London football club nicknamed gunners / TUE 7-4-17 / Chopper in Vietnam War / Anago at sushi restaurant / White-plumed marsh dweller / Title bootlegger

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Constructor: Mangesh Ghogre and Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: JULY (59A: What the beginnings of 17-, 25-, 40- and 52-Across are each a fourth of, phonetically) — each "beginning" is a FOURTH OF 'JULY.' Get it?

Theme answers:
  • JAY GATSBY (17A: Title bootlegger in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel)
  • YOU ARE NOT ALONE (25A: "I'm here, too")
  • ELLE MACPHERSON (40A: Model with the most Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition covers (5))
  • WHY BOTHER? (52A: "What's the use?")
Word of the Day: MODISH (24D: Fashionable) —
adjective: modish
conforming to or following what is currently popular and fashionable.

"it seems sad that such a scholar should feel compelled to use this modish jargon"

synonyms:fashionable, stylish, chic, modern, contemporary, all the rage, in vogue, voguish, up-to-the-minute, à la mode, du jour;
informaltrendy, cool, with it, in, now, hip, styling/stylin', happening, phat, funky, kicky, tony, fly

"modish outfits for spring" (google)
This puzzle does what it says it does, so it's got that going for it. There's some rough fill, but overall, it floats. I mean, it does an interesting word-play-y thing with "Fourth of July," so, mission accomplished. I am having this creepy, eerie feeling (opposite of the Eagles' "Peaceful, Easy Feeling") that I have seen this theme before. A theme identical to this one. Same concept. Same holiday. Same. Maybe different themers, but otherwise, same. I can't be bothered to track it down, if it even exists. I know we just had a puzzle (last week?) that involved spelling out letters in some way, but that's not what I'm remembering. It's this J, U, L, Y, "fourth" thing ... maybe someone knows. Or (more likely) maybe I just *think* I've seen it before. [Update: holy crap, was I right! This theme is nearly identical to the NYT 7/4 puzzle from ... LAST YEAR!?!?!? Same. Concept. Same. Gag. How does an editor Forget That?!?!!?!??!] [P.S. I should add that this puzzle was accepted over a year ago and was going to be published in 2016 (!?!?!), except the editor I guess forgot he already had one for 2016 (!?), so he held it for a year ... anyway, again, I ask, how do you (A) accept a theme for 2016 that you have Already Accepted For 2016 and then (B) after realizing you have done this dumb thing, decide to run the duplicated theme the very next year!?!?!? Stunning.]

It's not that festive. I think it will be less than / harder than Easy if you don't know who ELLE MACPHERSON is. I had to explain her to my friend Lena (whose house I am at). "She was big like 20 years ago." That was my best explanation of her. "She was in movies ... a little ... I think." That was my follow-up, more specific explanation of her. YOU ARE NOT ALONE is weird, in that people are more likely to say "YOU'RE," I think. And ["I'm here, too"] is an insanely, stupidly literal clue for something people say *figuratively* all the time. "I don't like Pumpkin Spice things!" "Brother, YOU ARE NOT ALONE." You are not telling the guy, "Brother, I am standing in this room with you." You are indicating solidarity of spirit, a oneness of general feeling or purpose. Bah and feh. I would accept "YOU ARE NOT ALONE" as a lesser Michael Jackson song.

Hardest for me was 1D: Big name in camera film, because crossword brain went "what's that dumb film name you never remember Oh Right, AGFA!" And then, as I will do from now til kingdom come, I confused FUJI and FIJI. After that, all was easy, though I had ELSE for 6D: In addition (ALSO) and didn't trust FLUME at first (even though it's the first thing I thought of for 43A: Amusement park water ride) and mildly barfed at VETOER and needed most crosses to get THRU (48D: Directional word, for short). I am not fond of SEAEEL (10D: Anago, at a sushi restaurant) because it's just a vowel orgy, but I did have eel for lunch today, and even though my dish was Unaju and not Anago, I felt spiritually and psychically bonded to that clue somehow. Have a safe and festive 0.25.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


GHarris 2:06 AM  

Easy for me too. Liked more than Rex did. Not burdened by memories of last year.

chefwen 3:07 AM  

More easy/medium for me.

JAY GAdSPY before GATSPY, my water ride was a slide before a FLUME. I guess that was about all my errors, it just seemed to take a lot longer than a usual Tuesday. Wanted Keds before VANS, that was not to be.

Happy Fourth of JULY. 🎇

Larry Gilstrap 3:16 AM  

Happy Fourth of JAY YOU ELLE WHY to you and yours from the home of VANS shoes here in Orange County CA where nobody has ever used the word sneaker to describe an item of foot wear, ever.

I'm thinkin' that 41D is a great clue. Puzzle people rise up!

Remember when Congress would actually pass some legislation and then the President would be the big bad VETOER. Those were the days!

I'm a Shakespeare guy and know that most modern productions love to tweak the costuming to another era; Julius Caesar in a business suit, not a TOGA, etc.

MEL Tillis was a famous stutterer. I grew up with Glenn Longshore and that kid had an annoying stutter thing going on. Is that still a thing? Now, just do people sing everything? Help me here.

I rarely venture into the realm of politics (hate the word), but I must say that NEIL Gorsuch has become a Justice of the SCOTUS because of the unfair treatment of the nomination of Merrick Garland. Don't waste your time defending that injustice, at least to me. Not considered as a candidate because...? WHY BOTHER.

Robin 3:41 AM  

Different generations, all right. I wrote in ELLEMACPHERSON based on just the first two letters. (Hey! Give me a CH and I would written in cheryltiegs, I'd so middle-aged.)

On the other hand, I have no idea who has appeared in the swimsuit issue in the past 10-15 years. Are they still wearing swimsuits? I've heard they're down to just body paint.

evil doug 4:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 4:27 AM  

Medium for me. Same EL gimme as @Robin. Thought it was pretty clever but also though it seemed vaguely familiar. Turns out the 2016 puz was by Jeff Chen and Jill Denny. Mangesh's and Jeff's comments at Xwordinfo are worth a read. Based on the backstory, liked it a lot.

CLB 4:49 AM  

If you were a male in high school in the 80s, you know 40A. Don't think there were any movies worth remembering.

Johnny 4:57 AM  

I really liked this puzzle. Happy July 4th!

I did last years puzzle last year, and I don't remember it. I don't remember yesterday's puzzle either. I don't see what the big deal is. There is nothing new under the sun. In fact, I just looked at last year's puzzle and it is just BARELY similar; how different will a Fourth of July theme puzzle actually be? Not much I say.

I'm gonna go blow something up now. USA! USA! USA!

Roberta 5:37 AM  

if you want a You are not Alone ear worm (a pretty pleasant one), listen to this song from the new musical Dear Evan Hansen (just won the Tony Award).

Hungry Mother 5:45 AM  

Very fast for me today, but I did a lot of downs.

Lewis 6:17 AM  

@Rex -- VERY similar but not exactly the theme from last year in that last year they used the actual letters instead of the letters spelled out, that is, JEDGARHOOVER, UHAULRENTAL, etc. But I'm with you in that it feels too close for only one year of separation.

This fell in one pyrotechnic flash, and I didn't get the theme before coming to the reveal. I love the playful word FLUME, and saw that backward LEM to go with its fellow space traveller MIR. Nice cross of SAUTE and PLUMTOMATO. Cluing was Monday direct except for the one for ELIDES.

I will be spending the evening giving great assurance to my cat and dog during the aerial and neighborhood cacophony. Wishing you a great one!

Thomaso808 6:23 AM  

I say we should have a 4th of July theme every July 4th and this year's version is way different and perhaps better than last year's, with the whole phonetic thing going on. Rex, get over it already.

My adorable wife who won't let me tell her any answers still has pamelaandERSON penciled in at 40A. She knows it's not working, and she will eventually figure it out, but what a coincidence that Elle and Pam both fit.

The clue for 31D TOME was a WOE and might be a Tuesday Natick for solvers who don't know MEL or ELLE. I agree with Rex about YOUARENOTALONE -- could have come up with a better YOU entry.

Congrats to Mangesh Ghogre's second NYT puzzle ( and BEQ's bazzillionth). Mangesh wrote a pretty cool letter about crosswords in 2012. Google "Mangesh ACPT" to read it.

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

I liked Neil because it reminded me we have a clear thinking SCOTUS for many decades to come. Yes, Trump makes me cringe many mornings, but at least it's fashionable to love our country again. Happy Birthday USA.

QuasiMojo 6:52 AM  

Dividing the word JULY into "fourths" seems pretty silly to me. I prefer a month of Sundays to this bland Tuesday filler. I'm PLUM sick of seeing tomatoes in the puzzle. As well as Opals. Not only the GEM.

Jay Gatsby was a bootlegger? I better go back and read it again. lol

"You Are Not Alone" made me think of that Twilight Zone episode where the giant guy brings us a cookbook on how TO SERVE MAN.

Happy INDEPENDENCE Day everybody!

Matt Blanzy 7:03 AM  

Happy 7/4 should be happy 1 3/4 or 1.75. :)

mathgent 7:07 AM  

Very nice puzzle! Especially for a Tuesday. BEQ is a master constructor.

ELLEMACPHERSON is a legitimate entry. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is firmly established in our culture and she is the most famous of all the cover girls. She was on the cover most recently in 2006. She has hosted SNL.

Loren Muse Smith 7:25 AM  

I didn’t remember last year’s Fourth of July puzzle until Rex reminded us. So like @Thomaso808 and @Johnny - no biggie for me. Working this puzzle is so important to me that sometimes I panic that the well of theme ideas will run dry, and then what? I’ll take a recycled theme; it’s still a pleasant diversion to start off my day.

I almost put in “roma” tomato before PLUM. Because I’m a fancy cook and stuff.

Loved ON ALL FOURS. That’s why I lay off the tequila these days. It’s all fun and games that pub crawl becomes literal.

Just fyi – when you “drop that G” in words like eatin’ and crawlin’ – you’re not dropping a G ‘cause there’s no G sound there to begin with. And this is where you’ll insist that you do say a G in eating. Well, you don’t. And then this is where you’ll dig your heels in and think to yourself that you’re different, a cut above, because you actually do say a G there since you’re not a YOKEL. Well, you still don’t say a G in eating. So it’s not really an elision but rather a revision. You’re not eliminating a consonant; you’re just switching out a velar nasal for an alveaolar nasal. Your day is now complete.

Just got back from a trip down memory lane – went to Chattanooga with my family and we got to see all our old stomping grounds. My avatar is our first official selfie as a family. (We kept having to retake it because my middle sister absolutely did not want to be in the picture. We ended up honoring her wishes.) Dad rode shotgun with my youngest sister and was the Waze Wingman. Now THAT was entertaining. He kept challenging it and insisting there was a better way.

Happy Fourth.

RAD2626 7:29 AM  

Kate Hudson must be catching up. Although I think one year SI did multiple covers of her so like this puzzle each one only counts 1/3.

This was a fine and fun puzzle for the holiday. Better than WSJ Red, White and Blue yesterday imo. This year used homophones vs. last year and last year spelled out the holiday. Fill was all different. Not bothered at all by overlap. Enjoyed the puzzle. ALSO went with eLSe first. VETOER last word to go in and had to run the alphabet to get the V since I do not know VANS and wrote in kedS initially.

Have a great holiday.

chefbea 7:44 AM  

Fun puzzle and hand up for not remembering last years. Never heard of vans sneakers...or huey. Time to make pasta sauce!!

Happy fourth to y'all

Irene 7:46 AM  

Loved it. As for the same thing/different version criticism, when I worked at a newspaper it was taken for granted that on repetitive events, readers wanted a new version of the same old thing. New (but not too-new) pies for Thanksgiving. New (but not too-new) old-timer interviews on the first day of the baseball season. New (but not too-new) how-to-beat-the-heat story on a scorcher in August. It's a tradition.

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

If your 4th of July barbecue is lacking a turd in the punch bowl, invite Michael Sharp.

Aketi 8:03 AM  

Didn't like that STAIN right in the middle of the fourths of JULY. Did the TONER spill? I feel like the FOIL hat wearers on both sides of the aisle have been ENABLEd and I now have to wade through EPIC streams of SPAMS via electronic communication to find the thin trickle of anything resembling reality-based evidence.

The term MODISH seems so dated.

I'm hoping Governor's Island is not too crowded today. They always set off a canon, which isn't exactly as powerful as TNT or BOMBs bursting in air but did make me jump the first time I went on the fourth of JULY and hadn't noticed that they had set up a reenactment as we were walking towards the art installations on the island. The best view of Lady Liberty is through, what was at one point in time, a prison window in Castle Williams. Of course now they have opened up Picnic Point where your u can climb t the highest point on the Island and a great 360 degree view. I love that there is a high school on the island devoted to the study of marine biology. The students would probably appreciate the SEA EELS more than I did today.

Birchbark 8:41 AM  

@Larry Gilstrap: Yesterday, I read this in "Eyewitness Shakespeare," a fun-fact book that covers many facets of the Bard's life and plays: "But Shakespeare would not have known what a toga was. The Roman characters in his plays would have worn cloaks, as courtiers did in Shakespeare's time." You learn something new every day, and apply it the next day in a crossword blog.

I had MODERN for MODISH, as in the recent tradition of 4th of July puzzles that spell July, prompting bombs to burst in the thin air of an otherwise ideal universe. My guess is that the editor let it in because it's fun.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

So I'm thinking: What a cool gimmick for July 4th! What a terrific Tuesday! And, like @mathgent: What a pro BEQ is. (I don't know the other constructor.) And then the very first commenter sends me to Rex to find out that the same gimmick was used last year. Who would remember that??? Certainly not me. Spoilsport! This is why I don't read Rex.

Didn't remember that NIXON launched The War on Drugs. Gee, that war's been going on a long time. I think we've lost.

I thought I knew all the sneakers. Never heard of VANS. Maybe they're for basketball, not tennis?

I wonder how many Iranians would be thrilled with SHAH for Persian leader.

If I say "I'm here too" I'm not saying YOU ARE NOT ALONE. What I'd probably be saying is: "Will you please let me get a word in edgewise." YOU ARE NOT ALONE is what ET would say.

Time to go watch NADAL.

RooMonster 9:01 AM  

Hey All !
Happy ROOS of July! :-P

Liked the puz. I'm in the group who doesn't remember last years puz, so no problem with this one. Liked the "fourth" of JULY beginnings of the themers. Like others, ELLE MACPHERSON went in quickly off the _L_E______E___. As Wayne and Garth would say, "She's a babe! Schwing!'

Upset that I had a DNF at PUTON. Really really wanted that there, but had the Downs first, MeSS and ERIe, leaving me PeTOe. No excuse for that. Let that be a lesson, children. Where is Always Check Your Grid blogger when you need him/her?

Light dreck, BEQ usually a soloist, no? Is this one of those Celebrity conflagrations?

ASPCA and NAACP. Just odd to have two five letter initialisms. Don't know why that seems significant to me . . .

EPIC RELAX today, y'all!

Mohair Sam 9:10 AM  

Well it was fun. Just like @LMS we totally forgot last year's puzzle so no problem there. But it played tough for a Tuesday in this house.

@Rex - Yeah, ELLE nearly had to totally fill before I remembered her.

@Quasi - Great memory jog on the Twilight Zone "How to Serve Man" cookbook episode.

You New York City folks take the Fourth celebration in stride. One of my nieces lived for a few years on the third floor of a thee story walk-up in Brooklyn. She threw a family party on her roof one year for the holiday (make sure you don't walk on the neighbor's half!). Amazing view of the Harbor. Felt like you could reach out and shake hands with the Statue of Liberty. An experience we won't forget.

Hartley70 9:22 AM  

@RAD2626, I think you meant Kate Upton. My son worked on the SI Antarctica shoot with her.

@LarryGilstrap, so what do you call sneakers? I'm sure it's not plimsolls. You're not that guy. I'll never, ever, ever get over the Merrick Garland injustice either.

I can't remember last week's puzzles. When they're done, I erase them from the memory bank, so this was fresh meat and very tasty today. Mangesh's lovely sentiments in the Wordplay comments made the puzzle even sweeter.

Toga, Toga Toga ! 9:23 AM  

Shakespeare's Romans have been accused of being merely ‘Elizabethans in togas’, to borrow a much-recycled phrase. In the most literal sense, that description seems accurate enough: according to the evidence of the ‘Peacham drawing’, a pen-and-ink sketch attributed to the writer Henry Peacham of a scene from Titus Andronicus, Elizabethan actors wore togas, armour and carried non-Roman weapons, apparently unfussy about supposed historical exactitude.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Lena's been on a "Sherry Sabbatical" the last four years. She must have put away a nice stash to support herself.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

chefwen said...
More easy/medium for me.

You solved on paper, didn't you?

Nancy 9:37 AM  

Thanks to @Hartley (9:22) for sending me over to Wordplay to read Mangesh Ghogre's charming insight into how this puzzle was conceived and executed. His obvious pleasure in the TAJ/JULY connection was a highlight. I wish him a happy and successful future in puzzle construction.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

You're definitely onto something with your final g pronunciation idea. I'm not sure it's fully correct. But if ain't, it's close.
Two thoughts, or one question and a thought.
There is a speech pattern, extremely common in certain groups, where final Gs are not only spoken, they're accented (or maybe they seem accented because we so rarely hear them).
I give you none other than Bernie Sanders as an example. Hit any YouTube clip and I guarantee you'll hear what I mean in no time.
As for elidng The final G, Dorothy Sayers goes into some detail on this saying, in England anyway, it's the sure sign of nobility. That's why Lord Peter Wimsey is always going fishin or shootin.

Two Ponies 9:58 AM  

Jay? I thought his first name was Great.

Bill L. 10:08 AM  

58 across: (Of ____ I Sing) or (My Country, 'Tis of ____) might be more appropriate today than (Quaker pronoun). Too easy?

Speaking of independence, my thanks to Rex (and BEQ and Orange, etc.) for keeping their sites independent and ad free. Just looked at xwordinfo and saw the awful ads. Ugh!

Happy fourth, everyone!

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Kate UPTON!!!!! Come on!
There ae some things, or people, you just shouldn't be mistaken about.

evil doug 10:14 AM  

"Injustice?" It's politics! It sucks, no matter which party holds the keys. If you're never, ever, ever going to get over it, you're pissing into the wind....

No doubt about it; Garland was borked. Hmmmm. "Borked". I wonder what the origin of that is....

No way the Scalia seat was going to Garland. Now, if Ruth ever moves on, I think he'd be a reasonable successor--but I doubt the current party in power will see it my way....

Joseph Michael 10:20 AM  

If Jeff Chen doesn't mind that this puzzle is similar in concept to his last year, then I won't mind either. As Jeff points out, the constructions of the two puzzles are quite different.

Thought it was Nancy Reagan who launched the war on drugs, so it was interesting to learn that it was, in fact, NIXON. The latter's name seems to be cropping up a lot in the news lately as history repeats itself in the Trump era.

Puzzle is a bit heavy on proper nouns (over 25% of the grid,) but was a good holiday diversion overall.

SATAN crossing YOU ARE NOT ALONE feels a little creepy. But liked ON ALL FOURS, HUEY, JAY GATSBY, and PLUM TOMATO as well as the clue for ELIDES.

As Edith Piaf said, "Je ne EGRET rien."

jberg 10:32 AM  

No one I know pronounces "WHY" the same as Y. the former has a little aspiration in it to represent the H (@Loren will know what that's called, I bet.) Yet no one is complaining; I guess I'm just too old and fussy.

Possible alternate clue and answer: "Small city in Michigan" -- WYANDOTTE (also 'breed of chickens" or "native American group (var.)")

We had a two-l IDYLL just a few days ago; that seemed more meditative, but this one can carry a bigger load.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Right on all counts but one. It wasn't simply politics, it was civics. The system worked precisely as it should havexpect. That the party out of power is crying foul is really quite funny.
I will greatly enjoy Kennedy's seat being filled soon. The real question is whether Bader Ginsburg can outlast Trump. I think we all know what the odds of that are. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!

evil doug 10:51 AM  

A sad commentary to reflect upon on this glorious day for celebrating America....

From a new Fox poll, and Charles Krauthammer commentary:

Just over half of Americans, 51 percent, are proud of the United States today.

By a 25-point margin, Republicans (64 percent--surprisingly low, actually) are more likely than Democrats (39 percent--sadly, not so surprising) to say they’re proud.

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer told Fox News Monday night that American students are being taught "about all of the pathologies of the United States and very little of the glories.

"Look, every civilization is founded on sins, every single one," Krauthammer added. "Dispossession, violence, appropriation. What distinguishes civilizations are the ones who rise above it."

Hoping we can. It's one thing to lack pride in a particular president, or legislature, or supreme court justice. But to not learn, or understand, or appreciate the full scope of America's contributions among her flaws?

Happy 4th,

GILL I. 10:58 AM  

With a name like Mangesh and Brendan I know I'm goin to like the puzzle. And I did. Then @Rex comes along and tells me this isn't original and he can prove it. Sorry, I didn't think they were similar - maybe in theme - but nothing else. Pffffft.
For some reason, big fake titted girls do nothing for me. I knew of ELLE but I forgot how she spells her name. She was first Irish and then finally became a Scot thanks to SPAMS floating down her MAC.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE is pretty biblical so WHY BOTHER with the meh and feh.
Do you know how many cheeses are made with cows milk? Why not give GOUDA some pizzazz. Like "What is the name of the cheese named after the town of GOUDA?"
I love the 4th of July. One of my most memorable was in San Diego on board the USS Midway. Our son, then a Marine, scored a bunch of tickets for the family. They get sold out quickly, so we were in 4th heaven. Sat up deck, had lots of tequila, and watched the rockets red glare away. The other was the BIG BAY BOOM on Shelter Island. Tonight, my husband and I will probably fall asleep before they even go off. Hamburgers and hot dogs!

CDilly52 11:17 AM  

Like many of you, working the puzzle is a happy part of my routine, including an expectation that on holidays we will have a holiday theme. Beyond that, I neither remember nor care that we may have holiday "reruns" or similarities. This was fun and well done. Yes, the "H" in WHY, is pronounced, but the word was close enough, right?

Happy Independence Day everyone! America is and always has been great.

Bax'N'Nex 11:21 AM  

As usual, nothing good enough for "if you If you can't...criticize.", Micheal Sharp. (Sorry, can't bear to call him "Rex" Latin for King.). Although, he is the King of maybe...

I enjoyed this puzzle, couldn't care less if it was from or the same idea as a year ago. Can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday, so that's all good. Surprised he didn't do his usual tired rant about "I would have picked SUCH BETTER words" to represent the letters in July.. Saying Elle MacPherson was "20 years ago"... why does that matter? She holds the SI cover record. I bet if it were a baseball record holder from 20 years ago, it would have been great.

Michael is just such a dick. He rarely fails to deliver.

gzodik 11:34 AM  

@Lauren, think about it orthographically. If we remove the letter g from the end of a word, are not dropping a g?

@jberg: It's the current stage of a centuries-long inexorable trend in English to eliminate voiceless initial liquid consonants. Hros to horse, hlaf to loaf, wheat to "weet". Now, sadly, we're getting huge to "yuge".

Masked and Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Happy 4ths of JAYYOUELLEWHY, all U smart people.

BY ONE SON OTHER, btw. [Usin the rear-ends.]

This should maybe become an annual event, or somethin, spellin out fourths of jUly in the puz. Ok by m&e. See how many ways U can do it. So far we've had:

* 2016: Use letters.
* 2017: Use homophones of letters.

* 2018: Use them military ALPHA-TANGO-ECHO alphabet letters.
* 2019: Use the circles to do it.
* 2020: Spell it out usin black squares or whatever else Liz Gorski would do.

fave weeject: MIR. Peace on earth, good will to all constructioneers and their cute lil puzs.

Thanx Mr. Ghogre & BEQ. Fun stuff. SEAEEL ONALLFOURS … now, there's an image.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Bax'N'Nex 11:41 AM  

"Yuge " is an east coast "sneakers" or "standing ON line"., "pop" instead of soda. I feel it's more of a dialect thing. Or here in California when transplanted New Yorkers say "out here". "Out here??? Isn't it just "here". But everything is referenced to NY.

Mohair Sam 11:52 AM  

@Evil Doug (10:51) - Well said.

newspaperguy 11:54 AM  

Of course you NEVER use the same ideas, themes, words in your lectures, do you Rex? Or do your criticisms only apply to others, and not yourself?

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Or you

Carola 12:12 PM  

Very cute, never saw the reveal coming. I liked the "Boom!"-related ARSENAL and TNT in anticipation of tonight's fireworks. My husband and I donate to our village's fireworks fund and in return are sent a sheet of all the shell names in sequence, with "ours" highlighted - a "49 Shot Thunder Rain Box." Wonder if I'll recognize it. It follows a "Purple Sun with Glittering Palm Core & Glitter Tail," so maybe.

Happy Glorious 4th to all, from the land of pop (never soda), tennies (not sneakers), and bubblers (not drinking fountains).

Joe Bleaux 12:32 PM  

Theme gimmick redux, schmedux. It was still Fourth Fun stuff, and not all of it Tuesday-easy. Some clever cluing too, e.g. the comment-generating ELIDES. Still, why all the vitriol when Rex gets his scold on? It's his matinee, tickets free unless you're moved to donate, and reading his criticism isn't mandatory. Far as I'm concerned, he's a great American (speaking of which, gotta go turn on ESPN now to watch Joey Chestnut slam dunking at Nathan's -- hot dog!). Happy and safe 4th, all!

Loren Muse Smith 12:35 PM  

Scroll past this if the elision thing bores you....

@anon - you’re right – I should’ve said it pertained mainly to verbs ending in ING. So sure Sanders pronounces the final G in, say, Long Island. But I listened carefully to two clips, and I never once heard him end an –ING word with a pronounced, full-on G (kinda the way we would pronounce the end of the name INGE.) I’m telling you, no one does, and if someone did, it’d sound strange and artificial. The consonant G is a stop, which means we stop the air briefly from leaving the mouth and then let it out. There’s none of that going on in -ING final words.

If you transcribe robbin’ - /rabən/
If you transcribe robbing - /rabɪŋ/ No. G.

So @gzodik - sure in writing we drop that G to be folksy, but the entry was ELIDES, and I always think pronunciation when I see that word.

And @jberg – I never have an aspirated W at the beginning of stuff like whale, wheat, WHY. Can we still be friends?

@gzokik – “inexorable” is the key word here. Can’t stop that language change. I’m saying a silent prayer now that you don’t go to your cup*board for a coffee mug.

Look. I’m just being a Little Miss Prisspot Look at Me I Studied Linguistics Jerk. Nuttin’ new there. What’s worse, I didn’t even specialize in phonology.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Isn't having "fourth" in the 59-A clue and 26-D ONALL"FOURS" some kind of violation?

Hartley70 12:46 PM  

@Carola, and here I thought bubblers were only a Rhode Island thing, pronounced "bubblas" of course. Speaking of Rhode Island, it seems @ralphbunker has been AWOL for a while. He's missed.

@evil doug, No worries here. That's a guy problem. Oh, and I would hand carry the adorable Ruth wrapped in cotton wool to court every day if it would help prolong her tenure. Remember how Scalia loved her? I totally agree with the last paragraph of your 10:51 post. Well said.

Masked and Anonymous 12:47 PM  


@Evil D: yep.
I suppose yer poll results ain't all that surprisin, dependin on how the various pollees took the poll cat's question.
Usually we have flags out on the 4th all over the neighborhood, but hardly any out this go-round. Heck, our fair city ain't even shootin off its fireworks this 4th of July. Changed it to last Sat, to line up commercially better with a beerfest bein held downtown. Kinda a tad sad.
I dunno. Seems like every so often, somethin or tother comes along to make Americans grate again ...

GATS NOT HER BOT, btw. [Usin stuff out of the middles.]


… 2021: Use anagrams of JULY? Unlikely? yeah. Thought so.

Anyhoo … Go get em, USA.


Malsdemare 12:50 PM  

Elle MacPherson was in "The Edge," a sort of entertaining adventure thriller set in Alaska. She's gorgeous, of course, and plays a model so playing the role isn't too challenging.

I'm with everyone else who can't remember what she had for dinner much less a puzzle from a year ago. I had only one problem here, with the wince-worthy VETOER crossing VANS (Wha'?)

Happy fourth, all. Do your dog(s) a favor and crate/cover them in a quiet place in the house, set a radio nearby playing soft music, perhaps give them an appropriate number of VetScience's Composure. Too bad there are no earplugs for canines.

G. Weissman 12:52 PM  

Natick at 37A/31D.

Two Ponies 12:58 PM  

@ evil doug,
My silly comment earlier in no way reflects my respect for the importance of this day. I am proud of our country and proud of our president. Thank you for stating it so well.

BarbieBarbie 1:12 PM  

This is old but fun- told me I was from Hayward, which was darn close. Sneakers or tennies either one. Coke used as a generic for soda/pop-whatyouwill. Street-strip. Traffic circle. Etcetera. Ain't diversity grand?

YOUARENOTALONE sounds like one of thos songs that goes immediately to Muzak. By Josh whatsizname.

@EDoug, yep, politics, but I also agree it was civics. Ol' Yertle wasn't breaking any rules. He used the existing rules to get to his political end. If we don't like it, we the peeps should do what we can to change the rules. Which is after all how America works. Which we should all agree is well worth celebrating. Sisssss, BOOOOM, "aaaaahhhhh!"

OISK 1:26 PM  

Never heard of Vans, and had Meg instead of Mel at first, so this very nice puzzle played very slow for me. Was hoping that Nixon and Gorsuch would not initiate the usual political arguments ; Evil Doug expressed my own view very well.

Celebrated the glorious Fourth last night by attending a performance of 1776. Plenty of flags out in my (Brooklyn) neck of the borough! Happy Holiday everyone.

puzzlehoarder 1:31 PM  

Our host has referred to the xwordinfo constructor comments as "silly" and "self serving". This is one day he'd have done himself a favor by reading them. They are an interesting back story and enhance the puzzle. I found this harder than most of you today. One of the reasons was an actual ROMA/PLUM write over. Hi @lms welcome back and thank you for confirming that I wasn't just making that whole ROMA thing up. Happy holiday to all.

Masked and Anonymous 1:32 PM  


@muse: Chattanooga is one cool city. Loved yer selfie -- dad has a primo "one too many tequilas" look. Is that U, in deep background?
And a mighty fine dissertation on G-lidin, btw. Makes M&A feel almost normal, for a min. or 2.

Good for U, @Two Ponies. Still a lot to be proud of, on this special day. [fidget spinners excluded]


Malsdemare 2:07 PM  

@evil 10:51. I shall join the chorus of nicely saids.

Pete 2:41 PM  

@Evil Doug - If by "Borked" you mean went through the Senate Judiciary committee after nomination, then voted upon by the entire US Senate, no, Garland was not "Borked". If by "Borked" you mean senators thought he might just not be suitable for a seat on the Supreme Court after say illegally firing Archibald Cox after two honorable men resigned rather than do so, again, no, Garland was not "Borked".

TomAz 2:45 PM  

Puzzle was fine, enjoyable. I don't really care that a similar idea was done last year. It didn't impact the solving experience for me. Struggled remembering MACPHERSON (I was close, and kept bouncing in similar sounding names) and didn't like VETOER at all.

But I am much more deeply disturbed by Rex posting an Eagles video in his blog today. I generally seem to be on the same page when it comes to his music choices on here, so man I really hope today's was a bit of sarcastic humor.

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

That's an incredibly disingenuous piece of history. The demand had only recently retake control of the Senate and decide to flex their muscles. Everyone acknowl2dges that Bob Bork was spectacularly qualified for the job. Just as Garland was (still is). But you do yourself no credit to deny the truth of the matter

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

LISTEN TO A COUPLE OF MORE. he does the classic NK sound.
Not just on participles as you note.

Sorry for caps. Too tough ton retype.

Carola 3:07 PM  

@Hartley70, interesting to learn about our bubblers' Rhode Island "bubbla" cousins. No ELIDing of the r's around here :)

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

One last thing:
Happy Independence Day to all!!! (But maybe a special firecracker or sparkler to the regulars)

bookmark 3:15 PM  

Everyone should read the co-constructor's comments on You'll feel proud to be an American, especially on this day.

ArtO 3:20 PM  

I thought this was a wonderful puzzle and didn't know about the similarity to last year's so I looked it up. I think this year's construction takes it a step further which I don't think has been brought up yet (I've skimmed through much of the blog, so apologies if it has). Last year simply took one letter from "JULY"; this year's takes a full word pronunciation of each letter as the start of each theme answer.

Give BEQ his due. He is almost unsurpassed in the world of crosswords.


Hartley70 3:45 PM  

Y @jberg, I do.

Giovanni P. 4:10 PM  

Such nice commenters...

Happy birthday USA.

Giovanni P. 4:13 PM  

Also, anyone here check out this week's Gaffney meta? If not, the writeup is here:

Norm 5:08 PM  


Bork got a vote; Garland did not. That is a very big difference.

JJ_Rural_MO 5:11 PM  

Did anyone else notice 22A -SEEMS and 46A - SEAM? Thought that would be a crossword no-no.

Nancy 5:28 PM  

@Hartley (12:46) -- I'm not blessed with much in the way of lifting muscles, and the L-word (as in "lazy") has been used about me more than once. But if at any time you need help "hand carrying" the wonderful Ruth to court, just give me a call. It would be my very great pleasure too.

@David S (11:41) -- You're right on Easterners saying "sneakers" and "standing on line", but I think you may be wrong on "pop". Everyone I know in NYC says either "soda" or "soft drink". Unless they're specifying the drink with "Coke" or "root beer" or "7-Up", which is much more prevalent.

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

I know. That's the prerogative of the Majority Leader.
The moral equivaland email remains, regardless of ther mechanics of a vote. Go ahead, ask me how I know the roll would've gone. Ido love to pontificate.

RAD2626 7:41 PM  

Totally agree. My bad. At least I didn't say Moss or Hepburn.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

I did vaguely remember a puzzle I had done a long time ago when I saw the clue about 1/4. However, I did not remember the details and it certainly is different enough that I don't think it is a problem that a similar theme was done last year. I did enjoy reading the constructor's notes and thanks for the reference to that letter he wrote long ago. It makes it even more fitting to be published on the fourth. Too much politics today from people unhappy with the election. C'est la vie and happy fourth!

mangesh 7:20 AM  

Hi folks - delighted to read the comments here. Am happy puzzle was published on this special day and that you all have loved it.
Thanks for reading my notes at xwordinfo and wordplay. thabks for the support and the appreciation.. means a lot to me.
Mangesh from Mumbai India

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kitshef 7:30 AM  

Fair to criticize a puzzle for repeating last year's theme, except that THIS WAS NOT A REPEAT but a different, related, concept.

Easy even for a Tuesday

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thefogman 9:16 AM  

40A was interesting. It morphed from being Christy Brinkly (sic) to being PamEla AndERSON to finally becoming ELLE MACPHERSON. That trick beats your garden-variety Transformer any day.

Burma Shave 9:22 AM  


OKAY, RELAX, she'll ENABLE each person


spacecraft 11:03 AM  

Again I am tempted (but not by SATAN) to say "WHYBOTHER doing M-W?" Although there was a momentary glitch this time caused by my insertion of the actual variety RomaTOMATO instead of the descriptive PLUM. So, easy with an ink MUSS.

Unlike yesterday, the DOD stage is dominated by a single contestant--who would have won in a crowd anyway: ELLEMACPHERSON. 40-across indeed! Honorable mention to the tragically late ERIN Moran. SEAEEL SEEMS green-paintish, and the clue for TOME is weird, but otherwise everything's OKAY. For a Tuesday, I think we can manage a birdie.

Diana,LIW 12:29 PM  

I grew up wearing my sneakers on the East Coast. Once, in Bend, OR, I used that word and was roundly corrected that they were tennis shoes. Or running shoes. Or some such. That person seemed quite, well, offended. 'scuse me.

Almost Naticked at VANS(never hears of them), but finally VETOER saved my solve.

Hand up for who cares about last year's similar but not puzzle.

Slide before FLUME, but thought it couldn't be that dumb. And it wasn't.

Thought YOUARENOTALONE was fine, but agree with Jeff Chen that it coulda been GOUDA with a wittier phrase. But, as I always say, constructors put me in awe, so I have no idea how hard that would be to change out. (I was also surprised to read that Jeff thought ELAL was an outlier - I've seen it over and over.)

Roofing, day 10. Mr. W and I have a bet on when this shall end. I'm guessing Thursday, he says tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 12:31 PM  

Fun and not too easy for Toosday. (haha) JAY and JULY made gimmees, but good ones, of the rest of the themers.

ARSNAL and PLUMTOMATO needed crosses, and wanted vein before SEAM and EIRE before the friendlier ERIN.

Have to remind myself that an A may or may not precede SPCA, in puzzles at least. (Am I right on that?)

In any case, a nice Tuesday to all.

rondo 3:09 PM  

Thought something was up with JAY. By the time yeah baby ELLEMACPHERSON showed up I had it sussed. Did I read the last themer clue? Nope, WHYBOTHER. A small w/o at MeSS for MUSS didn't cause more than a few seconds trouble. As Tuesdays go this was OKAY.

Diana,LIW 3:49 PM  

@Lefty - At Bill Butler's blog site I learned that, "Unlike most developed countries, the US has no "umbrella" organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City." he didn't cite a source, but often his are from Mr. Wiki P.

And I learned from the newspaper that today is Mel Tillis' birthday - #89

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 4:48 PM  

@Lady Di--

I vaguely remember reading something like that, but couldn't quite place where. Of course, it was in Bill Butler's blog! Thanks, LD.

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

The only clues that really seemed obscure were FlUMES and SEAMS. I had FRUMES and SEATS. Just slightly harder then average Tuesday puzzle due to those two. Other than that a few misplaced vowels. Haste is partly to blame there. Any else find the two clues above odd?

Jentaps 3:04 PM  

@nancy In case no one answered you, Vans are popular in general, but started as shoes for skateboarders.

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