Electrical Impulse/SUN 7-1-12/Yevtushenko's Babi/Literary critic/New World monkey

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hello and Happy Canada Day to those of you in the same crossword time zone. I am not Rex Parker. He has left summer and gone to a far off land for the next few weeks. Fear not, this blog has not missed a day since December 28, 2006 and the snide remarks insightful commentary will continue.

Who am I? Well, I am definitely NOT the 31st Greatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe! Not even close. I am the 29thGreatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe! My name is Jeffrey, and Rex has allowed me back as long as I promise not to repeat my previous performance. Sure Rex, whatever you say (snicker). It's all about Canada today!

First, an announcement. Due to rising costs incurred in maintaining this site, effective July 9, 2012 there will be a daily 2¢ viewing fee. However, to reward our regular readership, this fee will be waived for one year for everyone who leaves a non-Anonymous comment today.  [Hello: this is Rex. Really Rex. The preceding comment about a "viewing fee" was a joke. I repeat, a joke. (I'm writing this from Dulles only because of all the confused / freaked out email I'm getting). There is no charge to view the site. There will never be a charge to view the site. It will always be free and there will never be ads. Thank you.]
Ok, now let me open the handy “Dummies Guide to Blogging on Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle” and we’ll get started.

Step 1 – Name the constructor.
Constructor: Dan Schoenholz

Step 2 – Assign relative difficulty (which does not refer to your in-laws.) Expect complaints from those who don’t get the "Relative to the Same Day of the Week" thing.
Relative difficulty: Pretty easy if you are the 29th Greatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe! Pretty hard if you had to Google and found this site.

Step 3 – Insert answer grid. If you can’t solve it yourself, go to Crossword Fiend who always solves it before you. Leave a random square coloured red to ensure someone will ask about it.

Step 4 - Theme: Describe theme in ten words or less. One of those words must be “wacky”. If you can’t figure out the theme, check the day. Friday and Saturday don’t have themes. So insert “themeless” instead. If it is another day and you still can’t figure out the theme, use the word “fail” somewhere in your post.
THEME: "Yankee Doodle Dandies". Wacky Canadians who were born on July 1st.  Wacky Americans who were born on the fourth of July. Well, this is awkward.

Step 5 – Pick a random weird answer as the “Word of the Day” and crib stuff out of Wikipedia.
Word of the Day: MOTONEURON  (113A: Electrical impulse conductor in the body) — MOTONEURON is how you spell motor neuron when you only need a ten letter answer.

• • •

Step 6 – Start rambling, with vague references to the puzzle. Insert rant about pangrams and quad-stacks here. Soften this with cute story about daughter and dogs. Slip in humorous snide remark that too many will take seriously and rant about in the comments, leading to flame wars and general mayhem. Insert videos that don't directly tie into the puzzle, confusing literalists.
First some breaking news. Rex is attempting to get to the airport in Washington DC to fly to parts unknown but a huge storm caused by the Supreme Court and Tom Cruise is getting in his way. Fortunately his daughter and dogs are acting cute. He is currently somewhere in Pennsylvania. I typed the place in my GPS and it laughed.

This puzzle is a hated pangram, if you messed up your solution and put in a Q, X and Z. (That's a zed, people!) It is also a quad-stack if you stick letters in some of the black squares.  It is also a list of some people who were BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY! My wife was born on the third of July, explaining her absence from the puzzle. Oh boy. Wait here, I've got to buy a card.

Ok, I'm back.

Step 7 - List the theme answers as if you understood them. Point out flaws in the theme. Constructors love that.
Theme answers:
  • 28A. [President who was 65-Across (1872)] - CALVIN COOLIDGE. That would be exactly 46 years after Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died.
  • 39A. [Presidential daughter who was 65-Across (1998)] - MALIA OBAMA
  • 45A. [Novelist who was 65-Across (1804)] - NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
  • 83A. [Team owner who was 65-Across (1930)] - GEORGE STEINBRENNER.  He owned oxen. I learned what team meant in crosswords.
  • 95A. [Columnist who was 65-Across (1918)] - ANN LANDERS. Somewhere, her twin sister Dear Abby is really pissed for not being in the puzzle.
  • 107A. [Literary critic who was 65-Across (1905)] - LIONEL TRILLING. We've run out of famous people already.
  • 65A. [See 28-, 39-, 45-, 83-, 95- and 107-Across] - BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
So to recap, this puzzle about July 4 is running on July 1 in the New York Times, July 6 in the Vancouver Sun and July 7 in other papers. Why? What is so special about July 4? And the theme is awfully loose. This must be hundreds of people who have a birthday sometime this year.

Step 8 – Enter a phrase like “This Thursday feels like a Tuesday”. Be sure this contradicts the relative rating. You want to mess with people’s heads. Remember – you are smarter than they are (but NEVER say that!)
I found this Sunday incredibly hard and it really felt like a Monday to me.

Step 9 – Use bullets to talk about the fill. (Fill is a fancy-shmancy term for words.) Be sure to mention a classic English book that you have never read. Refer admirably to “The Simpsons” twice a week. Point out lousy fill and bad crossings. Editors love that. If you go really over the top with an all out "how did this ever get published" screed, Will (Yes it is really me) Shortz might comment. 

  • 20A. [Player of the younger Cunningham on "Happy Days"] - MORAN. Erin played Chuck. aaaayyyyyyy!!!!
  • 22A. ["Yes, I'm a Witch" singer, 1992] - ONO.
  • 23A. [___ Bay, 1898 battle site] - MANILA. So was MALIA named after the 100th anniversary of this battle?
  • 33A. [Capital of Denmark?] - DEE. "D" is the capital letter in Denmark. Yes, clues can be like that.
  •  74A. ["This is dedicated to the ___ love"] - ONE I
  • 89A. [Have ___ one's words] - TO EAT. Congratulations, TOEAT! You are the 140th best answer in this puzzle! Woo! Who died and let you into this puzzle? Did anyone edit this thing? How did it ever get published?! Will, step away from the table tennis table and start looking at this stuff you are running!
  • 112A. [When sung five times, an Abba hit] - I DO
  • 117A. [D.C. player] - NAT. Apologies to TOEAT. This is #140. We do not acknowledge the existance of a NAT! Anytime NAT is mentioned, a storm appears above Washington.
  • 6D. [Pinch-hits (for)] - STANDS IN. What does this mean? How does one stand in for one? I don't understand the concept.
  • 7D. [Former financing inits.] - GMAC. They are now called ALLY but they still suck money out of your bank account every month to pay for your Cruze.
  • 18D. [Impersonated] - POSED AS. Again not understanding the concept. Why would someone pose as someone else?
  • 51D. [One of the Estevez brothers] - RAMON. Also dad Martin Sheen's real name.
  • 64D. [Magic lamp figure] - DJINN. A word that is made up to psych you out after you put genie. Could be from Shakespeare, but I never read her. 
  • 68D. [Den ___, Nederland] - HAAG. I live in Saanich so I can't hate on AA names.
  • 81D. [Mint products] - CENTS. Not Certs but coin-making mints.
  • 85D. ["I'll send an ___ to the world" (Police lyric)] - SOS. There is a rule against referring to two ABBA songs in the same puzzle so we go the lyric route.
  • 97D. [West of Nashville] - DOTTIE. I think she played Batgirl. Adam West has made several appearances on the awesome Simpsons.
  • 108D. [Anarchist Goldman] - EMMA. Is that an occupation you put on your passport?
Step 10 – Grudgingly admit that the puzzle isn’t that bad after all.

This puzzle wasn't so bad after all.
Ok, I’m done. A diverse, ragtag group follows. Please be kind to them, whether this is their first post or 9,000th.
Hey, did you know that I blog about the Los Angeles Times crossword every Sunday at Diary of a Crossword Fiend? Go do that puzzle and join me there.
Step 11 - Sign fake name and publish.

Signed, Jeffrey, Governor General of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:41 AM  

Love you Amy, especially because you are from Chicago. The puzzle was OK but you are better here than there. The puzzle was lacking Springteen and was really a tribute to Tom Cruise who starred in Born on The Fourth of July. So much for Katie Holmes and James Cagney....


r.alphbunker 12:41 AM  

The revealer was one of the first answers I wrote in. When it fit I knew it was right.

Will wait for jackj to reveal other times when this theme has appeared.

'Merican 12:43 AM  

Rex got a friggin 'Nuck to comment on the 4th of July puzzle? What's the matter, couldn't he find a Frog among his readers, or an out and out commie? At least the Frogs helped us out while you 'Nucks were kowtowing to your English overlords!

retired_chemist 12:54 AM  

Hilarious writeup, Jeffrey! The puzzle is clearly second fiddle to it.

Not a lot impressed me - nothing made me mad. Except -

A thermometer measures TEMPERATURE, not HEAT. Heat is an extensive quantity, temperature an intensive quantity. There is more heat in a gallon of water at 50 C than in a teaspoon of water at 50 C. (Try pouring first one then the other over some part of your anatomy if you don't believe me). But the thermometer (which measures temperature, remember) will read the same if inserted into either. (Either water sample, I mean - not the water or the part of your anatomy). But enough thermodynamics.

Kind of fun trivia for "Born on the Fourth of July," which gets you into The Boss, George M. Cohan,and Ron Kovic (alphabetical order, not necessarily order of importance).

Guessed OTTO IV for 13D, knowing there was one OTTO early on and figuring that there would surely have been a couple more in all those centuries. That left MALVA OBAMA for 39A, which I could. not. shake. Changing that V to the correct I was my last letter. Finally figured out why it was so hard to get it right: I was stuck on MULVA from the Junior Mint episode of Seinfeld. Apologies to our CIC and his daughter.

Bird 1:00 AM  

Wow, one of the best write-ups ever!

The puzzle wasn't too bad either. I wasn't thinking about Independence Day during the solve so the reveal took longer than it should have. I got it at 83A - as a Yankee fan, I know The Boss's birthday.

Some obscure clue/fill made for a tough solve - 8D (what?), 9D (really?), 107A (Lionel who?).

Good night and good luck.

Esteemed Governor General - Please notice that I am leaving a non-Anonymous comment.

retired_chemist 1:02 AM  

Actually, don't pour any d**n water over yourself. I do not want to get sued.

Bird 1:04 AM  

@Retired Chemist - I had the same thoughts on thermometer. HEAT is just wrong.

Tobias Duncan 1:11 AM  

Ok that was a very fun write up.

jae 1:41 AM  

I'm on my feet applauding.  My only nit is that Chuck was the older brother.

So, as Jeffery cogently observed,  an easy solid unremarkable but not to bad July 4th week puzzle.  No real problems except SW was a little tricky...EMMA, MOTONEURON, TRILLING, DOTTIE, ONEIDAS...    Also had SEEth before SEEST.   Not much else to say.

Tita 2:47 AM  

Hilarious write up! Worth every moment of insomnia that led me back to the puzzle, then here in the wee hours.

Puzzle was only meh...didn't like that it was totally random people - thought it would be "serving your country" kind of deserving folks...not obscures and not people who ruined baseball for me.

My MeTaNEURON and pileup of proper names in the SW caused this early morning DNF, but my spirit soars after coming here.

I go now to TRY to be ASLEEP.

Thanks so much, General Jeffrey.

chefwen 3:02 AM  

I'm in the liked it column. Slow out of the gate but picked up major momentum once the reveal was unveiled. Globe trotting semi puzzle partner has found his way home and helped me greatly by getting 28A and 45A. Like others have said the SW was my bug-a-bear, LIONEL TRILLING??? Don't recall too much from the early 1900's. Had sign off for 89D, obviously that was not going anywhere fast. Never heard of DOTTIE west, was looking for a town or city, nice misdirection.

Good one Dan Schoenholz, thanks. Your last name is really fun to say.

Mike 3:46 AM  

I liked it for the most part. Did you know "Born on Independence Day" also fits? :) took a while to give up and find "Born on the Fourth of July".

syndy 3:52 AM  

BLAME CANADA!!always! some pretty iffy cluing-the afore mention thermommeters also SWATS is more a casual backhand;isn't it?TRILLING somebody crossing EMMA somebody!DETRAIN is that similar to defenestrate? ARMLET??and some cool stuff CLUMP ,OTTO THE BETA! was SEABISCUET the BAY somebody bet on ?JET saved my bacon in that little armpit. and my fav DJINN.

Ellen in Amsterdam 5:03 AM  

Ok I'll bite. Was this puzzle a pangram or not? What is a pangram anway?

Thanks, Gov, for the excellent description of how to Out-Rex Rex.

Ellen in Amsterdam (the one in the Netherlands)

Oh dear, have I done this twice?

Jim Walker 7:21 AM  

Great write up. Typical dull holiday puzzle. Have a great vacation Rex.

paulsfo 7:23 AM  

Why is NAIVE "Sucker-like"? Conceivably related to sucker ("unweaned domestic animal") or a sucker who's gullible, but in either case I thought this was a very lame way to clue it. So is there some other meaning where this clue doesn't suck?

In general, I was struck by how uniformly unimaginative the clues were; requiring (at least for the answers I knew, which were most of them) *zero* thought before filling in the answer. Boring, boring, boring.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

Very funny write up. Made my day!

Glimmerglass 7:35 AM  

I once took the train from Toronto on Canada Day (missed the parade and the fireworks, if any) to Vancouver, arriving on the 4th of July. Then we flew to Juneau, only to find that the fireworks had been just after midnight the previous night because they get so little dark there that time of year. Easy puzzle. Good write-up. Welcome, Governor. (Take the 2¢ out of my comment fees.)

orangeblossomspecial 7:45 AM  

An impressive array of folks born on the 4th.

Here's a cute song about politics and 28A Calvin Coolidge. The joke's at the end. "It goes like this".

During the Depression, 4D prices decreased. This song describes the effect of lower prices: "Now's the time to fall in love".

Anonymous 7:47 AM  


I really don't understand why I need to make a "non-" comment anonymously, or how you can tell who I am so that the 2¢ fee will be waived (is that really the symbol for the Canadian dollar?).

Today I learned that the once-popular belief that Louis Armstrong was born on the fourth of July has been _debunked,_ much to Lionel Trilling's relief.

nameincludedtoavoidthetax 8:26 AM  

canada day? that's rich...

Newbie 8:50 AM  

Great send up of Rex. Guess he must have a sense of humor after all if he let you in here.

Got the theme quickly, but still managed to get hung up on a few things. Didn't know Emma Goldman and had Erma, and never heard of No Load (96D). Also, Gnat for Punkie? Lost me, I'm afraid. DNF

Howard B 9:02 AM  

Happy Canada Day to those celebrating, and a great writeup.

Thanks to Jeffrey for posting that Stompin' Tom Connors video. Now I indirectly have his "I Wanna Drive the Zamboni" stuck in my head (which they used to play between periods at NJ Devils games).
This may mentally help to ease the heat wave here.

That's about all I have to comment about today. Stay cool and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

jberg 9:04 AM  

Drat! I dawdled around after solving, and @Retired_chemist has already said everything I was going to say (about temperature and Otto IV). So I am left to a) note how fiendish it was of the Obamas to have 2 daughters with names of the same length and sharing two As; and b) rally to the defense of Lionel Trilling. C'mon, early 1900? I was born later than that, in 1943, and Trilling was a prominent intellectual figure when I was going to college in the 1960s.

Oh yeah, maybe I can be the first to complain about SERA, too. There, I've done it.

Anyway, great writeup! And thanks for not gloating about our health care system.

Hulawitch 9:06 AM  

Ok puzzle. Always nice to have a holiday tie in.

Hulawitch 9:07 AM  

Ok puzzle. Always nice to have a holiday tie in.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Liked the puzzle, Loved, loved, loved the write-up!

Susie 9:27 AM  

Hard puzzle. Great write-up.

Peter 9:29 AM  

Motoneuron is not a term physicians use. I know because I have been one for 36 years [a physician, not a motoneuron]. It's motor neuron.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Still don t get Malia as 65

jackj 9:32 AM  

This puzzle was certainly more fun than watching re-runs of C-Span broadcasts of 1998 House Administration Committee on Government Oversight hearings, (though I do accept that others might prefer the hearings).

34 three letter words and another 34 four letter words guarantee a high level of crosswordese in a 21X21 puzzle and from TAM to EAP and ERA to LIE, this one provides a heavy dose of it.

The theme, noting famous folks BORNONTHEFOURTHOFJULY is mildly interesting, though I suspect one could pick any day of the year for a similar list and it would be equally interesting.

Still and all, digging a little deeper in the 4th of July birthday list there were some good names left out like GINA LOLLABRIGIDA, LEONA HEMSLEY, RUBE GOLDBERG, and of course, ANN LANDERS identical twin, ABIGAIL VAN BUREN.

(There’s also a Monday puzzle waiting in the wings as a spin-off of today’s puzzle, using as its theme, U. S. Presidents who died on July 4---JOHN ADAMS, THOMAS JEFFERSON and JAMES MONROE).

Worst Entry in today’s puzzle, a tie between ARMLETS and ENROOTS; Best Entry in today’s puzzle, another tie between ADMINISTER and MANICOTTI; Congeniality Award for Saving the Constructor’s Bacon, DJINN.

These 21X21’s must be a bear to do, so props to Dan for putting in the effort and with practice making for a better product, I’ll look forward to his next one.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

I check you once a week. It would be worth 2 cents but I like free

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Deborah...Thank you Rex for helping me complete the Sunday puzzle. Couldn't do it without you!!

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Most annoying clues of the day: A "swat" is a powerful blow?
A mint produces "coins," not "cents."
As previous poster said, a thermometer measures "temp," which may or may not include "heat."

Maybe I'm just grumpy because Rex is gone. No offense, General J, but I miss him.

Joanie 9:46 AM  

Hey...I love being able to check my puzzles with you. I am no great solver but not bad for a "normal" person!

Z 9:50 AM  

I'm a Zee, not a Zed, unless I want to STAND-In for myself. And what's with all the Juno Award winners in the video's? Although BNL are honorary Detroiters, so I guess that's an okay video to include.

Les JEUx Sont Fait finally bailed me out of that little 2x3 section at 55A. I was stuck on Black raT/Pack raT. My only other delay was putting ONEI at 73A instead of 74A. Oh, wanting Calvin Trillin to be older and have a G in his name didn't help either.

I nominate OTTO II for 140th best clue. You can only beat an OTTO plus a RRN by having OLAF/V RRN or LEO RRN. If someone comes up with a way to have ONO RRN, I guess they would win.

jackj 9:52 AM  

Brilliant write-up from The Sage of Saanich!

Thanks, Jeffrey.

Joe The Juggler 9:59 AM  

After I had the revealer, for some reason I had Will Rogers rather than Ann Landers pretty early. Once I cleared that up, it went well enough.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

You incrementally increase my knowledge of the Sunday crossword. I am amazed, sometimes, of the thngs that you don't know. This site is not worth paying for

baja 10:01 AM  

great write up! thanks for the Canada shout out!

joho 10:18 AM  

I would have liked this better if it had been celebrating Canada Day with the theme answers being famous Canadian comedians ... perhaps with Jeffrey's name included!

I agree with @Tita that the theme answers should have been tied together somehow like all being past presidents or all being famous generals ... the fact that they all share the same birthday needs another layer to give it more of a bang.

Loved the clue "Long way to go?" for LIMO.

Nerts to CENTS, should have been CErTS!

Fantastic write up, Jeffery, now start working on your Canada Day puzzle for next year!

Beadola 10:26 AM  

I need to put in my 2¢ to save my 2¢. ☺ The write up made me laugh so hard I cried and still people exist who are taking things seriously...oh my.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

For some reason I had (somebody) Eisenhower for Steinbrenner! If the clue included "oxen" I'd have gotten it right away! The puzzle was a "meh" ... your blog was fab! Thanks. (Rex who?)
JC Gal

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Hilarious write-up!!
Definitely worth 2 CERTS, oops- CENTS...

chefbea 10:45 AM  

Great write-up Jeffrey. Had me LOL

Fun easy puzzle but do not understand Djinn or eta for seventh chapter. Eta is the 7th letter of Greek alphabet but what does that have to do with chapter?

Hand up for certs and loved the manicotti clue.

Record set here in Wilmington yesterday 103 degrees!!!

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Great post. After 3 years of freeloading it spurred me to finally make a donation to the site. Score one for Team Canada.

Deb Amlen 10:53 AM  

"Due to rising costs incurred in maintaining this site, effective July 9, 2012 there will be a daily 2¢ viewing fee. However, to reward our regular readership, this fee will be waived for one year for everyone who leaves a non-Anonymous comment today."

I have an even better idea. Why not offer them a 50% discount on the 2 cents per day fee, and then put an ad on this site reminding them that what they used to get for free they are now being charged for, but at only half the intended rate?

Oh god, somebody please help me ...

JC66 10:54 AM  

Great write-up!

chefbea 10:58 AM  

@Deb lol

Norm 11:01 AM  

Fun puzzle; funnier write up.

Pat 11:02 AM  

Easy rainy-day puzzle (Texas).............enjoyed the write up.

I too opted for "certs".........great minds and all!

JC66 11:05 AM  

And your use of orange.

Lindsay 11:06 AM  

Great write up.

Off to google DJINN and HODADS.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Can't stand the idea about paying but can't be without Rex!

notsofast 11:20 AM  

Hey 6 down! You're cool. I liked the puzzle, too.

thursdaysd 11:33 AM  

The write-up was definitely worth 2c more than the puzzle!

I got the reveal early, after which it was just random people. I had real trouble in Canada - MORAN, HODADS and ARMLET??? I've heard of ARM of the sea and inLET but not ARMLET, it just doesn't sound right. And I'm another who doesn't get GNAT.

Wishing I was IN Canada (I just was, should have stayed) - we're breaking the wrong records in NC, 105 last two days, likely again today.

AnnieD 11:36 AM  

Terrific write up!

Reasonable Sunday puzz.

Babs 11:40 AM  

Fun puzzle and perfect for lazy sunday of july 4th week. glad tom cruise not there but wish leona helmsley and rube goldberg were.... Rex, have fun wherever you are!

JaxInL.A. 11:43 AM  

Sorry about the soggy post... Here, let me wipe off that tea that got snorted all over the iPad.

For an accountant, you are one funny guy, Jeffrey. Actually, you are funny even for a non-accountant. And everyone else's posts are funnier than usual, too, whatever their professions.

My husband, who actually lived in Canada (yes, it's a real place), pointed out that The Guess Who is a Canadian band, which gave a whole new meaning for me to the lyrics of "American Woman."

I live in Los Angeles,which is not a real place, but we should have great fireworks in about 4 days.

Oh, and I liked the puzzle., except the SW where I died completely, unable to believe that the critic could NOT be Calvin Trillin(g).

Carola 11:47 AM  

Jeffrey, you are a riot! I liked the puzzle just fine, but your analysis is the real treat of the morning. However - please reconsider your stance on NAT, as it is my son's name.

For a while I had the surfer wannabes as HODAgS, thinking of the (locally) legendary beast that HAUNTs the forests around Rhinelander, WI.

DNF, as my French-harboring brain cells were still ASLEEP and so I had JoU crossing DoER Valley.


George Steinbrenner 11:48 AM  

George Herman Ruth was known as the Sultan of Swat because of all those powerful blows that sent the ball over the outfield wall.

Sultan of Swat 11:48 AM  


Definition of SWAT
1: a powerful or crushing blow
2: a long hit in baseball; especially : home run

Tovah M. Wax, Ph. D. 11:49 AM  

Hi; posting "non-anonymous" comment here today....

Jkrzmarzick 11:53 AM  

Great intro. Did not notice Rex was gone.

chefbea 11:53 AM  

@thurdaysd - where in NC? or did I ask you that before? Sometimes I forget

edwords 11:57 AM  

Maybe it's because I'm an advertising writer, but I'm pretty sure "Good night and good luck" is not a tag line. It's a sign off (which fits), a signature, even a catch phrase, but I think a tag line refers specifically to an advertising or marketing usage. When you think about the number of perfectly adequate and equally well-known phrases that actually ARE tag lines, it's hard to understand why this weird re-direct.

Ann JB from France 11:59 AM  

The write-up is pseudo-Rex. Come on, be yourself at least! Found the puzzle a bit boring once the theme was cracked.

Knowledge of specific Jargon will kill you every time 12:00 PM  

tag line 
1. the last line of a play, story, speech, etc., used to clarify or dramatize a point.
2. a phrase or catchword that becomes identified or associated with a person, group, product, etc., through repetition: Entertainers often develop tag lines, like Ted Lewis's “Is everybody happy?”
3. Machinery . (on a crane) a cable for steadying a suspended bucket at the rear.

Shamik 12:05 PM  

Verrrrrry funny write-up!!!! Ok Sunday puzzle. Happy to be reminded that it's Canada Day...which I was actually able to stay for local fair and parade in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory last year. Cool and windy enough for a jacket that day. Memories.

JeffE 12:06 PM  

Got the theme right away from the "Team Owner " clue.

Unknown 12:23 PM  

Really enjoyed the commentary!! It was most entertaining... I am off to the LA Times. Happy Canada Day!

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Very clever entry today. After reading regularly (and once or twice posting anonymously) over the years, you got me to sign in. Also clever. Thanks for your contribution to an excellent site.

thursdaysd 12:26 PM  

@chefbea - Containment Area for Relocated Yankees, aka Cary, just outside Raleigh. You're on the coast, right? Any cooler there?

I'm seriously considering relocating to the Pacific Northwest, which I just enjoyed visiting (by train, go Amtrak!), or moving back to Europe....

Masked and Anonymous 12:35 PM  

@29-dude: Stellar write-up. Will start savin' up my pennies. Unless you give waivers for masks.

For some reason, this SunPuz felt more like an early weekday jobber. Not used to having the innards contain the reveal answer. On Sundays, the puz title usually has that assignment. Liked it like this. thUmbsUp.

Cheerio 12:43 PM  

I did not think this was a fun solve but oh well. Why is OMN the answer to "every in an Rx"?

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle.

Carole Shmurak 12:44 PM  

I always thought of Galen as a Roman not a Greek. And "motoneuron" is just bad.

The 2 cents was a joke, right? I only come here on Saturdays and Sundays...

Oh well, coming out of anonymity

Bob Kerfuffle 12:45 PM  

Well, if we are getting credit for commenting today, in honor of Canada Day I will repeat one of my favorite Observations I Once Read Somewhere:

There's not much difference between Canadians and Americans, and the best way to tell them apart is to make that statement in front of a Canadian.

Happy Canada Day!

afrogran 12:46 PM  

Thanks for keeping Rex's chair warm while he takes a well-deserved rest. The SW corner was the last to fall, and it was a little tortuous.
I felt bad for Ann's twin, Abby. Why was she left out? Their famed rivalry continues, even after death!
Happy 4th everyone. Keep puzzlin'

oliar 12:57 PM  

Thought this one was tough...lots of obscure filler and odd reasoning behind the clue constructions. Still nowhere near as bad as the one with Zodiac symbols we were meant to cram into one square to solve, or the sharp/flat/natural musical notations.

Teresa in Detroit 12:58 PM  

What a hoot! Loved the Canada video, too. (Where DID you find it?!!) And a Happy Canada Day to you.

I liked the puzzle -- especially fill like djinn and hodads. But also was concerned for poor Dear Abby who was left out in the cold. Also wanted Calvin Trillin(g)

JenCT 1:04 PM  

Quit before I finished the SW - too much to do today.

The Monarch butterflies are back in my area! Lots of eggs to collect...

Had a malapop with SOS at 112a; erased to put it at 85d.

Tried SHEEN before RAMON.

Loved the laugh-out-loud writeup, and the comments too.

Anonymous Carla Michaels 1:11 PM  

You were always my favorite pithy commenter here, so it's great to have you back! (That's just my 2 cents)

It's super hard to come up with a fresh idea for 4th of July puzzles, so BORNONTHEFOURTHOFJULY being a book and film and song and all saved this quite nicely from just being a "list".

I'd like to add another famous 4ther (not to be confused with " birther"... altho where exactly was MALIA born?!):


Susanna 1:13 PM  

Here's my comment. I need my daily crossword fix and sometimes I cheat using this blog since I'm not the 31st (or 29th) greatest crossword puzzler in the Universe :)

Sue Bottom 1:17 PM  

I love snide

Andrea Pirlo 1:17 PM  

Surprised so many are complaining about Lionel Trilling and so few about "hodads" and "armlet", which I thought were especially contrived/forced.

Like most others, enjoyed the write-up far more than the puzzle. Thanks, Jeffrey.

jeremiah138 1:20 PM  

Loved the commentary by Jeffrey. Now you have my 2 cents!

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

@chefbea: I was also wondering why ETA was a chapter. Figured it had to have something to do with fraternities, which have chapters. But are there any fraternities known simply as the etas? Anyone else know?

Acme 1:32 PM  

A little trivia/story:
Dear Abby used to live down the street from us when I was growing up in Minneapolis. She'd come over as she used to use my dadfor advice on medical questions that would crop up in the column.
She was the nicest woman you could ever meet, totally gracious and down to earth and never let her fame go to her head and helped millions of people with their problems.
But she had this grating Iowa accent and wore tons of makeup and something about her would send our normally placid black lab into barking paroxysms (sp?) when she'd stop by!

She really bonded with my mother, because both were identical twins with reverse names (she was Paulone Esther and Ann Landers was Esther Pauline...my mom is Carol Frances and aunt Fran is Frances Carol!!!)

The other shared coincidence is they both had double weddings! My mom and dad, Fran and my Uncle Lenny on June 21st, and Ann Landers and Dear Abby on...
4th of July !!!!
The columnists were both born and married on the 4th of July!
And I believe they made up before they died...so a little sad to see them in the puzzle today "separated by birth"!

psiclist 1:39 PM  

An ok puzzle. I guess you'll be getting my .02¢ worth everyday. hehe

Amanda 1:48 PM  

Motoneuron. That's a tough one.

Clueless in Texas 1:51 PM  

From the perspective of the fly or mosquito, I would dare say that the SWAT is a powerful if not deadly blow.

Loved the write-up. Especially loved that the write-up came from a Canadian on Canada Day for a "Fourth of July"-themed puzzle printed on the First of July. Serves you right, Mr.Shortz.

Will gladly pay the two cents, which is a lot cheaper than my subscription to the NYTimes!

Campesite 1:53 PM  

My favorite puzzle in the history of the NYT because I was 65 across! Great write-up today, and a bonus new story from ACME!

Bearasgar 1:55 PM  

Putting in my two cents

sandymarigny 2:10 PM  

Liked the puzzle. Loved write-up. Hated motoneuron. Is it even a word?

Noam D. Elkies 2:13 PM  

Is it good or bad when the blog is so much more fun(ny) than the puzzle?

NDE (so I don't have to find out whether I owe two American or Canadian cents)

P.S. is "resoften" a word? No it's not in the grid, but it's (the verbal half of) my CAPTCHA.

Bonnie Buratti and Kai Lam 2:15 PM  

easy but fun

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Jeff/Will/Anonymous "et alia" You are too clever and funny, but maybe a bit evil for duping kind and perhaps clueless folks. Love all NYT puzzles!

paulsfo 2:22 PM  

help needed.

various people have asked for explanations of the clues for the following answers. Can someone please respond? thanks.


Martin 2:39 PM  

I agree: easy puzzle. But your write-up made it all worthwhile! Thank you. On to the L.A. Times!

bettybluestem 2:40 PM  

Thanks for helping me over some crossword humps I'd never figure out on my own!

mac 2:41 PM  

Hillareous writeup of a decent puzzle. Thank you Jeffrey!

My last boxes to be filled were 7 and 8, no idea about hodads and GMAC, but had a Ghana do'h moment.

Odd how swat feels more like a glancing blow when it isn't. Maybe to do with flies?

jae 2:44 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 2:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 2:49 PM  

I just did Frank Longo's Sunday Premier puzzle in my local paper with the exact same theme and an overlap of three theme entries.

Unfortunately Frank left out both Ann and Abby. Thanks for the nice story Andrea

Alice in SF 2:57 PM  

Hodads and armlet did me in and had to check in with Rex Parker. So glad I did because the writeup was so funny while the puzzle was a meh. The Sunday puzzles haven't been great recently. Last week's got so boring that I didn't bother to finish it. Oh, well, some people are never satisfied. PS I'm trying not be a robot but proving i'm not is a severe problem--please make the proof more readable.

Lane 3:28 PM  

Wow. Is Rex back yet?

chefbea 3:29 PM  

@Acme what a great story!!!

@thursdaysd - e-mail me so we can discuss NC etc

Jeffrey 3:33 PM  

Jeffrey here. Thanks for the mostly kind words. Working bottom to top, no joking:

@Alice - I think the proof is a computer thingy; nothing I or Rex can control.
omn - Some Latin abbr. I guess. Prescription speak.
gnat - punkie is a type of gnat. The insect.
naive - if you are naive you are a sucker for evil bloggers passing humour off as truth.
eta - seventh greek letter
djinn - another name for a genie

This site remains free. The 2 cents is a joke.

Yes I really am 29th.
@teresa - I remember the CA-Na-Da from my youth and found it on YouTube

@Deb - I think its too late to help you.

@Ellen - a pangram is a puzzle that features all 26 letters of the alphabet. This isn't one.

@Ann - "The write-up is pseudo-Rex. Come on, be yourself at least!" That one I can't answer.

Lewis 3:38 PM  

Governor Jeffrey, love your 'tude. The puzzle felt old fashioned, but it was a pleasant solve.

Can someone explain the clue for GNAT?

Lewis 3:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Psearsvt 3:39 PM  

Two cents it is.

Not Garry Peterson 3:40 PM  

JaxInL.A. - Burton Cummings, singer/pianist/flute player in The Guess Who, lives in SoCal, I believe.

Had a hard time with the puzzle - bottom half fell pretty quickly, once I figured out the theme - but NW was very tough for me. Lack of knowledge, I reckon.

Great write-up, eh?

Deb 3:48 PM  

@Chefbea, et alia: It's not EtA, but ERA. An ERA is a chapter in history.

@paulsfo: OMN: Pharmacists use Latin when writing out scrips, apparently because they don't want their patients to ubderstand their dosages.

PUNKIE : Another word for. GNAT

DJINN: one (of many) alternate spellings of GENIE

NAIVE: a naive person is likely to be taken advantage of, ergo they are SUCKERs for scoundrels and con men.

@Jeffrey: godammit, did you have to set the bar so freakin' high?

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

"'The write-up is pseudo-Rex. Come on, be yourself at least!'" That one I can't answer. –Jeffrey

Pseudoryx, aka the SAOLA, or Vu Quang ox. New to science in the 1990s.

Wonderfully reverent/irreverent write-up!

Joe in Montreak 3:53 PM  

Great write-up. thanks to all those who wished us canucks happy Canada Day, but today is not Canada Day. By federal law, when July 1 falls on Sunday, Canada Day that year is on July 2. But well wishes are always welcome.

Anne 3:55 PM  

Thank you, Jeffrey (and whoever else you are). I know that was a lot of work and it is much appreciated by me. I'm still laughing. You will be a hard act to follow for the other guest commenters but at least they know exactly what we expect, thanks to your efforts.

Deb 3:57 PM  

Lordy, I type slow on this iPad. I started my post 30 min before Jeffrey supplied the answers!

I did want to add though: @paulsfo: Do you seriously wait for answers to queries such as those to show up here rather than googling it for yourself? I don't understand that sort of patience!

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

Easy peasy since the King Features 'Premier Crossword' in my Sunday paper had the exact same theme...with three of the same theme answers!

billocohoes 4:01 PM  

@Lewis - per Wikipedia, punkie is another name for midge, sandfly, no-see-um, or Ceratopogonidae.

The Albany Times-Union has two Sunday puzzles on the same page, the NYT and the one mentioned by jae (but uncredited, just "Premier Crossword".

Elaine 4:09 PM  

Someone on WordPlay left a note that we should all come over here to read Jeffery's sub blog. With Rex away, it's safe for me to visit, it seems.

We had a lot of the same 'bad science' complaints over yonder at WP. I particularly winced at MOTONEURON.

Hi, Foodie, and Chefwen, RetChem, and all the rest. Miss you!

Michael47bljd 4:11 PM  

Had problems with the north. Does that exempt me from the 2 cents a week?

chefbea 4:12 PM  

@Deb if it is era not eta then 89 A=have to ear one's words?? that doesn't make sense , or am I missing something??

judib 4:26 PM  

great comments!

Deb 5:25 PM  

@chefbea - my bad; I thought you were referring to the other "chapter" clue, crossing ARARAT. I never saw the clue for ETA, but google tells me ETA is the seventh chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity.

Pooloniousmonk 5:28 PM  

This puzzle was meh crunchy. Then it was a slogging grind, until it became breezy easy when I found the reveal and grabbed the theme. Felt like a Wednesday before Fridays became Tuesdays. Nevertheless, I had a DNF until the happy pencil, or whatever that thing is, came out. Then I did 18 other puzzles, with the same theme and figured out the connection between the theme and the upcoming holiday. Felt like a Monday.

Maxwell 5:32 PM  

Wow! Genius write-up! Especially the primer on necessary steps.

Dave Stein 5:45 PM  

Great job! Thanks.

ileen 6:10 PM  

Very funny write up - thanks!

jwalton6 6:11 PM  

Excellent job

Joe in Montreak 6:27 PM  

MontreaL of course, not MontreaK.
Glad the 2 cents is a joke - we Canadians won't have pennies after October.

Sparky 6:48 PM  

Very good Jeffrey. I went to the ACPT site to see who #29 is. And you answer a lot of those niggley questions such as what's with the red square? A good laugh.

"I was an Alpha Delta Pi, one who was pleasing to the eye..." My chapter was Lambda. So @Deb, chefbea, and Anon 1:27, that's how they sort themselves out by college and at conferences. The chapter is not the sorority. P.S. I resigned later, but that's another history.

Enjoyed the puzzle but agree with @Tita, was looking for perhaps a little bit more crunch among the names.

@JenCT. It must be beautiful with the Monarchs among the milkweed.

ksquare 7:01 PM  

M&A12:35 Re. relationship of title to puzzle. George M. Cohan sang "I'm a YANKEE DOODLE DANDY", a Yankee Doodle do or die, a real live nephew of my Uncle Sam, born on the Fourth of July".
Also liked the write-up. Very witty!

paul9393 7:01 PM  

Love your website

paulsfo 7:50 PM  

@deb: I was really only asking about two of them for myself, NAIVE and ETA. For those two the possible answers (of, ie, why this clue for this word) seemed so bad that i was hoping the was a more elegant explanation that i had missed. Apparently not. :(

I asked about the other words on behalf of people who hadn't received a reply, because i was personally too sick this morning (from some short-lived, i hope, bug) to do more typing myself.

chromaxome113 7:51 PM  

Wonderful first post, sir!
Also, if you don't mind my asking, what's with that whole red square? Really annoying, don't ya think?

chefbea 7:56 PM  

just saw 135 comments!!!Is that a record???

Martin 8:06 PM  

Yes, now that Jeffrey has outed himself as Canadian, I was going to object the notion of him blogging a Fourth of July puzzle. But seeing that he actually convinced people that Rex was instituting a 2-cents paywall has made me stop chanting "Fifty-four Forty or Fight." Well played.

Kevin Cunningham 8:49 PM  

Thanks for the most entertaining part of my day.
Awesome writing.

Anonymous 8:55 PM  

Interesting statement by "Red Emma" Goldman - "If I can't dance, I don't want to be a part of your revolution."

kippy 8:56 PM  

Checking in late - was off celebrating Canada Day on a beautiful summer day. Almost worth suffering through 9 months of winter!

Great review - puzzle just OK!

BTW - as of a couple of years ago Burton Cummings (The Guess Who) was regularly playing bingo with my friend's granny in Manitoba.mm

Lawprof 9:24 PM  

Query: JenCT @ 1:04pm-- what do you do with all those monarch butterfly eggs? My guess: really tiny omelets.

Anonymous 9:26 PM  

In Rx language every = q

Deborah 9:27 PM  

I thought it was difficult. My bday is July 5 and I didn't get the born on the 4th theme initially. I hate change but jeffrey, you made rex's vacay less disruptive :)
I hope to waive the 2cent fee. I need this site - I enjoy Crosswords and am king of my family, but notmeven close to the pros.

Anonymous 10:10 PM  

Since @chefbea10:45am's question seems never to have gotten a definitive answer: Fraternities "number" their chapters in order of establishment at the various campuses using the Greek alphabet. So ETA will indeed designate the "seventh chapter".

My solving experience today: "OK, I know 28A is a (probably U.S.) president … fourteen letters … I know from crosses the 2nd, 5th, and 6th letters are A, I, and N respectively … go through the list starting with George Washington … oh, yeah! mArtINvanburen for the win!! I congratulate myself … but wait, 13D looks like it should be one of those pesky Ottonians, so … wait a minute!"

My consolation is that, as I understand it, even when CALVIN COOLIDGE was in office, most people kind of forgot about him.

Tita 10:17 PM  

@Jen - how long will the Monarchs stay? Are they on their way south?

@Acme - thanks for the great story. As for twin names - that is fabulous!

Tita 10:19 PM  

P.S. Is that the realDeb Amlen at 10:53? Bold!

JenCT 10:26 PM  

@Lawprof: very funny!

@Sparky: yes, it's a beautiful sight.

@Tita: they're actually on their way north!

It's very early to be seeing this many Monarchs in my area; it should be a good year: I collected more than 50 eggs today.

Anonymous 10:38 PM  

Best day on this blog!
Great write-up led to great comments- a record number possibly?

Hope to see return of Jeffrey from Canada!!

Masked and Anonymous 11:52 PM  

@29: Awhell, let's go for a round 150 comments on this sucker. I've got just one more word for the likes of you:

@ksquare: Roger that. Guess I'd say that the title was a bit vaguer hint than usual, because the equator row held the major unveil. But, still, a hint is a hint.

@Utility Company: Thanks for turnin' off the power at our house for four hours this pm. Next time remember to turn off the heat outside, too. (Pushing 100) Snort.

Helen Welborn 1:12 AM  

The Supreme Court is gonna have to rule on that 2 cents. It may not be legal.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Thanks for the write up! It made me laugh. Just getting into this puzzle thing and I like that I do not need to take it so seriously.

ileen 1:58 PM  

I always thought the red square was the last box the blogger filled in on his/her solve.

CFXK 9:24 PM  

"One of us (Jenny, not Liz), is still without power as a result of the DERECHO, as are hundreds of thousand of hot and sweaty and miserable people throughout the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan area."

DC here and just got power. First thing I did (after putting on the air conditioning) was the puzzle. Second thing as the blog. Loved your word of the day -- it spoke to me,

nurturing 12:59 AM  

No one noticed that the "ballet slippers" clue was not quite right. Dancers who wear tutus almost never wear ballet slippers at the same time. They wear pointe shoes! (Or, in the old days, toe shoes).

Only children wearing ersatz tutus dancing in their ballet school's year-end recital wear ballet slippers.

(I can't believe how many people fell for the $.02 bit. 153 comments to date! The comments usually hover around 75-100)

Not a Canadian, but have lived in Canada for 40 years. Happy Fourth of July to us Americans!

Gary 3:07 AM  

I thought it was ironic that at virtually the same moment this puzzle was published, containing the answer "hodad", Merriam Webster posted a discussion about some words they've removed from their (printed) dictionary, including hodad. http://www.merriam-webster.com/video/0040-wordcuts.htm

ergo baby carrier 4:48 AM  

When Everly was born,ergo baby carrier sale I wore her exclusively in my moby wrap and it was absolutely perfect for carrying a tiny,ergobaby canada snuggly newborn and keeping her warm during the winter months - but as she’s grown, it has stopped offering the back support I need to haul ergo baby carrier around a 16 + pounder (not to mention all that fabric is HOT in the NC summertime).

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Born on the fourth of July is a lyric in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Born on Independence day is not...

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Re "OMN" for 40 down. In 40+ years of nursing (in the US), I never saw "omn" on an Rx.
But after 4 years of Latin, I'll remind the readers that it's the same root as in "omnipotent, omnivorous, etc., meaning all or every.

Dirigonzo 6:02 PM  

I gad already forgotten Frank Longo's similarly themed Premier Crossword from last week (July 1) so the theme seemed fresh and original again today (July 8). But come to think of it, maybe I had some sub-conscious recollection of it because today I wrote in BORNONTHEFOURTHOFJULY with no crosses. My slipper-wearer at 101a had on a robe before the cute dancer in her TUTU came along. Also had fez at 1d for too long - aparently I confused my tassels with my tufts. My tribute to Canada was having the OttawAS camping out in the ONEIDAS territory.

Great write-up, crazy nuymber of comments. While Rex is away the mice (anony and otherwise) will play, apparently.

Spacecraft 8:37 PM  

When Rex comes back, we should have a duel: Jeffrey vs. Rex. See who can out-curmudgeon the other.

Gotta say the theme is not very challenging, as couched. "[so-and-so] who was 63-across [year]." Duh. Maybe if they ran this puzzle in, say, February...

But it's not half bad. There are a few stinkers (OMN, ENROOTS) but not a lot for a 21x21. My last letter went into square 113. Let's see now, is it ErMA or EMMA? rOTONEURON or MOTONEURON? Both seem actually plausible, but I screwed up my courage and wrote M: success!

Here in Syndiland Roger Federer has just denied Wimbledon a Brit champion...again. Sorry, gents, I was rooting all the way. Better luck next time, Andy!

Anonymous 12:08 AM  

Jeffrey and his wife probably already know that Tom Cruise was actually born on the 3rd of July. Same as my wife. Same year as my wife.

I pretty much rolled right through this until I got to the SW, where I ran out of gas in Yuma. After I got ANN LANDERS off the ERS I held out hope that I might actually finish, but alas, LIONEL TRILLING eluded me, and the lesser known LEONARD TILLING got in there instead and messed everything up. And really, such a bonehead error on my part: everyone knows LEONARD TILLING was born in October.

I'm fairly certain I've seen this theme before. And I'm quite certain Steinbrenner
was one of the answers.

Solving in Seattle 4:02 PM  

I'm adding my 2 cents a day late. The PacNW summer has arrived.

Great writeup, Jeffery. Love the satire.

@JenCT, how many Monarch butterfly eggs does it take to make an omelet?

@Acme, are you really Forrest Gump?

The puzzle: Reveal came quick after singing the lyrics to 'Yankee Doodle Dandy" in my head. Oh, yeah. Writeovers, RESTstop before AREA, siGnoff before TAGLINE.

Happy belated Canada Day to my second favorite country.

alice moffat 9:54 PM  

hey jeffrey, my shout at the prairie inn for bringing a smile to an old broad. thanks, alice from saanichton, now port angeles.

cloud 7:21 AM  

People Born In July

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