Monday August 8, 2016 — NYT Crossword Puzzle No. 0704 — Orig.Pub. July 4, 2016
I got 1A: RAIMI (Sam who directed “Spider-Man”) right off. Around my house, directors and actors of favorite movies, especially those of comic book heroes, are a common topic of conversation. We also debate who makes the better Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield or Tobey McGuire? Of course, now there is a third modern choice, with Tom Holland, who, even though his body of work is so far minimal, we think may end up to be the best of the three.
I was a little slow to notice today’s puzzle was first published on Independence Day. I actually first resolved the theme, and then noticed the original publication date. The reveal is at 48A: FOURTHOFJULY (Holiday suggested by the starts of 20-, 26-, 36- and 42-Across, literally). The four themed clues are: 20A: JEDGARHOOVER (Longtime FBI chief); 26A: UHAULRENTAL (Van for moving day, maybe); 36A: LDOPA (Drug used to treat Parkinson’s), which was completely foreign to me; 42A: YCHROMOSOME (Male characteristic). These four spell out J-U-L-Y, each start being 1/4 of July. Too clever? Too simple?
My biggest problem of the day, however, came in the form of a word I didn’t know, but feel like maybe I should have, at 32D: LEMMA (Helpful thereom, in math). Being a math term, I’m surprised I don’t know this word. Maybe that was taught in one of those years of school that I skipped? I dropped out of high school, dropped out of college, and one day went to law school, where I graduated near the top of my class. I am mostly self-taught in mathematics and the classics. It is my thirst for knowledge which mostly defines me. Coupled with my suspicion of authority, and disdain for formal education. I only attended law school because I needed it was a necessary step along the path to my chosen profession, one which I no longer practice, and now despise. But still, learning for the sake of knowledge, I totally support. My problem with formal education is that it largely is an indoctrination, and boxes in free-thinking, rather than encouraging true knowledge and curiosity.