SATURDAY, July 4, 2009—Dan Naddor

THEME: "Fourth of July Celebration"—Words and phrases that pertain to Independence Day

Hey, it's Saturday! What's a theme doing in our puzzle? Why, it's commemorating our nation's independence. (No, not you, Crosscan. Sorry there were no grand Canada Day themes on Wednesday.) To accommodate the two 14-letter answers in the middle, the grid stretched to be 16 squares high. If you figure an extra row buys the constructor at least one more entry in the puzzle's word count limits, then this 73-worder still meets the criteria for a themeless puzzle—except that, well, it has a theme. But all those long answers (8 to 10 letters long) do give it a standard Saturday vibe.

Theme answers:
  • 16A: Devoted to one's land is what PATRIOTIC means.
  • 36A, 39A: THE DECLARATION / OF INDEPENDENCE is clued With 39-Across, historic birth announcement?
  • 59A: The Spectacular display that the Chicago lakefront has on July 3 is FIREWORKS.
  • 15D: APPLE PIE, or Slice of Americana?, is also a theme answer, and one with a great clue. Its partner across the grid is...
  • 37D: DIET COKE. This elixir of caffeinated life has been an American Soft drink since 7/4/1982. "Today, we celebrate our nation's independence from...Diet Pepsi, Tab, and Diet Rite."
Crosswordese 101: What bounty! There are several candidates in today's puzzle, but the victory belongs to the classic OLIO. At 5D, the clue is Mélange. Other recent OLIO clues in the L.A. Times have included words such as hodgepodge, mishmash, miscellany, mixed bag, medley, and varied mixture. This word shows up quite a bit more in crosswords than in life, thanks to its potpourri of vowels.

Favorite answers and clues:
  • 1A: Defiant way to respond to insults (TIT FOR TAT).
  • 13A: Pull off the ultimate diamond theft? (STEAL HOME).
  • 29A: Manual transmissions?: Abbr. (ASL). "Manual" as in "with your hands," ASL being American Sign Language.
  • 44A: Tight ends? (TEES). The ends of the word "tight" are TEES, as in the letter T. Some people grumble that nobody much uses the spelled-out names of the letters of the alphabet and that it's cheap to use them as crossword fill. I kinda like the super-literal, ignore-the-word's meaning clues, personally. TEES, of course, would be easy to clue as golfball or football supports or t-shirts.
  • 48A: Cutting (SARCASTIC). I love sarcasm. Yes, I know what that says about me.
  • 63A: His aluminum dust allergy kept him from playing the Tin Man (EBSEN). Old showbiz trivia! Buddy Ebsen missed that part but picked up a couple memorable parts just a few decades later, playing Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies and the title role in Barnaby Jones.
  • 66A: "Kate & Allie" actress (ARI MEYERS). Ha! She lives on in crosswords thanks to the grid-friendliness of ARI, but is scarcely famous enough to rate the full-name treatment here. She played the daughter of...either Kate or Allie. I think she went to Yale. In 1990, she was in a dreadful-looking primate horror movie starring Christopher Atkins, called Shakma, and this trailer mentions her Kate & Allie fame. Watch this trailer only if you don't mind ridiculous, unclear monkey fight scenes:

  • 32D: Kangaroo, for one: Abbr. (CAPT). Captain Kangaroo! His friend, Mr. Green Jeans? When I was a preschooler, I called him Mr. Green Beans.
Until Wednesday, watch out for rogue firecrackers and don't set off any fireworks in the blog. If you burn this place down over the weekend, you're definitely getting grounded.

Everything Else — 10A: Trail (LAG); 14A: Radio Dr. (LAURA); 17A: Footnote abbr. (OP CIT); 18A: Sine's reciprocal, briefly (COSEC); 19A: Start to sort out, as stored boxes (UNPILE); 20A: __-dieu (PRIE); 23A: Opaque vase material (MILK GLASS); 25A: Landlord (LESSOR); 28A: Very wide size (EEEE); 30A: Fuzz site (PEACH); 33A: Humane Soc. ally (SPCA); 41A: Times for basking au soleil (ÉTÉS); 42A: Hotel courts (ATRIA); 43A: Videotape format (VHS); 46A: "No way!" ("MY FOOT!"); 53A: Literary governess (EYRE); 54A: Melodic (ARIOSO); 55A: Seasonal number (CAROL); 58A: Con game (BUNKO); 64A: Like a house on the market, often (REPAINTED); 65A: Arctic explorer John (RAE); 1D: Medicinal amt. (TSP); 2D: Spanish diminutive suffix (-ITA); 3D: Hanoi holiday (TET); 4D: Satire relatives (FARCES); 6D: Sorority letters (RHOS); 7D: Carved pole (TOTEM); 8D: Bari buddies (AMICI); 9D: Dick (TEC); 10D: St. __: Caribbean island state (LUCIA); 11D: Seed coverings (ARILS); 12D: Frequent swingers? (GATES); 14D: 1962 WWII epic, with "The" (LONGEST DAY); 19D: The sopranino is the smallest one (UKE); 20D: Surveyor's map (PLAT); 21D: Do a smith's job (RESHOE); 22D: Remains (IS LEFT); 24D: Satirical songwriter Tom who wrote "The Masochism Tango" (LEHRER); 26D: Time for hunting (OPEN SEASON); 27D: Abbr. stamped on an invoice (RECD); 31D: The Rays' div. (A.L. EAST); 34D: Military escort (CONVOY); 35D: News coordinator (ANCHOR); 38D: Lively, in mus. (ANIM); 40D: Town near Padua (ESTE); 45D: Tomas's "that" (ESO); 47D: Fraud, usually (FELONY); 48D: Cavalry weapon (SABER); 49D: Oranjestad's island (ARUBA); 50D: Eschew the soap (RINSE); 51D: More distant (ICIER); 52D: Wrist bones (CARPI); 56D: Chew (out) (REAM); 57D: Boo-boo, in kidspeak (OWIE); 59D: Brother (FRA); 60D: Shortcut, e.g.: Abbr. (RTE); 61D: Plop preceder (KER); 62D: Campus activist org. reformed in 2006 (SDS).


imsdave said...

What a great puzzle. Nice of it to include The LONGESTDAY which has an all-star cast, headed by John Wayne depicting D-Day from both the Allied and German perspectives. Mr. Wayne always invokes a PATRIOTIC feeling in me.

Rex Parker said...

You forgot GALLIMAUFRY in your list of OLIO clues/synonyms.

Finding today's holiday puzzles a little bland/predictable, though this one is nicely executed. Are APPLE PIE and DIET COKE really supposed to be theme answers, because ... I'll give you COKE, but DIET COKE? That, I will not give.


gjelizabeth said...

I agree, a fun start to the Fourth! I enjoyed picking out the extra theme bits. I found STEALHOME a nice baseball companion for APPLEPIE but searched fruitlessly for a "Mom" reference to round it out. MILKGLASS immediately brings "American Colonial-style" decor to mind and the mutiple military answers, SABRE, CONVOY, LONGESTDAY, all bring to mind our foundations in war. I even counted ANCHOR as a nod to our Navy. Finally, "American" is hidden in ASL, for which "Manual transmissions? Abbr." was a PEACH of a clue!

Jeffrey said...

EBSEN and Dr. LAURA are also theme answers, I believe.

Don't know Tom LEHRER, but Jim LEHRER used to do the MacNeil/Lehrer report on PBS, and Robert MacNeil is Canadian.

CAPT Kangaroo is American. We had Mr. Dressup and the Friendly Giant. Remember that next July 1.

Carol said...

Pretty good puzzle! Liked the ASL clue even though I didn't get it until getting to your blog. Strange as I have a friend whose daughter-in-law uses ASL and she learned it to be able to communicate better. Talk about a great mother-in-law!

Was surprised that medicinal amt. turned out to be TSP. Thought it would be something, well, more Latinish.

Joon said...

crosscan, tom LEHRER! the masochism tango isn't my favorite of his songs, but try out his elements song, the vatican rag, fight fiercely harvard, or poisoning pigeons in the park. great stuff. i'm pretty sure i clued the same LEHRER in my CHE puzzle this past march.


Awww...Mister Green Beans... how cute! So now, Orange, I've figured out your age.

This, is the best puzzle so far this year. Loved the theme, loved the clues, loved Orange's writeup, and hey, I love this country! What can I say more?

Oh, and you missed my favorite food word "salmagundi" for OLIO (5d). A lot of what I cook turns out to be called salmagundi.

I was totally baffled by why ASL (29a) resulted from manual transmissions, until I came to this blog.

Didn't know that Diet Coke is only 27 years old. Seems like we've been drinking that for a century.

I keep running into PRIE-DIEU (20a) in crosswords, but I still haven't the foggiest what it means. Anyone? Anyone?

I hope the L. A. Times (aka Chicago Tribune) features more of Dan Naddor's constuctions.

Anonymous said...

A prie-dieu is a kneeling bench with a rack attached at the top for a book. Used for kneeling to say prayers. From the French prier(pray) dieu (God). A fun puzzle!

PuzzleGirl said...

@Crosscan: Joon beat me to it. Run — don't walk — to YouTube and check out Tom Lehrer. The only two I can sing along with from start to finish are The Vatican Rag, and New Math. I'm off to check out the others Joon mentioned....

Dan Naddor said...

Hi everyone. Glad you guys enjoyed and found "themage" all over my puzzle. Most of the secondary entries were pure luck. Other than the stacked D of I, PATRIOTIC and FIREWORKS, the rest were simply to solidify the fill and minimize the word count. Rex, DIET COKE wasn't intended as theme, just a juicy entry.


Orange said...

I wasn't thinking DIET COKE was thematic, but then I saw the 7/4 clue and plunked it into the theme column. Hey, I've already had one can of DC to celebrate the holiday today. Happy birthday, Diet Coke!

Jeffrey said...

Ok, I had seen the Elements but didn't know his name. Thanks to the Prince and Princess of Crossworld for the education.

john farmer said...

The clue in the paper copy (LAT) just said "July 1982" so I never thought DIET COKE was tied to the theme. But it is a lively entry, like so many other things in the grid. Very nice work fitting in the central 14s with a minimum of iffy stuff (ISLEFT, e.g.), especially with the low word count and expanded dimensions.

I don't think we'd seen a puzzle from Dan Naddor all month, so I guess we were overdue. ;-) Dan's not only prolific (most other constructors are slackers in comparison), but consistently good, and it's always fun to see a puzzle with his byline.

Charlie said...

OLIO is covered, yet OLEO is pictured. Is OLEO an OLIO of plant fats and fatty acids?

Anonymous said...

Was going along just fine until I ran into 19 D Soprianino. Couldn't quite figure out 28A Exee. Because a soprianino is a saxophone not a uke, then figured it must be a mistake or I'm missing something. Golfballman.

Anonymous said...

How great to have the the Tom LEHRER clue on the Fourth of July! He certainly represents the right of freedom of speech and the American satirical eye on politics, religion, and society. Just this week I hear a character on a NCIS rerun sing his Elements song. A Harvard educated Phi Beta Kappa mathematician and musician, he has long been a role model for younger lampooners of life.

Anonymous said...

Trying to get ready for 25 guests so my hurried comments above hade one too many "the"s and "hear" should be "heard". Sorry!

Anonymous said...

And "hade" above should be "had". I'm quitting now!

Anonymous said...

I loved this puzzle! The words seemed to just fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. Almost flubbed the southeast corner, but after a second cup of morning joe, I made it through. Happy 4th to all!

Gary Lowe said...

It solved kinda funny for me - I had the top and bottom complete, and almost nothing in the middle. It seemed isolated from the rest of puzzle. Not really being tuned in to July 4, "historic birth announcement" was no help.
MILK GLASS is new to me. AMICI seems to be begging for an H. BUNKO seems to want a C instead of K, but I see where K is used as well.

So without knowing MILKGLASS, the tough clue for UKE was a hard stop in heading into the center.

Overall I enjoyed the puzzle, I just wish I could have finished it.

shrub5 said...

Happy Fourth, everyone!
I'm kinda afraid to ask this but could someone explain 9D) Dick = tec to me? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I believe that TEC is short for DETECTIVE.

Gareth Bain said...

The two 14's are just sublime! And yes John, he and BEQ produce a scary number of crosswords

mac said...

What a nice puzzle! This is an altogether wonderful 4th of July!
Funny how aril showed up here. I had a little slow-down in that corner, with op.cit., unpile and gates. I liked the glass of milk crossing the apple pie!
Now I'm going to check out Tom Lehrer, thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Lynda RN said...

Loved the puzzle but also had trouble and slow-down like @mac above. Got me off to a good start this morning. Mom beat me to the finish of the puzzle though - ugh! Thanks, Dan, for a fun puzzle. Will look for your name more.
Happy July 4th everyone! I was off to the beach but cleaned house for company tonight. Always have Sunday for the beach. Enjoy fireworks if your location has any if not they are always on the tube.
Lynda RN

gjelizabeth said...

Oh, must add 20D "Surveyor's Map": PLAT as a theme answer. George Washington started his adult life as a surveyor. I enjoyed a wonderful Fourth at "Night at the Museum: Smithsonion". Felt it was appropriate to spend our Nation's birthday rummaging around in our "Nation's Attic". Happy weekend!