit and dedication and to all of you blog contributors for everything from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Happy 4th, all!

Rube 1:13 AM  

Smooth, quick solve with the only slowdowns at SIMON Cowell and Leonard COHEN. Strangely enough, I immediately knew all of the theme logos -- I guess the marketing guys at those film companies are doing their jobs.

Personally, I don't think that "Flaming" is something I would want to be called... gay or not. It sounds too "over the top"... perhaps ala Lady Gaga. Just ignore me. Happy 4th.

santafefran 1:15 AM  

Tobias--think I will drive up through the smoke tomorrow for leftovers! Sounds yummy.

anais carters martinis 2:41 AM  

you're prescient!

Surprised everyone thinks this is so easy! Smooth, yes, but I needed every cross to get the theme answers even tho I'm a huge cinephile! I did not remember one of the logos till after I filled in each. If you don't go to films, this will be a toughie, I think.

Have to say tho that I love the parallelism of a FLYING HORSE and a ROARING LION...balanced the other direction with a SEARCHLIGHT and a TORCHBEARER...
with the GLOBE plopped perfectly in the center.

I say bravo bravo bravo for construction...and I'd bet dollars to donuts (pesos to popcorn?) that the original clue for MULTI- was film-related!

fwiw, I too will be at Lollapuzzoola this year, my first!

acme 2:45 AM  

ps in addition to Independence Day, July 4th is the fabulous Patrick Blindauer's bday! He will be joining forces with Brian Cimmet to bring you Lollapuzzoola 4.

Clark 3:28 AM  

Returning to the blog after time spent dealing with a death in the family. Nice to find everyone is still here. Put me down as liking this puzzle -- smooth Monday. Happy 4th everyone.

dk 7:11 AM  

Nice one. I even knew the TV reference.

Went to my first auction yesterday. I now own a lamp with a moose for the base.

Welcome home @clark.

*** (3 twinkly things)

Off to smuggle fireworks into MN... I wonder if there is closed sign at the border.

imsdave 7:24 AM  

Amazingly smooth for a puzzle with 12 names in it (15 if you change the clues for OPS, BEE, and MARTINIS).

Porkfest at my brothers this afternoon - have a great holiday all (I know I will - pork - mmmm).

Glimmerglass 7:26 AM  

One of the better Monday puzzles, but still Monday-easy. Didn't fill up much of my holiday. You'd think on a holiday, when people have more time for it, that the NYT would publish a Saturday-level or a Sunday-length puzzle (with or without a holiday theme). Just a suggestion.

k2p2 7:54 AM  

I liked this puzzle but wish that for the 4th there had been a patriotic theme. I love when holidays and puzzles collide:)

@tobias wish I had been at the BLT fest. My son has been begging me to try smoking bacon ever since he say it done on "Good Eats". I'm still working up my nerve.

Happy 4th everyone!

exaudio 8:18 AM  

Anyone else have GLOB instead of BLOB which led to GADFLY instead of BADEGG? It was almost working for a while, but ended up harshing my Monday smoothness.

Otherwise, a great Monday specimen.

evil doug 8:38 AM  

"42D: Publicly gay (OUT) — Great, contemporary clue for OUT. Also great clue for FLAMING (though that's more 'ostentatiously' or 'flamboyantly' than just 'publicly.' Wait, FLAMING's not a slur, is it?"

It's not if you don't intend it to be. If anybody chooses to take it that way, it's their problem.

37A: Re "Bolo", from

"Operation Bolo was a brilliantly planned and executed MiG sweep led by one of the greatest fighter pilots in history, Robin Olds. The key to its success was deception. The Wolf Pack Phantoms went north that day using F-105 call signs to lure enemy MIGs up to play. When the MiGs arrived at the Merge that day, they were in for a rude awakening when they found Phantoms with a justice load out of sparrows and sidewinders. They expected to see Thuds loaded with bombs, but instead found themselves quickly turning into flaming metal, hair, teeth, and eyeballs. After all, MIGs were born to die!"

And how 'bout that for some great imagery on this special birthday? Highly recommend "Fighter Pilot", Robin Olds' autobiography written with his daughter, if you want to learn more about an American hero worthy of remembering this day.


Victor in Rochester 8:57 AM  

Leonard Cohen's most famous and most beautiful and meaningful song, "Hallelujah" has been covered by a very large number of diverse singers, including opera star Renee Fleming who did it as an encore here in Rochester. There are many different versions of Cohen doing it on YouTube. Try this one:

quilter1 9:01 AM  

Good puzzle, fun solve.
Happy Fourth All!

chefbea 9:12 AM  

I too was hoping for 4th themed puzzle but this was fine.

And speaking of martinis...was at a restaurnt last night sitting at the bar and the bartender pointed out a brand of vodka that was new to him (and me too) it was Effin. I'll have an Effin martini please.

RMS 9:17 AM  

Great puzzle--or at least I think so because I got my second fastest time ever!

@Victor in Rochester--Loved Cohen doing "Hallelujah"--but picking a most beautiful, most famous, or most meaningful Cohen song is a fool's errand--like picking the best Beatles tune. What about "Hey, That's No Way to Say Good-bye"? Or try this wonderful version of "Suzanne."

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

One minor nit - Fox Searchlight releases films, including "The Tree of Life." Having that as the first answer had me thinking the other studio-related answers would be divisions of studios, not simply logos. Otherwise, enjoyed it.

imsdave 9:36 AM  

@santafefran and chefbea - If you're REALLY desparate for a holiday themed puzzle, here's one. Lot's of crossword no-nos:

A Little Trivia

joho 10:02 AM  

A big congratulations to Paul Johnson for creating such a smoooooth, original Monday puzzle!

When I got the theme I thought, wow, that's never been done before!
And, it's really interesting in that the answers create such iconic visuals. Talk about in the in the language, these images are in all our heads!

I thought of @M & A with the 5 "U's" ... and there are 5 "Y's," too.

Happy 4th of July to all!

jackj 10:14 AM  

Solid Monday puzzle but solid is "solid"; exciting is something else.

In my neck of the woods, "flaming" has no attachment to "gay"; it always precedes "idiot".

dk@7:11AM- Hope your moose is not life-size!

Sparky 10:45 AM  

Happy 4th to Everyone. Enjoyed this. Once I caught it was logos I just flew along. Like @acme, amazing how these are imprinted. After the horse looked for the lion and, sure enough, there he was. 39A DUE BY a bit creaky. TORME an old favorite of mine.

@Anon 9:33. The searchlight has been used by 20th Century Fox since the 1940s at least. I'll look for that puzzle @imsdave.

Enjoy your day away, Rex. You deserve it far from the nattering crowd. Well, I'll natter off myself now. Ta ta.

Sfingi 11:03 AM  

My mom's B'day today - 92.

@Purple guy - tried to look at your symbol up close - I think it's Disney's Alice in the garden - but your blogger description has your picture instead.

@SantafeFran - LA has a 4th themed puzzle.

@Rex - I'm a senior and use BAD EGG not facetiously. But, my ilk is going fast.

CoffeeLvr 11:09 AM  

If you want a patriotic theme, you can also do the LAT today.

Glad to see you back here, @Clark.

Another hand up for a fresh, fresh idea for a theme, well-executed at a Monday level.

Agree with @Sparky that DUE BY is creaky, at my library I scan my own material out and get one slip of paper for the whole stack. I assume the same is true most places. As a retired person, I find the library a great value for my tax dollars.

A lot of people go to the movies on holidays, so a tenuous link. I am probably going with my S-I-L and niece. Gotta run.

PurpleGuy 11:18 AM  

@Sfingi - Happy Birthday to your mom. Yes the picture is Disney's Alice(purple pansies), but it should have changed it to my blogger profile picture.
Oh well, somewhere down the road it will change !

Happy Independence Day!

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

@sparky - I knew about the searchlight logo, with the searchlights sometimes moving about - my point (small as it is) was just that Fox Searchlight releases "pictures" under its own name, and is thus different than all the other theme clues/answers - FLYING HORSE is not the name of a studio or distribution company, e.g.

retired_chemist 11:44 AM  

Hand up for looking for a patriotic theme until its absence became obvious. Hand up also for liking it anyway.

FLEW through the acrosses, expecting to be in the 4 minute range and my fastest Monday ever. It was not to be. Several typos and one error (59A SEX instead of SSN) took me more than 2.5 minutes to fix, so my time was a lousy (for Monday) 6:51. Puzzle - easy. Me - not so hot today.

Could not get the theme images without crosses, but with just a few letters in place they were all in my wheelhouse. Fun.

Thanks, Mr. Johnson.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:00 PM  

Very nice puzzle.

Like santafefran et al, I do hope for a holiday-themed puzz on a major holiday.

Thanks, imsdave. I printed out your puzz but won't have time to tackle it today.

Stan 12:09 PM  

A snappy puzzle -- no YAWNS here.

Happy Fourth, all, and congrats to Paul on the debut.

jberg 12:33 PM  

Hey, what's more American than movies? I was satisfied with that.

Is TriStar the result of a merger? Never heard of them, but the flying horse logo sounds familiar.

Like #exaudio, I wanted gLOBA/gADfly; in fact, I was admiring the way globs crossed GLOBE at the center of the puzzle. LEG made it pretty impossible, though (tho a drumstick is really only half a leg). Fun puzzle.

chefwen 12:48 PM  

@Clark - Welcome home, we missed you. My sympathy for your loss.

We have arrived (finally) in the UP of Michigan and are enjoying the holiday with my MIL and my 42D BIL, the sister I always wanted. Clark, I will toast you with a Pasty.

Loved the puzzle, thought it was super smooth with a fresh theme. Not one write over, pretty happy about that too.

Lady Liberty 1:06 PM  

Does no one here recognize me as a TORCHBEARER? And that the one truly national fireworks display goes on over my head today?

Bob Kerfuffle 1:27 PM  

@Lady Liberty - Yes, you are a TORCHBEARER, but for the sake of the children we should keep clear the distinction between you and the Columbia Pictures icon.

To quote Wikipedia: "In early American history, two female figures were frequently used as cultural symbols of the nation. One, Columbia, was seen as an embodiment of the United States in the manner that Britannia was identified with the United Kingdom and Marianne came to represent France. Columbia had supplanted the earlier figure of an Indian princess, which had come to be regarded as uncivilized and derogatory toward Americans. The other significant female icon in American culture was a representation of Liberty, derived from Libertas, the goddess of freedom widely worshipped in ancient Rome, especially among emancipated slaves. A Liberty figure adorned most American coins of the time, and representations of Liberty appeared in popular and civic art, including Thomas Crawford's Statue of Freedom (1863) atop the dome of the United States Capitol Building."

KarenSampsonHudson 1:35 PM  

Happy 4th, everyone! Rex, I admire you for your self-imposed Internet Sabbath...would do likewise but our children are scattered world-wide now and we love email, Facebook, and Skype or Oovoo!
Snazzy puzzle today, just a bit more challenging than Monday's av.

foodie 2:32 PM  

Don't remember seeing YOGURT in the puzzle before. I always want to spell it YOGHURT with an H. We'd see it a lot more if we had adopted the French pronunciation, Yaourt, which I think may be closer to the Turkish. These warm days remind me of a Yogurt cold drink I had as a kid, similar to Kefir in taste.

@Chefwen, are you going to pass by Southern Michigan? Let me know if you are, may be we can meet! I hope it's as lovely up there as it is down here...

chefwen 2:45 PM  

@foodie - Is is beautiful up here, picture perfect!

It sure would be fun to meet up, unfortunately we are going south but it's through Wisc. not Mich. to check up on Dear Old Dad before the loooong trek home to the prettiest rock on the planet, KAUAI.

CoolPapaD 3:58 PM  

Great puzzle, great write-up, as usual.

Why are Monday puzzles hard to construct??

This is one of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs

Don't know why I never discovered him until I was well past 40.

JenCT 4:50 PM  

@Tobias: I make one of those loaves per week; how did you ever make 25??? Love that recipe, and those BLTs sound great...

@Clark: condolences.

Surprised that @Rex liked this so much; I was expecting him to say it was way too easy - go figure...

@chefbea: Effin martini, LOL.

Blew through this puzzle in record time; must've been right on Paul Johnson's wavelength.

Happy 4th.

mac 4:58 PM  

What a lovely puzzle! I needed lots of crosses, but it all worked out.

@Foodie: I had a problem with yoghurt, too. Did some boards for a market research company spelling it that way....

@Tobias: That sounds like the world's best BLT.

Speaking about food, of course, our BIL in Castricum, the Netherlands, prepared a 4th of July BBQ for us. Spectacular menu:

Home-smoked mackerel and salmon trout
Marinated chicken
Two different kinds of spiced beef sliders
Soy marinated pork belly

Of course plenty of vegetable and salad side dishes, including my favorite sauteed tiny new potatoes.

Not a hotdog or hamburger in sight.

mac 5:01 PM  

PS Love Leonard Cohen. My father printed out every word he published, on music or not. He asked me to explain some of the texts. It was impossible. We still loved it!

chefbea 5:01 PM  

@mac yummmm boy does all that food sound great

sanfranman59 5:02 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)

Mon 5:51, 6:52, 0.85, 5%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:19, 3:40, 0.91, 12%, Easy

Happy 4th fellow Rex-ites! The big question of the day here in SF is what it always is on this holiday. Will the fog roll in before the fireworks go up? This is my 15th Independence Day here and I would guess that the fog has won that race at least 10 times. I don't even want to think about how many thousands of our tax dollars have been wasted on the fireworks display over the years.

Anonymous 5:25 PM  

Right on, Rex. And this is Mr. Johnson's first so congrats to him!

JenCT 5:26 PM  

Just FYI: If you're into fireworks, National Geographic Channel has an amazing show called "Secret World of Fireworks" - it explains all about the different types and how they're made. Highly recommended - I think it'll be on again July 7th.

I had no idea just how much hands-on work goes into making fireworks!

retired_chemist 5:58 PM  

@ SanFranMan59 - I recall the saying in February at Cal was that a day was the coldest day since last July. True every year....

captcha gariest - most resembling a French train station.....

quilter1 6:35 PM  

To me the Columbia torchbearer looks like she has to pee really really badly and no bathroom in sight.

Effin martini, teehee.

Those BLT's, my favorite sandwich, sound awesome. Is that bread recipe online?

retired_chemist 8:25 PM  

Effen vodka is for real. I thought chefbea was joking...

chefbea 8:33 PM  

@retired_chemist I would never joke with you or any of the rexites!!!

JenCT 8:35 PM  

@quilter1: Here's the recipe: No Knead


retired_chemist 8:48 PM  

@ chefbea - no offense meant.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Haven't been doing these puzzles for long but this was my fastest time ever and really easy, even for a Monday. It was smooth (no write-overs) and fresh and FUN.

@RMS - I remember listening to those Leonard Cohen songs over and over again and I still love them today. A wonderful version of "Hallelujah" is sung by kd lang - yet another Canadian icon. Yay CANADA!

Dirigonzo 7:10 PM  

Here in syndicationland the Fourth of July is just a distant memory so the lack of a holiday theme in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this puzzle. I really liked the theme answers although I was a little disturbed by how readily they came to mind, considering I am not what you would call a cinephile. Brainwashing (or marketing, I guess) is such a subtle art.

57a: "Speechify" - Who does that remind me of?

Anonymous 9:57 PM  

61 Across "Heavy" music Genre. Metal no one does it better than Metallica.


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