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# IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

### New York Times, Sunday, February 9, 2014

 Author: Charles M. Deber Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
374/4/19822/9/20140
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
35000110
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.4631118

## This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 74 Missing: {KQXZ} Grid has mirror symmetry This is puzzle # 37 for Mr. Deber. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Charles M. Deber notes: Listening to the Beatles' classic 'Sgt. Pepper' album a few months back, I heard them sing, 'It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play'. This led me in short order to discover that the ... more
Charles M. Deber notes: Listening to the Beatles' classic "Sgt. Pepper" album a few months back, I heard them sing, "It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play". This led me in short order to discover that the Beatles made their much-touted U.S. TV debut (spoiler alert!) on the Ed Sullivan show on Sunday, February 9, 1964. Once I noticed that February 9 is also a Sunday in 2014 — which would be 50 years later to the day — I was launched on the puzzle.

I realized that the theme would become apparent to solvers of all generations, and wanting to make the puzzle something special beyond including an ample supply of phrases and songs relating to the Beatles, I came up with the idea of incorporating the names of the Beatles into the shape of a guitar. This took a few iterations, as the combination of their four names required 47 letters to produce the shape (rendered in gray squares in the print puzzle), and a bit of organization to get the surrounding black squares properly placed. Since some musicians could speculate as to whether this shape resembles an instrument that all but Ringo might actually have played, I decided to include the word "guitar" at 102 Down. I very much appreciate how Will streamlined the fill in a couple of corners. Trust this puzzle is fun — and that solvers "can work it out" without too much "help".

Jeff Chen notes: Ah, the Beatles. There have been several puzzles incorporating JOHN, PAUL, RINGO, and GEORGE, including a stealth one by Peter Collins, but none incorporating their full names quite like this. I found the most ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Ah, the Beatles. There have been several puzzles incorporating JOHN, PAUL, RINGO, and GEORGE, including a stealth one by Peter Collins, but none incorporating their full names quite like this.

I found the most interesting question to ponder today: how the heck do we fix the answers up so the database is clean and accurate? Jim and I take great care to reverse entries, unbend them, do whatever it takes to make the entry make sense to the clue. This often requires judgment calls, and we try to just be as consistent as possible. We ended up splitting the theme answers into two, so that if solvers later want to find this puzzle, a search for *JOHN LENNON* (the asterisks being wild card operators) will turn up PAUL MCCARTNEY JOHN LENNON. Perhaps there are better ways to do it? (shaking fist at constructors who defiantly break the molds)

Neat change of pace; it's rare to see a long entry sweep around like this to form a single gigantic theme entry. The shape isn't bad, although it struck me as more of a banjo than a guitar. A few slight indentations in the body of the guitar might have helped, but could also have made the construction even harder than it already is.

This mirror-symmetry grid may not come across as tricky, but as soon as I saw it I knew there would have to be some compromises here and there. Just look at 9D and 11D separated by only one column, and they stretch almost the full length of the puzzle. And to top it off, they spread out, forcing a very tough section within the "body" of the guitar. Stuff like AAU and NEUER in the center is bound to happen with this many constraints. Not only that, but you have to spend so many of your black squares in the middle of the puzzle, that the outer regions are forced to be big white swaths, hard to fill. A real challenge.

Some compromises in execution today, but I find that it's always fun to remember the greatness that was the Beatles.

JimH notes: Grid numbers correspond to the Across Lite version of this grid. The printed puzzle was slightly different.
A related instrument complete with tuning pegs was cleverly revealed in this 2010 Diagramless by Michael Shteyman.
 1M 2O 3B 4I 5L 6E 7S 8A 9P 10A 11R 12T 13S 14T 15R 16A 17S 18S 19E 20O N E S I D E 21B A S I E 22T H I T H E R 23S T A T I S T 24B U E N A 25R E D E E M S 26T O T O 27U S 28U A L 29G R 30I E F 31S L I T 32L O 33L L O P 34M 35I O 36D E A 37R T O 38T 39S E 40U L N A 41C O S 42I T B E 43V 44A 45S 46Y E M 47E N I 48A C U T 49E 50F I 51N E S T 52R E A L T V 53A V A 54A L 55I 56O D E S S A 57O O N A 58A 59P T E R 60R I C 61E U 62W Y E S 63N U I S 64A N C E 65T 66A R 67E A R 68P H O N E 69E T A T S 70T E 71E N A G 72E R S 73R O U T S 74I W 75A S 76N E U E R 77T 78T O P 79O 80I 81L C A R O J Y O R G 85O B E 86Y 87E 88R 89A M I 90N A 91C H O 92A E 93R I E 94E C O 95F I V 96E 97M A N Y 98S 99A T H O L 100T S O S 101S T E M 102S 103B L E H 104L I A M 105G U T S Y 106A R U T 107L E D A 108A C R E 109U T E P 110S T P 111O 112V E N 113N 114A M 115R O 116N I 117R H 118O 119H O O 120P L A N 122O N N O 123S I 124E T 125U D E S 126E R O D E S 127M O O D Y 128S A F A R I 129A S L A N T 130A N N E S 131T R O Y E S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,469
 Across Down 1. Cellphones, in Britain : MOBILES8. Alone : APART13. 13-Down, in Dresden : STRASSE20. A debater takes it : ONESIDE21. Jazz count? : BASIE22. In that direction : THITHER23. One favoring a strong central government : STATIST24. ___ Vista : BUENA25. Turns in : REDEEMS26. Film terrier : TOTO27. Bar order, with "the" : USUAL29. Sadness : GRIEF31. Narrow cut : SLIT32. Move in an ungainly way : LOLLOP34. Mine, in Madrid : MIO36. Cherished by : DEARTO38. Literary inits. : TSE40. It's below the humerus : ULNA41. Trig. function : COS42. "Let ___" : ITBE43. ___ deferens : VAS46. Dweller on the Red Sea : YEMENI48. Less than right : ACUTE50. Crème de la crème : FINEST52. 1996-2001 show featuring home videos : REALTV53. Actress Gardner : AVA54. The People's Champion : ALI56. "The Battleship Potemkin" locale : ODESSA57. An O'Neill : OONA58. More appropriate : APTER60. Houston sch. : RICEU62. Followers of exes : WYES63. Detour, e.g. : NUISANCE65. Coal distillate : TAR67. Announcer's aid : EARPHONE69. Plural French word that spells its singular English form in reverse : ETATS70. Much of the audience for 6-Down's show on 2/9/64 : TEENAGERS73. Trounces : ROUTS74. "When ___ younger, so much younger ..." ("Help!" lyric) : IWAS76. More modern, in Munich : NEUER77. Relative of a convertible : TTOP79. Part of a train from a refinery : OILCAR85. Servant, e.g. : OBEYER89. "Why ___ so shy when ...?" ("It's Only Love" lyric) : AMI90. Snack chip : NACHO92. Nest on a cliff : AERIE94. Author Umberto : ECO95. Dave Clark ___ : FIVE97. "___ the time ..." : MANYS99. Playwright Fugard : ATHOL100. General ___ chicken : TSOS101. Attractive legs, in slang : STEMS103. "Yuck!" : BLEH104. Actor Hemsworth of "The Hunger Games" : LIAM105. Bold : GUTSY106. Stuck, after "in" : ARUT107. Queen who fell for Zeus' swan song? : LEDA108. It may be a plot : ACRE109. Lone Star State sch. : UTEP110. 500 letters? : STP111. Cause of the witch's demise in "Hansel and Gretel" : OVEN113. '60s war zone : NAM115. Rice-A-___ : RONI117. Fraternity chapter : RHO119. Big to-do : HOOPLA124. They're played at un conservatoire : ETUDES126. Undermines, as support : ERODES127. Living in a swing state? : MOODY128. Kind of jacket with pockets on the chest : SAFARI129. Tilted : ASLANT130. Oxford's St. ___ College : ANNES131. City on the Seine upstream from Paris : TROYES 1. A majority : MOST2. Aware of : ONTO3. Craze caused by this puzzle's subjects : BEATLEMANIA4. Schoolyard rejoinder : ISTOO5. Card count in Caesar's Palace? : LII6. Host for this puzzle's subjects on 2/9/64 : EDSULLIVAN7. Places atop : SETSON8. Eban of Israel : ABBA9. With 11-Down, subjects of this puzzle : PAULMCCARTNEYJOHNLENNON10. Enzyme suffix : ASE11. See 9-Down : RINGOSTARRGEORGEHARRISON12. Rampage : TEAR13. Way to go : STREET14. Nickname for this puzzle's subjects : THEFABFOUR15. Free : RID16. Bikini blast, informally : ATEST17. Song sung by this puzzle's subjects on 6-Down's show on 2/9/64 : SHELOVESYOU18. Big rig : SEMI19. Lead-in to while : ERST28. ___ creek : UPA30. Dictator Amin : IDI33. Broadway's ___-Fontanne Theater : LUNT35. Promise of payment : IOU37. Frist's successor as Senate majority leader : REID38. One of the six counties of Northern Ireland : TYRONE39. Escort to the door : SEEOUT44. Yes : ASSENT45. Balanced conditions : STASES47. Band material : ELASTIC48. Park, e.g., in N.Y.C. : AVE49. Wallach of "The Misfits" : ELI51. Subtitle for "Star Wars Episode IV," with "A" : NEWHOPE53. Just so, after "to" : ATEE55. Bakeshop worker : ICER59. Free throw avgs., e.g. : PCTS61. One team in the N.B.A. All-Star Game, with "the" : EAST64. City on the Nile : ASWAN66. Junior Olympics org. : AAU68. Certain NASA launch : PROBE71. Had a ball at : ENJOYED72. Unpredictable : ERRATIC75. Composer Khachaturian : ARAM78. Slave : TOIL79. Apes : OAFS80. Apes : IMITATORS81. Where this puzzle's subjects got their start : LIVERPOOL86. Song sung by this puzzle's subjects on 6-Down's show on 9/12/65 : YESTERDAY87. Earth's habitable parts : ECOSPHERE88. Dawnlike : ROSY91. Common monthly expense : CABLE93. Ladies' man : ROMEO96. Prey for a dingo : EMU98. Molly formerly on "S.N.L." : SHANNON99. Like some dessert orders : ALAMODE100. King in 1922 news : TUT102. Hot : STOLEN105. Instrument depicted by the shaded squares in this grid : GUITAR110. 1965 and 1966 concert site for this puzzle's subjects : SHEA112. Sweeping : VAST114. Soon : ANON116. Be domestic : NEST118. Medical suffix : OSIS120. Calendar keeper, for short : PDA122. Medical suffix : OMA123. The "S" of CBS: Abbr. : SYS125. Sci-fi sighting : UFO

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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