Smallest Indian state / THU 7-4-13 / Professor Bobo of Mystery Science Theater 3000 / English king nicknamed Longshanks / Car slangily

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Constructor: Barry Franklin & Sara Kaplan

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: THE FOURTH OF JULY (57A: Date on which 17-, 24- and 36-Across died) — apparently three of the first five PRESIDENTs (49A: See 17-, 24- and 36-Across) died on this date:

  • THOMAS JEFFERSON [One of the first five 49-Acrosses]
  • JOHN ADAMS [One of the first five 49-Acrosses]
  • JAMES MONROE [One of the first five 49-Acrosses]

Word of the Day: GOA (23A: Smallest Indian state) —
Goa [...] India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole. It was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.
Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants and conquered it soon thereafter. Goa is a former Portuguese province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it wasannexed by India in 1961.
Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
• • •

Happy Presidential Death Day, everybody!

I was hoping for something snappy and special on my first day back from vacation, but instead I get about the least exciting holiday puzzle I've ever seen. Painfully straightforward. USA Today-type stuff. Here's a PRESIDENT. Here's another PRESIDENT  Still another PRESIDENT  Today's date. The End. It took two people to make this? Huh. OK. Fill on this one looks positively radiant next to yesterday's crime scene of a puzzle, but it's still not what you'd call "good." NW corner has some color but awkward AOKS and lengthy partial ASTAGE kind of mucks it up. JU-JITSU is of course fantastic  (esp. crossing BOITANO—so athletic, this puzzle). "Jiu-jitsu" appears to be the more common spelling, but JU- is acceptable. But the rest of it just kind of clunks along, although I will say my friends are currently (right now, on FB) raving about the clue at 39A: Professor Bobo of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," e.g. (APE). That seems obscure as heck (I watched "MST3K" for a good while and don't remember Professor Bobo at all—I think I stopped watching after Joel left) but this clue gets some major "Trying To Be Interesting" points. In fact, all such points in this puzzle are earned by this clue alone.

I thought the humorist at 6D: Humorist who wrote "Happiness is having a scratch for every itch" (Ogden NASH) was NAST. Wanted NYQUIL at 1A: Insomnia medicine (AMBIEN). Tried RUS. for ROM. (29D: Neighbor of Ukr.). Had some trouble coming up with NO CATCH because, while it is indeed a [Baseball umpire's call], it's not exactly an everyday one. Forgot BROKAW preceded Gumbel (3D: "Today" show host before Gumbel). As I understand it, flexitarianism (-ism?) is a way of eating, not a time-limited "diet," so I don't like the clue for DIETED much at all (30D: Was on a flexitarian plan, maybe). Toughening up an otherwise easy puzzle were clever clues at 36D: Chain stores? (JEWELERS) and 45A: Pump for a heart, e.g. (ANALOGY). Not often that my graduate studies help me out with a puzzle, but I've actually written an article dealing with The Hammer of the Scots, aka, Longshanks, aka EDWARD I, so that clue was nice (27A: English king nicknamed Longshanks). You may remember him from such movies as "Braveheart" (which is what my article was actually about).

Hoping for something a little more inventive tomorrow. It's good to be back home and at the keyboard again. Thanks to all my substitutes, who did a great job, from what I could tell. I mostly stayed away from the computer as much as possible last week—Family and the gorgeous Oregon coast provided sufficient distraction. Had fantastic view of MT. HOOD (2D: Home to North America's only year-round ski resort) as I flew into Portland and spent most of the week in a big house on the beach with my extended family (parents, siblings, nieces & nephews). Not a ton to do in Bandon, OR, but I'm not much of a "doer" anyway. Mostly slept, read, hung out with my family, and walked the beach for miles and miles and miles. Not a bad life, for a week or so. Currently in a red-eye fog, not having properly slept in something like 48 hours now. A four-hour red-eye flight is a Useless Thing. Gives you a 2.5-, maybe 3-hour window in which to get all your sleep for the night. So under optimal conditions you'll get to sleep maybe three hours. I'm 6'3", didn't have a neck pillow, and flew coach, so ... conditions Not Optimal. But it's a small price to pay for such amazing down time.  Portland just rocketed to the top of our "Places We Might Live Next" list. Minneapolis better step it up...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:08 AM  

Welcome back Rex!  A fine easy July 4th puzzle for me.  Only erasures were, like Rex,  Rus. for ROM. and NO piTCH for CATCH. 

Hard to say anything bad about this one.  Just a smart salute and carry on.

That said, I don't think it's possible to buy a FIFTH anymore in the good old US of A, or at least the great state of California.

And, it would have been nice if NOONAN was clued with that all American classic movie "Caddyshack".

Anonymous 12:10 AM  

It isn't very often that I pay much attention to a theme until after finishing the crossword, but the NE started to go and I saw <<<<<<JEFFERSON. I then threw down every single theme entry. So that's what it feels like to be one of The Smart People. A new Thursday record. (And I just set a new Saturday record (by a lot).)

PRESIDENT being singular really bothered me. I didn't think the theme clues jibed with that entry. It stood out in a distracting way.

I kind of expect Thursday to have the best balance of interesting / difficulty / uniqueness, and this didn't have any of that.

retired_chemist 12:14 AM  

Too easy for a Thursday. No bite to the theme, easily conquered with a few crosses and fifth grade memorize-the-presidents history.

Thought LIRR went to Grand Central but put it in anyway. Penn Sta. it is.

EDWARD I gave me some grief, largely because I was guessing HENRY (II, IV, VI). Do some crosses, d'oh!

AMBIEN went right in. A friend uses it. Causes mental issues while it is in your system - loss of memory, sleepwalking,..... I am not touching it.

ANALOGY - nice tricky clue.

The rest - well, on to Friday.

Pete 12:19 AM  

Monroe was such a Jefferson toady I believe he actually offed himself, just so he could die the same day as Jefferson.

David in Philadelphia 12:26 AM  

Whoa -- pump is not an ANALOGY for heart. The heart is a pump.

jackj 12:26 AM  

The theme of today’s puzzle was fascinating, appropriate and thoroughly and well presented, but so well known as to make the coincidental death dates only an interesting recollection from grade school history teachings.

But, no matter, the fill also represents the classiness that Karma Sartre and Sara have always brought with their joint efforts for the Times and what a way to launch the puzzle with AMBIEN, the controversial sleep medicine, then a nicely clued AFRO, (“Big top?”) and a request to identify the British King nicknamed “Longshanks”, aka EDWARD I.

It was impossible to resist a look up of "Longshanks" which showed that when they opened EDWARD I(s) Westminster Abbey tomb in the late 18th century, this 13th century ruler proved to have had long legs for his time, (all of 6’2”), hence the nickname. (What might the Brits of eight centuries ago have nicknamed Yao Ming?)

A nice clue of the “HARDC type”, (the ones usually clued, say, as “Cactus head”), plays out today with ANALOGY, the clever, sophisticated result of a clue asking for “Pump for a heart, e.g.” and right up there with another good bit of cluing we have “Chain stores?” delivering JEWELERS.

Finally, you’ve gotta love GASRANGE, even though the clue has been used four times, but it’s like a special “knock-knock” joke that isn’t diminished by its retelling. (And just to gently nudge the memory of Ogden NASH, we might recall the likely inspiration for his quote, the Zen saying, “Scratch first, itch later”).

Thanks for a fun solve, Sara and Barry!

Anoa Bob 12:36 AM  

Agree with anon@12:10, PRESIDENTS would work better but it's one letter too much. Could this be a singular of convenience (SOC)?

FOURTH OF JULY would also be the go-to entry as clued, but it's three letters short for that slot, so we get the added THE. No THE PRESIDENT though.

Thought an opportunity was missed at 12D STORMIN. Coulda been clued as "Persian Gulf War leader '___ Norman' Schwartzkopf". Woulda fit in with the 4th of July patriotic puzzle theme.

There was some nice fill. Well, maybe not ASTAGE, but JUJITSU and TUSCANY had some sparkle. Loved the clue for GRILLE "A Bentley has a big one".

Also loved Rex's "It took two people to make this?" That's how you do snark.

Charlene 1:09 AM  

Hold on: since when is the time zone at the Prime Meridian called GST? That's GMT; GST is a Canadian tax.

Ambien Clop MtHoods 1:21 AM  

757 Maybe it took two... Nothing wrong with that!
When you collaborate and it goes well, it's like you are one.
Barry and Sara (Sarry? Bara?) are the Brangelina of crossword world.

Speaking of collaborators, Happy Birthday Patrick Blindauer!

Apparently they had harder, more obscure clues for the who knows!

JUJITSU JEWELERS and CLOP are quite fun. I loved the energy of STORM IN.

@anoa bob
Maybe singular of convenience, but again I say, it's a semi miracle that THEFOURTHOFJULY / THOMASJEFFERSON and JAMESMONROE/PRESIDENT match up and it's the constructors' good fortune and smarts to have noticed it and created this!

For getting an actual 4th of July puzzle ON THEFOURTHOFJULY, I say AOK, YESYES!

Questinia 2:05 AM  

Occasionally we get flat, syndicated news-type puzzles. This was one such occasion.

chefwen 2:21 AM  

I feel a little cheated out of our usual trickster type Thursday puzzle, but it's a holiday, I get it.

AMBIaN before AMBIEN, my sole write-over. I did like the clue for 65A mushes, I always pronounce that as MOOSHES.

syndy 2:48 AM  

DIET:the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group.only temporary is the sense that life is fleeting.No write overs did not need the reveal-this is (or will be) the fouth! Welcome home oh fearless leader!

Eejit 3:33 AM  

Never heard of GST either. Strange puzzle. I thought maybe OER was a shout out to the patriotic too. Guess I'll take a few AMBIENs and hit the hay.

Gareth Bain 4:35 AM  

Welcome back, Rex!

Learned an interesting fact so thank you puzzle! American presidents probably are more interesting to piece together if you aren't American!

GST = Greenwich Sidereal Time. I know. Unfortunately, this blog only seems to have a Retired Chemist and no Retired Astronomer!

Anonymous 5:00 AM  

Welcome back, Rex.

Let's be clear: there is no such thing as GST. It's GMT, and BST in summer.

Anonymous 5:37 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle! Rex's commentary: not so much. The guest bloggers were all so refreshing. I realize now that I didn't miss the regular host's critical and superior tone a bit.

Loren Muse Smith 6:32 AM  

So glad to have you back, Rex! The guest bloggers all did a great job, but I’m glad to have OFL back!! As this site’s self-admitted I Just Can’t Bring Myself To Say Anything Bad About Any Puzzle person (hey – I never lie; I just focus on what I *do* like), I really, really appreciate your honesty and the fact that you shoot from the hip. In fact, I admire all of you who are honest that way, and I wish I could be more like that, but as Olive OYL’s main squeeze says, “I yam what I yam.” (Poor Chef had me taste this ghastly smoked peach sorbet last year, and my pathetic feedback was, simply, “The texture is terrific, and it’s so cold!”)

And Rex, I can’t believe you chose my absolute fave GOA painting. ;-)

Wow. I thought David Sedaris was just being a smart alec, coining the word “flexitarian” in his latest book:

“. . .but the rest of the world isn't like America, where it's become virtually impossible to throw a dinner party. One person doesn't eat meat, while another is lactose intolerant, or can't digest wheat. You have vegetarians who eat fish and others who won't touch it. Then there are vegans, macrobiotics and a new group, flexitarians, who eat meat if not too many people are watching.”

I had no idea it was a real group of eaters. Cool. Whenever our family decides to eat out, we invariably end up at Las Trancas, where we exuberantly inhale at least three bowls of chips and salsa before the drinks arrive. YES YES, we could easily become Mexitarians!

Really interesting to learn that these guys died on the Fourth and that Barry and Sara could finesse a puzzle out of it. I liked it.

Hey, you two – I hereby commission a puzzle commemorating the five presidents who are *not* buried on US soil. (There’s some more US presidential trivia for you, Gareth!)

WesIsland 7:18 AM  

What generally makes my day (puzzlewise) is this very olio of positive commentators found here, matched with Rex's gimlet-eyed observations!

Unknown 7:53 AM  

Fine Tuesday puzzle on Thurs. Glanced over the clues and dropped in all of the theme answers immediately. The rest fell almost as quickly. However, given the theme tied to the holiday today I wouldn't expect many complaints (with one notable rexception).

Was wondering if the theme could have been masked a bit by cluing 57A as something like "End of the line for..."

Bonus presidential theme answers:
FIFTH - Monroe president #
NOONAN - presidential speech writer
BROKAW - presidential debate moderator
NASH - creator of the Dem donkey and the Rep elephant (Thomas though, not Ogden)

Liked the LIRR RIDE crossing.

Happy Fourth all!

dk 8:03 AM  

Finally. Evil Doug has been writing me everyday pining over the Rex and carping about his replacements (aka winged monkeys).

Rex: Pick Portland.

Today I will be painting the wicker furniture, perhaps donning my whites, freshening my drink and wondering what the poor people are doing. Today is made for a WASP. I wish I could afford a butler.

I stopped watching Today when Dave Garroway left. And, Indians were largely nomadic with Nations that were comprised of what we WASPs call tribes. They did not have states, much less states that sound like your about to spit. Or to quote a recent film ArGOA f*ck yourself. Guess which corner messed with me?

Another cute puzzle when I long for a hottie as the young folks say.

🎿🎿 (2 sets of skis) Ring up the NetJet -- Off to MTHOOD.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Enjoyed the theme. Enjoyed the fill. Happy to have Rex back to remind me why I come to read this blog.

Z 8:14 AM  

We interrupt our broadcast of the Workd Series of FARO for a word from our sponsors, AMBIEN, IAMS, and Nutrasweet by SEARLE.

JUJITSU crossing three theme answers is very nice. Supplying a RRN -not so much. FLOR and FARO are a real RIPOFF in the south, but I do like RIPOFF.

I begot three sons. One vegan, one vegetarian, one flexitarian. I'm joining @LMS's Mexitarians.

jberg 8:16 AM  

@Rob C -- That was Thomas NASt, though.

One of my sons, in maybe 3d grade, was assigned an essay on fruit bats; his source said that their diet included fish. His source said that they ate, fruit, except that they ate fish when they were on diets. I think that clarifies the whole flexitarian thing.

I knew about JOHN ADAMS and THOMAS JEFFERSON and their same-day deaths on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, but not about JAMES MONROE, and that fact kept me from seeing the theme until I had _OHN _D_MS. After that it was easy, I just had to figure out the THE in 57A; thought at first it was goint to have numerals.

Tricky parts: JU JITSU has the same number of letters as cricket, also played in white; march IN before STORM IN; and thinking of the actual (defunct) chain grocery store, JEWEL tea.

So I liked it for the way it was really hard to get anything before you got the theme (any down of any length at all crossed at least one theme answer, usually two), the way it all fell into place once you di, and the timeliness. Also FARO, a game I've never played.

@Rex, yes, get a neck pillow! Also ear plugs. They make all the difference. I'm only 6-2, it's true, but still - once I got those (the mask goes without saying), I sleep like a baby on planes.

Glimmerglass 8:25 AM  

Too easy for a Thursday. This was a Monday puzzle. I wonder if the flexitaian DIET is the one where you can eat anything you want for three minutes, and then someone comes along with a rubber spatula and sweeps away anything still outside your lips.

Unknown 8:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 8:36 AM  

@jberg, oops, got my nash's and nast's mashed in a nasty clash

Dr Puzzle 8:54 AM  

Rex is his usual disagreeable self. I wonder if this is an act just to trigger responses. Anyway, I think this was easy for a Thursday, but appropriate. The coincidence of 3 Presidents dying on the 4th of July is pretty amazing and not as well known as some would think. What has not been pointed out yet is the even greater coincidence that adversaries Adams and Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration. Adams' last words were reportedly "Jefferson Lives", not realizing Jefferson died several hours earlier.

Carola 8:58 AM  

Before turning to the puzzle, I watched the video of Kelly Clarkson singing "My Country Tis of Thee" from the Inauguration, so this one was right up my alley. Found it very satisfying to fill in the PRESIDENTs' names and the whole phrase THE FOURTH OF JULY.

@Rob C - Thanks for the bonus answers; @eejit - I also thought of "O'ER the ramparts..."

Liked the contrasting OH SURE and YES YES in the SE. Thought STORM IN, JUJITSU were great.

@loren - Mark Bittman is promoting a flexitarian diet in a new column in the Times. His first column was entitled "Healthy Meet Delicious," but Mexitarian still sounds better to me. Crossed with Norwegitarian for the butter and cream.

Mohair Sam 9:09 AM  

@jberg - I actually had to change NASt to NASH so as to finish this puzzle, always mix them up.

@rex - I'm your height and somewhat heavier and fly coach. One night on a Denver-Philly flight I was middle-seated between two other large people (they were sleeping). A slim 5 foot 1 inch stewardess noted my discomfort, she smiled at me and said, "Air travel, the little people's revenge." I feel your pain Rex.

Notsofast 9:17 AM  

Once again, a product name appears!!! We'll never know if this was compensated or purely innocent; but my guess is the former. I would hate to see the NYT Crossword reduced to an advertising medium, so here's a warning...HEADS UP!!!!!! That's you, Will Shortz!

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Not so fast, Notsofast!

Product names are not compensated. Now you know.

-Martin Ashwood-Smith

Unknown 9:29 AM  

If only THE FOURTH OF JULY fell on a Monday this would have been perfect.

"Painfully straightforward", indeed. Oh, Rex, I did miss you so. Though the subs were delightful.

I am writing this from I84N, heading to Cape Cod in the Airstream for the long weekend. Camping turns my normally stressed out executive of a hubby into a giddy two year old :-) I love it! Enjoy, everybody!

chefbea 9:31 AM  

Easy puzzle..and who knew that three presidents died on the fourth.

Loved pilots place!!!

Welcome back Rex. Hope everyone enjoys their cook outs and fire works!!!

Paul Keller 9:43 AM  

What Rex said. Theme answers were way to obvious for a "puzzle".

Bird 9:57 AM  

Haven't done the puzzle yet, but stopping by to wish everyone a happy and safe July 4 before I head to the beach.

Sandy K 10:02 AM  

TGIR = Thank Goodness It's Rex!

I thought I was the only one who thought it was a bit depressing to name 3 dead PRESIDENTs on THE FOURTH OF JULY...but YES YES! Rex's OPENing line showed I AM not alone.

Also had trouble remembering that BROKAW preceded Gumbel, and OH, SURE- my fave GOA painting...

Something positive- Brian BOITANO and STORMIN' Norman are very...patriotic?!

Have a nice 4th, everyone!

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Welcome back Rex! Easy Wed.except for ULA/FADO. Happy 4th to all!

MetaRex 10:11 AM  

Sure, it's a pre-Shortzian theme. That's all right now and again, eh?

Am w/ acme on the neatness of the fit. Am impressed by the nice low count of 72W, and v. impressed by the four down answers that run through three thematic acrosses. JEWELERS, JUJITSU, and GAS RANGE are all pretty brilliant, and NO CATCH is catchy.

Maybe I'm just in a good mood cuz MR hasn't forgotten everything he used to know about U.S. presidents...finished faster than my pace cars tushnet and sanfranman59 for a change.

mac 10:11 AM  

Easy Thursday, but that meant things I had no idea about turned up by themselves (looking at you, Ape).

The fourth of july, three full names of people who died that day and who had the same job seems a solid theme to me. Because it was obvious, I filled in 57A without reading the clue, but the theme became much more interesting to me when I finally did.

Welcome back, Rex, and yes, Oregon is great.

Matty 10:24 AM  

Easy for me as I knew this little bit of trivia. Plopped all the theme answers in immediately but had INDEPENDENCEDAY at first for THEFOURTHOFJULY. Weren't those two answers in the grid last year too?

Welcome back Rex!

xyz 10:31 AM  

Nothing to do in Bandon, OR? Go play golf, you dummy, this puzzle was a crip. Very easy puzzle, especially if you knew that several US Presidents died on 4 July, and of course you are 6'5" tall.

Bandon, OR is North America's hotbed of public access golf these days, it's just a pain in the butt-ocks to get there, Scotland and the rest of Europe is much easier from the US East Coast.

Sandy K 10:33 AM  

otsclea People born on THE FOURTH OF JULY:

Calvin Coolidge, George Steinbrenner, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers, Stephen Foster.

Happy Birthday to:
Malia Obama 15, Gina Lollobrigida 86, Geraldo Rivera 70, Neil Simon 86, Eva Marie Saint 89, Mike Kovic 67.

Sandy K 10:38 AM  

Oops- please forgive the 'otsclea'
What IS that??

joho 10:46 AM  

Like @Acme was happy to celebrate THEFOURTHOFJULY with a 4th of July puzzle!

It would have been cool if it were JOHNQADAMS just to sneak a Q into the grid.

@M@A, 6 U's! You must be Uphoric!

LIRR brought back fond memories of me racing from Grand Central to Penn Station to catch the LIRR to Fire Island most definitely on THEFOURTHOFJULY. Good times!

@LMS, Mexitarian is a great group, which I'll quickly join along with the new formed Italitarians!

Thank you, Barry & Sara, for a puzzle RICH in history and full of, for me, fun memories!

joho 10:49 AM  

That would be "newly" formed ....

DBGeezer 11:03 AM  

Welcome back Your Majesty!
I wish that those who consistently berate Rex would just not bother to read his blog. Save you objectionable remarks to make to the mirror.

Mel Ott 11:19 AM  

Forgot about Monroe, but it is one of the remarkable ironies of history that the two men most responsible for the content of the Declaration of Independence died within hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of its adoption.

Adams was mainly responsible for the selection of Jefferson as the drafter, and initiated several important edits of the document.

All of which made this a particularly interesting puzzle for me.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Is this guy always an arrogant jerk, or just today?

Ellen S 11:28 AM  

Thought it was really really easy but had filled in TDS instead of YDS for 63A, which resulted in fast food joints giving away Tater TOtS, which seemed wildly improbable but I left it instead of scrutinizing the crosses. It's a Crossword puzzle so anything might happen, US Presidents might be ENSILED with medieval Brit kings and forced to live on a flexitarian DIET of EELS and AMBIEN.

But maybe there should be a limit on flexitarian fill. I do have a gripe with GST, and a little correction for that Anonymouse who proclaims things without looking them up. says there is in fact "such a thing" as GST. It's Gulf Standard Time, UTC+4, observed in Oman, Dubai and them kinda places. And I don't even get the clue, "Prime meridian std." GMT stopped being used as the name of the international standard in 1928, and by 1960, astronomical measurements had been replaced by atomic frequency time scales. GMT exists, but now it's just local Brit time, UTC+0, except in the summer.

According to the traffic safety people, more people die in traffic accidents on Independence Day than any other day, so I guess a puzzle commemorating three PRESIDENTs who died on this day is not only patriotic, but a tradition that We, The People follow.

Be safe, y'all. Happy U's Day, M&A. Welcome home, Rex.

LaneB 11:51 AM  

Had fun with all of the top half and filled the presidents quickly. However the clue for ANALOGY stopped me for too long, and I confidently filled in INDEPENDENCEDAY [it fits!] where THE FOURTHOFJULY should have been. Confusion until I figured the french word for fire couldn't begin with a C. Also at d36 JCPENNEY fits. That cross with my initial a57
certainly did result in a lot of erasures.

Good holiday puzzle!

Bob Kerfuffle 12:00 PM  

Happy Fourth of July! (Even though the Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2, and the Declaration is believed to have been signed on August 2. You could look it up.)

@Sand K - In keeping with the theme of the puzzle, how about other people who DIED on July 4th? Like Hannibal Hamlin (Lincoln's Veep), The Red Baron, Marie Curie, and Eva Gabor?


Bob Kerfuffle 12:01 PM  

(At least it is keyed to the holiday!)

LaneB 12:04 PM  

@loren I got the photo/HURT connection but if there
s anything hidden in I Just Can't bring Myself To Say Anything Bad About Any Puzzle person, it has [as always] flummoxed me.

Masked and Anonymo(see @joho)Us 12:06 PM  

@4-Oh: "Name a date on which 17-, 24-, 36-Across and this puz died."
Turn around. Good to see yer back. Wonder if EDWARDI checked out today, too. That'd be cool, U must admit? Potential real bad news for Brokaw and Boitano, tho, specially if'n they've ever been prez of anything.

Any puz that can squeeze in a spare JUJITSU here and there, is at least aimin real hard to please, in my book. Wanted GASSTOVE. But I was out of range.

Happy 4th, cousins!
Peace on Earth, good will toward patriotic puzs.

M and A also 1:17 PM  

Dang, muhammad. Way to cool off a room.

Sandstress 1:23 PM  

Been lurking here for a couple of months now--long enough to have become as equally addicted to reading these daily comments as to the blog itself.
In other words, I missed Rex too, but as long as long as all you regular commenters-- @loren muse smith, @jae, @retired-chemist, @ Anoa Bob, @Gareth Bain, @Evil Doug, etc.--don't all go on vacation at the same time (and we seriously have to make sure that never happens), I'm happy.

@lms, you always make me laugh (or cry, in the case of the link you shared yesterday). I thought of Sedaris's definition as well when I saw the 30D "flexitarian" clue, and now I have you to thank for suggesting a new term my all-too-frequent inhalation of the guac & chips at Dos Caminos in NYC. ("Mexitarian" sounds so much nicer than "gluttonous pig"...)

@retired_chemist, I was surprised more people didn't guess wrong on the 27A "Longshanks" clue; I at first had RICHARD, (turns out he was Lionheart, who predated Longshanks by a century, but considering my rusty English history that's impressively close), It crossed so nicely with COURIC that I was determined to ignore not only the absence of the regnal number (maybe OK since he was the first?), but also managed to repress the fact that the whole PAULEY-NORVILLE-COURIC succession controversy occurred during Gumbel's Today show reign, not before...

syndy 1:56 PM  

Longshanks was Lionhearts Great Uncle-they missed each other by exactly 50 years. I could forgive maybe If you'all had trouble with Robert "Curthose"aka shoet legs.

Loren Muse Smith 2:24 PM  

@M & A – yeah – those jerko schmerkos are always a buzzkill.

@Lane B - no hidden words!

@Sandstress –thanks! I lurked for a long time before I had the courage to post. You’ll get a lot more out of this place if you post regularly. I bet the guac and chips at Dos Caminos in NYC are a lot better than the ones at Las Trancas in Charleston, WV! But, yes, the minute I step foot in there, I grow a little curly tail and hooves. . .I’m powerless not to eat those chips!

Hey – speaking of which – funny Mexican restaurant/chips story. Years ago, my sister and I took Mom to a Mexican restaurant in Atlanta. We had to wait for a table, so we went to the bar for a drink. We sat at the bar, and Mom dove into the complimentary chips and salsa that were right there on the bar, but more in front of two startled guys already sitting there. My sister and I had a few, too, but it was Mom who was mowing through them at a pretty good clip. I was looking around and getting my bearings because we had never eaten in that restaurant. I was horrified when I came to the realization that those chips and salsa were *not* complimentary; those poor guys had ordered them from an appetizer menu!

LMS: Eyes Only 2:38 PM  

@lms: My petulant message to muhammad's removed buzzkill message kinda just hangs there in mid air, now, huh?

Also @lms: If you got a PC or mac, go here:

I'm told a tablet don't get it. So, take two tablets.


August West 2:44 PM  

Like last week, another perfectly pedestrian Tuesday. New Thursday* personal best - 3:04. Yeah, the asterisk stays.

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

I'm with you Philly. The heart is a pump.

Loren Muse Smith 3:15 PM  

@M & A - I’m utterly speechless. (Could that be somehow redundant?) Wow. You even have a wrap-around! How did you do that so fast? Who the &%$#$ are you? Excellent puzzle and really, really fun cluing. Seriously.

Yeah – our comments look weird now. But I was petulanter.

Lewis 3:25 PM  

@rex -- as soon as I read your "Happy Presidential Death Day, everybody!", I knew all was right again in my world. Welcome back.

I didn't know that these Presidents died on the 4th, nor did my wife, so that was interesting. The puzzle felt quick for a Thursday. I don't know, @acme, where you heard that the clues for the presidents were tougher, but I would have liked that.

Unknown 3:34 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 3:36 PM  

@M&A - Wow. Fantastic. If I count correctly 10 Us!!

@LMS - I think he's M Sharp's alter alter ego

Outlaw M and A 3:41 PM  

@lms: Thanx U.
Yeah... if I had that there puz to do over again, that would be redundantly repetitive. Did U count the U's?

Four (countin the hangin dealy) and out.


ksquare 3:45 PM  

@retired chemist Your thought is a little ahead of actuality. If you're still reading these, a connection from the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal is currently under construction.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:01 PM  

@M&A - Wow indeed! Nice crossword. I almost never do anything on the screen, which may have hurt my time, but I enjoyed all of the 27 minutes and 57 seconds it took!

Carola 4:47 PM  

@Sandy K and @Benko - The latest WSJ Saturday puzzle is a cute "Fireworks" cryptic. Only took me two days, instead of the usual week(s). :)

Sandy K 5:39 PM  


It was one of the rare cryptics by this pair of constructors that I attempted. Their directions are usually too cryptic for me!

Since this one had a repetitive theme, I was somehow able to start off with a BANG. But I got stuck.
Got Naticked at 31A/27D and

You can tell me the answers to 18D and 27D...I know the Ron Howard movie, but can't figure out the shaded square.

Sandy K 5:47 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle

I looked it up but I still haven't figured out how to copy and paste.
Click. Click. Click. : D

Thoracic 5:54 PM  

@LMS and @M&A, could you two just get a room and be done with it already!:))

Carola 7:29 PM  

@Sandy K - 18D is TOWROPE: line = "OW!" within TROPE (shades of recent crossword) and 27D is NAPPY: kinky (like hair) = APP within NY.

Let me know if you want the shaded square.ff

Sfingi 7:46 PM  

Abfab! And no Googling!

My mom's b-day - 94. Even though she has advanced Alz., she always smiles broadly when we say Fourth of July!

I have a list of her ancestors who lived past 90, and got to cross off another.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:11 PM  

@loren muse smith - You tricky person you! I passed over your earlier remark about the five US Presidents not buried in the US, but it continued to nag at me just a bit. Thought I would know something like that. So I just looked it up. LOL!

Either I am really getting old, or I wasn't really paying attention!


Sandy K 8:14 PM  


OK, so cocoon and nappy give you POP, right?
If there's a POP in 30D from towrope, then 30A is PINT!
I tried to force NINA instead of PINTA without its stern- in there-
made no POP...
Thanks again!! : )

Have a nice night! We can see the Macy's fireworks display from our top floor window! POP! BANG! BOOM!

Carola 8:30 PM  

@Sandy K - You're welcome! I still have one clue I can't parse (9D)...will sleep on it and maybe ask you tomorrow. I bet the Macy's display is spectacular. We're off to experience the BOOMs at our local park....time to head out and spread our blanket.

mac 10:08 PM  

Nice puzzle, m&a! Enjoyed a little fun during the Macy's fireworks! You're good, and your minions are probably spectacular!

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

Well my husband, who is not a crossworder but is a retired astronomer said there is no GST. GMT

Acme 12:07 AM  

Hilarious about your mom! I live for stories like that
(my lefthanded beau ate the rice of a stunned Japanese woman who was sharing our table at a Benihana -type place...she literally went running from the table)

Heard it from the constructor himself...

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

Governor of Natick -- whoever said that is funny!

I liked everything about this puzzle, not least the fact that it apparently was harder for Rex than for me. I don't EVER do a puzzle in seven minutes, so when I can actually do one pretty easily that the "King of CrossWorld" rates as "challenging," well, that's a rare ego trip.

I don't mind Rex being crabby all the time. It's one of the big reasons I come to this blog. I'm usually thinking: "What an impressive & amazing work, I wonder what weird reasons Rex will think of now to hate on it." Yes, he almost always finds something nasty to say, and for me this is amusing. He has absolutely no regard for the feelings of the constructors, and I also find this amusing. Call me preverse. Sort of my daily dose of insult comedy.

As for this particular puzzle, since I rarely watch TV or listen to the latest hip hop or whatever, I don't know the latest pop trivia. But I do know my geography, I follow politics, I know who Deval Patrick, is even though I'm not from Massachusetts, I know what the Mau Mau rebellion was (hey -- it was recently in the news, with the Brits having to pay buco bucks for torturing Kenyans in colonial concentration camps back in the day), I know a little crosswordese (K Star). So, as Rex would say, this one happened to be in my "wheelhouse." (Now THAT'S a weird word!)

spacecraft 11:35 AM  

Pretty predictable given the date; I couldn't fill in all the theme answers fast enough. Way too easy for a Thursday. I did have one hiccup: Looking at the sport-in-white that starts with J, I actually rejected the "proper" JIUJITSU as being too long, going with JAIALAI instead. Well, I've never seen it live; who knew? So whatever difficulty was present today was due to that "alternate but acceptable" spelling. [frown]

A mix of good and not-so-good fill, as you'll get in such a choppy grid. Makes me look forward to those vast expanses of white we usually get toward the weekend.

Welcome rookie @Sandstress!

spacecraft 11:36 AM  

Pretty predictable given the date; I couldn't fill in all the theme answers fast enough. Way too easy for a Thursday. I did have one hiccup: Looking at the sport-in-white that starts with J, I actually rejected the "proper" JIUJITSU as being too long, going with JAIALAI instead. Well, I've never seen it live; who knew? So whatever difficulty was present today was due to that "alternate but acceptable" spelling. [frown]

A mix of good and not-so-good fill, as you'll get in such a choppy grid. Makes me look forward to those vast expanses of white we usually get toward the weekend.

Welcome rookie @Sandstress!

spacecraft 11:39 AM  

Oops. Captcha woes, sorry (grrr). I'd delete one but I'm too tech-challenged.

Waxy in Montreal 11:47 AM  

AH, SURE would have been much easier had I noticed the 0704 below the grid before diving in. But even so, have to agree with a commentator five weeks back that it's too bad for this puzzle that July 4th, 2013 didn't fall on a Monday.

Studies of coincidence (or synchronicity) almost always begin with just how unusual it was that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826. Hadn't realized until today that James Monroe also died on July 4th, albeit five years later.

Only writeovers were RAT before REF (!) and ABE/BENCHED before APE/PERCHED but they were easily fixed from their crosses. Also had to guess at the FLOR/FARO/NITRO/ULA conjunction but luck prevailed.

LOL about the bit earlier concerning the five presidents not buried in US soil. Very funny!

rain forest 1:34 PM  

As a Canadian, I took this as an opportunity to get educated. JAMES MONROE came only haltingly, and I was surprised by the coincidental dates of the three Prez's deaths. I don't see ASTAGE as a 'partial', in the normal _____ sense, and I thought it was an excellent clue and answer. Certainly much better than my first thought - EUROPE. Before JEFFERSON came into view, I thought the white-clad sport could be cricket or fencing. Is GST kosher, with the S meaning 'standard' which is abbreviated in the clue?

David 2:07 PM  

Ah, Rex, if you stopped watching MST3K when Joel left, you missed some very fine years. The clip is from the Sci-Fi Channel Season 10, episode #10 - "The Final Sacrifice".

After years at the Comedy Channel/Comedy Central, the program was picked up by the Sci-Fi channel for seasons 7 - 10, when the Satellite of Love had moved many years into the future, and the Earth had been taken over by the Apes and the "Law Giver" - Pearl Forrester. Comedy Gold, Rex!

Dirigonzo 3:26 PM  

I rejected GsT because I, like @rain forest thought the "std." in the clue would bar "standard" in the answer - turns out GST is Greenwich SIDEREAL Time (as mentioned by an earlier commenter)so it is indeed kosher. GmT gave me marchIN in lieu of STORMIN, and I had GASstove for GASRANGE so that corner took some fixin' up - JOHNADAMS set things right. BOITANO needed all the crosses.

DMGrandma 4:16 PM  

Very few Thursdays are as easy to romp through as this one, but I can understand wanting to print it on July 4th. Though of course the wow of that was lost on those of us in Syndieland, where my calendar says Aug. 8th. At any rate I hadn't known about Monroe, so learned something!

Anonymous 4:58 PM  

The painting is a Goya, not a Goa!

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