Thursday, July 4, 2024

BEQ tk (Darby) 

 


LAT 5:47 (Gareth) 

 


NYT 8:17 (ZDL) 

 


Universal tk (Sophia) 

 


USA Today 10:24 (Emily) 

 


Fireball untimed (Jenni) 

 

Note: No WSJ puzzle due to the holiday.


Joe Rodini’s Fireball Crossword, “Nature of the Beast” – Jenni’s write-up

I almost missed the complexity of this theme. It’s so much more than I originally noticed.

There are four theme answers, or so I thought.

Fireball Crossword, July 3, 2024, Joe Rodini, “Nature of the Beast,” solution grid

  • 11d [Creature that uses camouflage and electrosensors] is a LEMON SHARK.
  • 17a [Passover condiment] is HORSERADISH.
  • 27a [Mascot of the University of California, Santa Cruz] is the BANANA SLUG.
  • 61a [Shrub of the Pacific Coast] is the SALMONBERRY.

That’s fun! Each one has a plant and an animal. The Down answers have the plant first and the Across answers have the animal first. Cute! But wait! there’s more! 40a is [This puzzle’s theme]. I filled it in from crossings and got FLORA. Hmm. Seems like that’s only half of it. So I looked for the other half – and it’s right there. 29d [Thrash] can be BEAT or BELT. 30d [Outcompete, in a way] can be  TROMP or TRUMP and 35d [Some bank deposits] can be ONES or ORES, which means the theme is both FLORA and FAUNA. So good!

A few other things:

  • 1a [Creator of Flanders] is DEFOE. Moll Flanders. Sometimes that English degree comes in handy.
  • 6a [Cutesy farewells] is TATAS, which is clunky and oh so much better than the slang for breasts. Thank you.
  • 21a [Oscar-winning role for Hoffman] is CAPOTE. Philip Seymour, not Dustin.
  • We get [___ Minor] twice: URSA and ASIA.
  • SKOSH is a fun word.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: never heard of the SALMONBERRY. Also never heard of RENE Caovilla.

Adam Vincent’s New York Times crossword — Zachary David Levy’s write-up

Difficulty: Easy (8m17s)

Adam Vincent’s New York Times crossword, 7/4/24, 0704

Today’s theme: HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT (“Get ready!” … or what to do upon hearing the ends of the answers to the starred clues?)

  • BOR ohhhhhh
  • SEN sayyyyyy
  • SPO cannnnn
  • MIL youuuuu
  • ODY seeeeeee

The subtle vexillography in the grid art is a nice touch.  May your grommets be strong and your finials be glorious — so says the Flag Day card I’ll be sending out this holiday season, because I’m an iconoclast.  I’m also not West Coast-adjacent enough to remember that they don’t pronounce it SPO kane, so I sat there for a minute trying to parse uff say kane yoo si-see?

Cracking: here’s to my favorite MOORISH beauty, the Royal Hawaiian, Pink Palace of the Pacific, and the most iconic architecture in Waikiki beach (or Oahu in general)

Slacking: EGGIEST IPSEGAD thats UGLY

Sidetracking: the best version of the ODYSSEY

Jared Goudsmit’s USA Today Crossword, “USA Today” — Emily’s write-up

Happy 4th!

Completed USA Today crossword for Thursday July 04, 2024


USA Today, July 04, 2024, “USA Today” by Jared Goudsmit

Theme: the themers end in –YOU, –ESS, and –EH (sounding like USA)

Themers:

  • 17a. [“Enough! We aren’t buddies anymore!”], IVEHADITWITHYOU
  • 36a. [“I Am Not This Body” photographer], BARBARAESS
  • 48a. [“So we’re dealing with a real smart aleck, hm?”], OHAWISEGUYEH

The themer set today includes IVEHADITWITHYOU, BARBARAESS, and OHAWISEGUYEH. h/t to Sally for her write-up that clued me in on the theme.

Favorite fill: FREESPIRITS, SNOWSUITS, GAYBORHOOD, and AMELIAEARHART

Stumpers: SESH (needed crossings) and OTOE (new to me)

Enjoyed the grid and flow of the puzzle today.  Everything was crossed fairly so though it took me a bit longer than usual, nothing was too tricky. Lots of wonderful bonus too!

For everyone celebrating the 4th of July–have fun and stay safe!

4.0 stars

~Emily

Tom Pepper & Zhouqin Burnikel’s LA Times Crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times
240704

Tom Pepper & Zhouqin Burnikel’s puzzle involves adding the bigram YO to four entries. Oddly, there is no cute explaining answer anywhere I can find…

  • [Hatha to Ashtanga?], YO.GASRANGE. I didn’t know Ashtanga was a form of yoga.
  • [Stuffed teddies that look like a green Jedi master?], YO.DABEARS. Da Bears seems to be a nickname for the Chicago Bears?
  • [Tex-Mex snack that improves the performance of an Alpine singer?], YO.DELTACO. Had to remind myself what Del Taco was, not a car part chain. Can’t figure what I was thinking of…
  • [Dice toss style named after a “Hamlet” jester?], YO.RICKROLL

The one advantage of no cutesy explanatory entry is an old-school count of 38 thematic letters, so there’s more space for the rest of the puzzle. Fun answers included BANANAPEEL, LEAPFROG, TURFTOE and GOAWRY

Bullets:

  • [Writer Mary who specializes in popular science], ROACH. I’m mostly familiar with her 90’s Reader’s Digest columns, which, at least initially, were more general humour.
  • [Toe bean locale], PAW. I’m so weirdly pleased to see the phrase “toe bean” get crossword puzzle stamp of approval. It is often repeated to the tune of “Jolene”…
  • [Condition often treated with ERP], OCD. Apparently that’s “exposure and response prevention”
  • [__ Spunkmeyer cookies], OTIS. That sounds… soggy and unappealing.

Gareth

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Thursday, July 4, 2024

  1. Dan says:

    NYT: I have no idea what the theme was, but I have zero motivation to learn what it was.

    (The only themes I care about are ones that affect solving, and this didn’t.)

    • Martin says:

      I loved it because it makes people pronounce “Spokane” correctly.

      • Katie says:

        True that. :-]
        (If you get the theme, anyway…)

        • Katie says:

          I liked this a lot (and was wary of posting spoilers). When I saw the grid, I was reminded of Evan Birnholz’ WaPo, this last Sunday (with similar symmetry, so you’re thinking “something interesting is up here”, maybe with a one-two punch deal??)

          But – I also empathize that many people will not be “tickled” by that… First, get the theme revealer – then – wait for it, look for it, uh – AHA! – ohhhh, neato! – on the right side. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

          Happy 4th, everyone!

      • Dallas says:

        Had to come here to get the theme… it didn’t help with my solving since I didn’t get it; I made the mistake of trying to do something with just the letters in grey, as opposed to the *sounds* in the grey… pretty cute! Happy 4th of July everybody!

    • rob says:

      NYT: Even after finishing the puzzle and reading ZDL’s write-up and these comments , I still have no idea what the theme is. Could someone please enlighten me? Much appreciated!

      • pannonica says:

        -OUGH -SEI -KANE -IEU -SSEY

        Those syllables, as pronounced in their host words, render phonetically the opening of “The Star Spangled Banner”. It’s customary to remove one’s hat for the recitation of the national anthem.

    • JohnH says:

      It was pretty much a themeless puzzle for me, too, which isn’t to my taste, although I know plenty here prefer it that way. Maybe if we still wore hats and so held them to our chest rather than a palm (or maybe not even that), I’d have seen what’s going on earlier. Nice use of the grid, though.

  2. pannonica says:

    NYT: A real “that’s it?” experience.

    • PJ says:

      Let’s break out the booze and have a ball

    • marciem says:

      +1

      Not a terrible solve overall but, on getting the theme… as you said.. “That’s it?”

      (hated “awardee” as clued… not incorrect but who says that? “…And the AWARDEE is…” nope)

    • Gary R says:

      I think it would have been better if this puzzle had run last year, when the 4th was on a Tuesday. The theme is cute, but a little disappointing for a Thursday puzzle.

      I thought the fill was pretty good, but I wish the cluing had been a little more challenging.

      • DougC says:

        +1. A near PB for me. Cute, but really, really easy.

      • JohnH says:

        It wasn’t Tuesday level for me at all, but maybe it I’d been to Six Flags, fed a baby, knew more about Aussies and flycatchers, etc. and pronounced MILEU differently. Oh, do peepers other than eyes normally make a sound? I stared at that one once a got it for a long time.

        • sanfranman59 says:

          Spring peepers (frogs) sure do! They’re quite pervasive in the eastern half of the US. Also, if you “make a peep”, you make a sound and you might be called a peeper.

    • Katie says:

      @pannonica: LOL. Again, I empathize with anyone’s opinions here!

      After the solve, I was confused on the unusual grid symmetry. Was/is it supposed to look like something? (Like – um – a flag? With stripes? and/or a flag pole?) Um. Just a sec…

      [Going to Wordplay here – brb…] Ah, yes. Constructor note sez: “Out of the variations I tried, I liked this layout the best because it resulted in the cleanest fill and also (to my eyes) it sort of evokes a waving flag.”

      Sort of? [Or not?] What do you think?? (Maybe the grid needed to turn red and white, vs black and white, after the solve?)

  3. David L says:

    As is so often the case, a puzzle that depends on pronunciation causes some problems. I say the -OUGH of BOROUGH as a schwa and the -IEO of MILIEU in Frenchy style, so those two didn’t quite work. But I understand that typical American pronunciation would be different.

    64A: I don’t understand how ‘register’ means REALIZE. If you realize something, you might say it registers on you, but the words are not interchangeable, to my mind. Is there a different meaning I’m missing?

    Oh, and ‘Ohio’ looks like a tractor? ORLY? There’s even a picture on the NYT website but I can’t see the resemblance.

    • pannonica says:

      register is an intransitive verb as well as a transitive one.

      • something like this?

      • David L says:

        That’s pretty good with the tractor illustration but it’s not something I would have ever come up with.

        I still don’t understand the register-realize equivalence. I registered to vote. The covid test registered a positive result. Realize doesn’t work in either of those.

    • Eric H. says:

      The picture of a tractor accompanying the Wordplay needs to be flopped so that the rear wheels are on the left. As it is, it depicts ohiO (and it still takes some imagination).

    • huda says:

      @ David L. I’m with you re pronunciation, plus I have an accent and learned French as a child, way before English. So, MILIEU in my mind absolutely doesn’t rhyme with “you”. And I sort of knew there were 2 ways to say SPOKANE, but when highlighted like this, it definitely read like citizen Kane.
      I think your take on register/realize is correct— seems to be a type of tricky cluing, to focus on a very specific, sometimes rare, meaning where 2 words intersect.

      • Martin says:

        Huda,

        Respectively, there is only one way to say Spokane.

        • Gary R says:

          Respectfully, two ways – right way, wrong way. ;-)

          • huda says:

            Haha, I’m sure that’s true. It’s just that both were options in my head…

            • Gary R says:

              I think there are other Spokanes in the U.S. (though the clue clearly refers to the one in Washington), and it’s possible some of the others use a different pronunciation.

              Don’t know if Ann Arbor is close enough that you ever hear of CharLOTTE, Michigan.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      FWIW, I spent my first 22 years and my last 4 living in Ohio, but had no idea what the tractor clue meant. I even asked Mom about it and she’s lived all of her nearly 86 years here and didn’t know what it meant either.

      OTOH, it only took a moment or two for me to register that register can be a synonym for REALIZE.

  4. Katie says:

    Ohio — Interesting this is a recent reddit thread. (Coincidence?)
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Ohio/comments/1drq737/the_word_ohio_looks_like_a_tractor/

  5. Gumby says:

    NYT. Had absolutely no clue what was going on and had to read about it here and then felt like HUH? Oh well. Whatever. Not my favorite.

  6. Lesie says:

    I don’t know if anyone will see this, or reply, but crumb … I really wish I could figure it out, or if someone would explain to me, the theme of July 4 Universal crossword Head of State By Ricky Sirois??? It’s driving me nuts. Many thanks!

    • Jim Peredo says:

      Theme answers are SCRAP METAL, MOTOWN RECORDS, and INSIDE JOBS. Each one starts with a two-letter state abbreviation which is hinted at by the cities in the clues.

      SCRAP METAL should be read as SC (South Carolina) RAP-METAL clued as [Fusion genre popular in Myrtle Beach and Charleston?].

      MO (Missouri) TOWN RECORDS is clued as [Census data from Columbia and Joplin?].

      IN (Indiana) SIDE JOBS is clued [Part-time opportunities for residents of Fort Wayne and Muncie?]

  7. Leslie says:

    PS: Typo on my name … I meant to type Leslie

  8. Leslie says:

    Jim Peredo,
    You’re an absolute saint. Thank you so much. I woulda never figured it. I’m usually pretty good at getting the theme, but I had a block on this one. You explained it beautifully. You’re a doll.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *