Jul 4, 2008

Friday July 4, 2008 John Underwood

Theme: INDEPENDENCE DAY (17A: Today)

27A: Today's celebrant: THE UNITED STATES

46A: Today's colors: RED WHITE AND BLUE

61A: Today's song: GOD BLESS AMERICA

Were John Underwood a woman, I would shout "BRAVA" (16A) to him for this great puzzle. Wow, look at those 15-letter theme answers running through the grid, amazing!

Both OBSERVE (45D: Keep an eye on) and TGIF (52D: End-of-the-week cheer) are brilliant answers for today in my opinion. And Shish KEBAB (57A: Food on a stick) is an ideal grilled dish to be served on the 4th of July. Large shrimps, bell pepper cubes & chunks of fresh pineapple on a skewer, hmmm, delicious!

It's also nice to see both MOM (63D: May honoree) and DAD (23A: Father) appear in the same grid, but why DAD is not clued as "June honoree"? I like the way FREEMAN intersects INDEPENDENCE DAY, and BAD IDEA (7D: I wouldn't, if I were you) balances out WE'LL SEE (44D). Very nice.

I hate the clues for OATS (45A: Feedbag contents) due to FEEDS (67A: Flows into) and BIEN (58D: Well in France) because of WE'LL SEE (44D). "Très BIEN" would be parfait!

New words/names to me today: ELISA, ARPEL, BRAVA, ERI TU & RAYE.


1A: Normandy town: ST. LO. Reagan's (or rather Peggy Noonan's) patriotic masterpiece D-Day "The Boys of Pointe du Hoc" speech popped into my mind earlier this morning: "...These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war..." Look, Pointe du Hoc is so close to ST. LO & Caen.

14A: Dnieper port: KIEV. I've never heard of the Dnieper River before. But KIEV is easily obtainable here.

15A: Gentleman caller: BEAU. I don't get this one. "Caller", what does that mean? (Update later: "Gentleman caller" is "an old-fashioned term for boyfriend").

16A: Soprano's accolade: BRAVA. New to me, I always thought the exclamation "Bravo" applies to both male and female.

20A: Wisdom unit?: PEARL. PEARL of Wisdom. Bernard-Henri Lévy had a very interesting take on "Who killed Daniel PEARL?". Lévy's "J'accuse" sometimes can be very overwhelming.

21A: Queen of Carthage: DIDO. Same clue on June 9 puzzle. Here is DIDO & Youssou N'Dour's Live 8 (2005) "Thank you".

22A: Slack off: EASE. The opposite of yesterday's "MAL dans sa peau" (Ill at EASE) is "BIEN (58D) dans sa peau".

37A: Permission doc.: LIC (License). I was misled into thinking of some doctor rather than document.

42A: Immunoassay diagnostic: ELISA ( Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay). Absolutely no idea. What an intimidating clue! If ELISA is an acronym, why there is no hint in the clue?

50A: Adrien of cosmetics: ARPEL. I am not familiar with this brand or the person at all. Pieced the answer together from down clues.

51A: Greek letters: XIS

69A: Tight positions?: ENDS. I like how this answer ENDS the grid.


3D: Swan's mate of myth: LEDA. Mother of Helen of Troy.

4D: Outstanding: OVERDUE

8D: Made to resemble nappy leather: SUEDED. Did not know that SUEDE can also be a verb.

10D: Actor Morgan: FREEMAN. My favorite FREEMAN movie is "The Shawshank Redemption". What's yours? Oh, I also like his "Million Dollar Baby" and "March of the Penguins".

13D: "Big Mouth" Martha: RAYE. I filled in ROYE as I got BRAVO for 16A. I sure have difficulty remembering her name. Why was she called "Big Mouth" Martha? I want a Big Bertha.

27D: 10th President: TYLER (John). I tend to confuse him with the 12th President Zachary Taylor.

28D: Selassie of Ethiopia: HAILE. Know him due to my love for Bob Marley.

29D: Spanish national hero: EL CID. I like how TYLER, HAILE and EL CID are stacked together.

32D: "Un Ballo in Maschera" aria: ERI TU. No idea. Strung the answer together from across clues. Here is Leo Nucci's ERI TU.

40D: Wildcat: LYNX. Obviously our Minnesota LYNX (WNBA) is not good enough to be clued.

43D: Used a Q-tip: SWABBED

47D: __dixt: IPSE. And another Latin phrase: 19D: Sine qua __(essential things): NONS

59D: LSD, to users: ACID. CNN had a very interesting news segment on the "Magic Mushroom LSD effect" the other day. Sounds very intriguing. Too bad, "Magic Mushroom" is banned in the US.

Happy 17A everyone!



Anonymous said...

Beau is French for boyfriend, according to Webster.

Anonymous said...

A 'gentelman caller' was an old-fashioned term for boyfriend.

C.C. Burnikel said...

I know what "BEAU" means, but I had no idea that "gentleman caller" means boyfriend also. Thank you.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Are ELISA & ERI TU gimmes to you? Does the clue for 42A sound OK to you?

Katherine said...

Good morning CC, and everyone else.
I thought it was a good puzzle today too. I didn't get the NW corner, except Stlo. I also did not know Elisa or Eri Tu.
Back in the day, your "beau" "called on" or came to see you or visit you.
I also never heard of Dido, or Youssou Ndour, but when I watched the video I recognized the song, and never knew she was the person who sang that song.
Adrien Arpel has been around a long time, but you don't hear much about her products anymore. There are too many new ones out there.
Shawshank Redemption is also one of my favorite movies. I can watch that one over and over again.
Martha Raye literally had a very large mouth. She was a funny lady.
I hope everyone has a nice day today. It is a little cool here. How is where you are CC?

Katherine said...

Oops, another typo, I meant to ask how is it where you are CC?

Kim said...

Good Morning everyone! We've got a baby! Early Monday morning an 8 1/2 lb baby girl!

I have 4 days to catch up on, I did today and loved it! Had a little trouble in the upper left, but evidentually got it. In Maryland we'll have rain for this weekend, hope no one else does! Have a great 4th, and God Bless America!

Katherine said...

Kim, congrats on the new baby. She is adorable. Is this your first grandchild? I have 3.
That's too bad you are going to be having rain.
Enjoy the little one.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Hi Katherine,
I googled RAYE. Her mouth did not seem to be that big to me. We've been having absolutely beautiful weather here in MN.

Congratulations on the baby. Has she got a name yet?

Kim said...


It's my second, but my grandson is 11, so he's definitely not a baby anymore! The outfit she came home from the hospital in was the same one that my daughter did 25 years ago!!!! We are blessed!

flyingears said...

c.c., I believe you are right about BRAVO. I always used it no matter sex. The use of Brava in Spanish refers as a female dog (una perra brava) or a cat (una gata brava) or a tough lady (una señora brava) but in Italian opera???

Katherine said...

CC, you would have to see Martha Raye perform, when she made certain expressions, her mouth was large, but you probably would not notice it just looking at a picture.

Jeanne said...

Happy 4th to all,
elisa and eri tu were certainly not gimmes to me. Would have been able to get them faster if I had spelled Haile correctly the first time around.
Kim: congrats on your granddaughter. She's adorable. Makes me even more anxious for our first grandchild in October. Please give me some hints. It has been so long.
C.C.: Shawshank is one of my favorites, too. Just watched "The Great Debaters" from Netflix. Loved the movie; just wasn't a great time in our history. Very inspiring.
We are having rain today,too. But we really need it so I'm not complaining.

Kim said...

Hailey Elizabeth!

Jeanne, so much has changed (or what is allowed anymore). They can't sleep on their stomachs, no food for a long time, but most of it just comes flooding back. I hope you get see the birth, even though I've had 3, I've never gotten the chance to experience it from the other side! You will bawl your eyes out!

melissa bee said...

good morning c.c. and all,

i did this one online today since my paper is not yet here. got it all but had trouble with the e-words, elcid, elisa, and eritu.

in 5th grade i had to memorize the presidents in order. a family friend helped me by making up several stories using the names. i can still rattle them off and vaguely remember a story about tyler po(l)king taylor and pierce needing to fillmore with a cannon (buchanan) and somehow ending up with lincoln. it didn't seem risque at the time .. but i was 12.

@kim: congratulations!

KittyB said...

Good Morning, CC and all. Happy Fourth!

Yea, Baby!! What a cutie. Congrats, Kim. I know you'll enjoy your time with her.

c.c., I haven't googled or surfed to back it up, but I've always used the "a" ending for "Brava" for a woman's performance.

I have to admit that Eri Tu didn't ring a bell for me, but I plead being a wind musician rather than a vocalist.

Dido made me think of "Dido and Aeneas" the opera by Henry Purcell, and a more obscure version of "Leda and the Swan" is a tone poem by Robert Aldridge, so there's a subtle opera theme behind this puzzle.

Elisa totally escaped me, but came with the perps.

I really liked this puzzle, except for 68A "Hemline". A seam is created when two (or more) pieces of fabric are sewn together. A Hem is the result of turning a piece of fabric up and sewing it to itself. I muttered for a while after that clue fell in place.

It's beautiful in the Chicago suburbs. We expect cool mornings and sunny afternoons for the entire weekend. I hope you all have a great day!

NYTAnonimo said...

Another nice writeup cc. I did not know about BRAVA either. ELISA was not new to me as I used to work in a lab that did the test. Does seem like there should've been a hint to use of an abbreviation though. Also not familiar with the use of suede as a verb. Took a little hunting to find
SUEDED online. I like almost all Morgan Freeman movies.
An Unfinished Life, The Bucket List, Shawshank Redemption-just a few-he has done an unbelievable amount of quality work.

From the Marine's Prayer a thought for this 4th of July:

If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.

Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.

Congrats Kim!

Bill said...

Slow going today.17, 27, 46 and 61a were great fills. Without them it would have been a lot worse.
21a and 19d; 47d and 50a; 42a; No idea! was close with 32d but memory went missing with 41a.
Except for 41a (which I forgot) the others were new to me. Have a great holiday. We'll be preparing for Sat's back yard party.
BTW you're all invited.....We'll start about Noon!!!!!
Email for directions!!!!!

NYTAnonimo said...


Barry G. said...

Morning, folks!

Quick and easy puzzle for me today. There were a few answers I didn't get immediately (KIEV, ELISA, ERI TU), but only one I had never actually heard of before (ARPEL). Everything else was pretty much a gimme. I figured out the theme right off the bat and was able to fill in the long theme answers with no help from the perps. It's nice to feel smart for a change.... ^_^

And that's it for me. Gotta go get ready for the big barbecue today (weather permitting). And yes, I am grilling asparagus again!

Happy 4th of July, all!

Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - little late this morning; got a bike ride in before the coming rain. We're supposed to have rain off and on until Monday, dammit.

I really enjoyed this puzzle, probably because of the patriotic theme. Everything flowed well, and the perps gave me the couple I'd not heard of. C.C., as others have said, the terms "come calling" and "beau" are familiar to those of us with some age behind us.
Words I didn't know:
Eri Tu

Kim, congratulations! She's a beauty.

nytanonimo, good to see the Marine's Prayer again - we had to memorize it in boot camp. Were you in?

I hope everyone has an outstanding Fourth and a great 3-day weekend....and better weather than here.

NYTAnonimo said...

Wasn't in the Marines Dennis. Came across those lines in my reading and thought it worth saving and sharing. Appreciate the service of those who have served though. Many thanks to you and them.

lois said...

Good morning CC & DF's: NW corner got me and I agree w/kittyb. A hemline is not a seam -68A. However 69A raised my eyebrows, and then here comes 'teases'. OK! I'm off to save a the horse.

Kim: congratulations! She is beautiful! Love her outfit too.

I like Morgan Freeman in anything.

It's another gorgeous day here. Happy 4th to all.

KittyB said...

Ditto what nytanonimo said at 8:21. For those of you who have served in the armed forces, thanks for protecting our country.

nytanonimo, I love the Marine's Prayer. Thanks for posting it.

MH said...

Easy breezy with the patriotic theme helping fill in the perps that were harder to get. Had some trouble in the NW until I got overdue then everything fell into place. Like most everyone else, I didn't know Elisa or eritu but got them from the perps. Happy 4th to all - beautiful weather here in the Bay Area of N. Calif. We're up in SF this evening to watch fireworks over the bay.

carol said...

Good Morning C.C.and everyone:
I like this one but did not know 42A, 19D or 32D. No other trouble. Some clever clues for a change.

Kim, congratulations on that little cutie!!

melissa bee, Funny!! Risque indeedy-do - wait for Lois to read that!!

Bill, I know you mean "See Ya" when you sign off as "CYA", but (no pun intended), it also means "cover you r ass"!! :0:)

Anonymous said...

appy Fourth everyone.
I wonder why we so often see the same clue or answer two days in a row. Anais Nin was in only a couple of days ago.
Those of us who are regular opera goers know that Brava is used for females. I was surprised the first time I heard it, but it does make sense.
I agree that hem is not a seam.
ELISA is an acromym, not an abbreviation.

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning, everyone. Nice puzzle today. Loved the long themed answers and just sped through, although not in personal record time. My new words/names today were ELISA, FREEMAN, ERI TU. C.C., if you ever saw Martha Raye, you'd know why she is referenced as "Big Mouth." I've never seen a human being with such a large bouche! Kim, congratulations, granny!! Happy and sane 4th to all!

Bill said...

Me, too! I figure, if the shoe fits, wear it!!!
There are some here that might need to do just that when Lois is through with her journey.
When her life calms a little, she'll be back with a score to settle!!!

And, Lois, I know where you are in life. We had my Mom registered in a nursing home a month ago. It was getting too hard for to keep up with her changing health here at home. She's 94 and is slowly leaning toward dementia.
So, from one who knows, best wishes.

carol said...

Bill, sorry about my "poking fun" but you understand!! Hope your Mother is doing well now. I have been down that road and it is not an easy one. You are lucky to have had her for so long as I am sure you know!!

Anonymous said...

cannot get 5A 5D 6D, new at please

Dennis said...

anon @12:34 - 5A, orbs, 5D OBE, 6D rend.

Anonymous said...

From Barb B

I've been lurking for a while now. Melissa B got me addicted to crosswords via this blog. Love it, and all of you. Still slow solving the puzzles, but am learning a lot.

I can't resist sharing a Martha Raye clip - she was fantastic - a fellow df!

Dennis said...

barb, welcome - and if you're a friend of melissa bee's, you really didn't need to say you were a dysfunctional...

KittyB said...

bill, carol and lois, I see that you may have advice for me, one day. Mom's in a nursing home following a seizure. We hope she will be returning home, with some assistance. She's 91, and I know the day will come that we won't be able to care for her at home. For now, I'm content that she is improving and that we might have a little more time together.

I hope you are all adjusting. Have a good Fourth!

NYTAnonimo said...

Two nice 4th of July puzzles from John Underwood today-he constructed the NYT commemorative also.

Thanks for the enjoyable xwords John!

melissa bee said...

@barb b: i knew i'd getcha

carol said...

Barb B, welcome to our crazy group and I echo Dennis' comment, you will fit right in if you are a friend of Melissa bee. :)

Kitty B, Stay brave! If your Mom doesn't have dementia, count your blessings that she still knows you and the family. I hope she will be able to come home with you soon. It is a precious time you have now, treasure it. I still miss my Mom every day and she passed away in 2000 at the age of 86.

lois said...

Bill: You are so sweet. Thank you for the best wishes. I'm sorry about your mom. I wish you the best as well.

Kittyb: I'm glad your mom is improving. I'll keep you in my thoughts as well.

Carol: thank you for everything here and there as well.

It's definately a new wrinkle in life. Although, things are not always as bad as they seem. I got checked out and winked at by a tall stately, nice looking older man who looked like he was quite together when my sister and I were at the 'home'. He looked like he was ripe for the pluckin'. So, the Army, Nat'l Guard, and the cowboys here may all be relieved (or saddened) that I've found a new playground..a new field to cobs to shuck...the greatest generation will have another opportunity to prove themselves. I just don't want to make a killing, so to speak. I'll have to slow down to 80 maybe, but the prospects are interesting. Who knew! Just gotta find that silver lining!

Welcome Barb! Any friend of Melissabee is a friend of ours..dysfunctional is taken for granted.

C.C. Burnikel said...

That's a great way to remember the order of those presidents, thank you.

Thanks for the opera sub-theme tip. Just found out that DIDO is also known as ELISSA, one letter away from ELISA.

Great prayer, thank you.

Have a great Party!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Re:"BEAU": Thank you.

Many thanks for pointing out my ELISA abbreviation mistake. You are absolutely right, it's an acronym.

Barb B,

C.C. Burnikel said...

When did you see RAYE?

Anonymous said...

Great blog! Very helpful, thank you for the hard work.