It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge for best results.

BANDS TOGETHER

New York Times, Sunday, December 13, 2015

Author:
Tracy Gray and Andrea Carla Michaels
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
259/8/20104/8/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6345610
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61441
Tracy Gray
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
656/12/20003/25/201937
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74592200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63217
Andrea Carla Michaels

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 70 Missing: {JQV} This is puzzle # 16 for Ms. Gray. This is puzzle # 52 for Ms. Michaels. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
TRACY: Two years ago, Mike Black and I collaborated on this concept but received a rejection due to inconsistencies with the theme. Mike's career was really taking off so he encouraged me ... read more

TRACY: Two years ago, Mike Black and I collaborated on this concept but received a rejection due to inconsistencies with the theme. Mike's career was really taking off so he encouraged me to give it another try with a new constructor. The puzzle lay idle until I teamed up with Andrea this past April.

Our first version received a "we're interested" from Will and Joel but they wanted us to rework the puzzle and change our theme entries to include either two or three band names, not a mix of both, for consistency and elegance. Since most of our three band name entries were too long (THE CARS RUSH ONE DIRECTION (23)), we concentrated on crunching together two band names, striving for theme entries with the best "surface sense." I was sorry to have to drop THE POLICE QUIET RIOT from our approved theme set since we couldn't find another (18) for symmetry, and my own personal favorite, STRAY CATS CROWDED HOUSE, didn't make the cut.

One of the memorable moments during the construction process was writing to and getting a response from "The Pretenders" band asking for a definitive answer on whether or not their name included "the" or not. Their response: "The answer is there is no definitive answer! It is both and either!"

Also, working with Andrea was a hoot! Her quick wit and sense of humor, combined with her "naming" talent, came through loud and clear from San Fran to Baltimore in the multitude of emails we exchanged. Thanks, Andrea — so glad we BANDED TOGETHER!

ACME: When Tracy approached me to see if I would collaborate on her fun and bouncy Sunday idea, I couldn't have been more delighted, because I love thinking about themes and am less fond of creating the actual grid! Although we'd never met in person, we seemed to be on the same page as to what needed doing. My favorite discarded entry was a bit darker, i.e. "STRAY CATS POISON TOTO."

I mostly create Mondays, though I have had three or four Sundays with new papa Patrick Blindauer. This is my first (accepted) Sunday-sized collaboration with a woman — I asked Will if that was a first. (It's not, there have been five or six in the past, all involving the quiet, often-unsung heroine Nancy Salomon … though it's been almost ten years since it's been two gals on a Sunday).

There must have been 500 emails back and forth on this puzzle and I'm thrilled it's seeing the light of day! And as Dick Clark might say, I hope you find that it has a nice beat that you can dance to!

Jeff Chen notes:
I imagine BANDS TOGETHER inspired the puzzle theme, two pop bands glommed together to make either a real or a wacky phrase. My knowledge of pop music is woeful at best (huge jazz and ... read more

I imagine BANDS TOGETHER inspired the puzzle theme, two pop bands glommed together to make either a real or a wacky phrase. My knowledge of pop music is woeful at best (huge jazz and classical fan, along with old-school rock and rap) so I'm glad Tracy and Acme used mostly giant-name bands. I still had to look up TRAIN, FUN, and FREE, but a quick Google search tells me that they are indeed bands. Huh.

No Doubt's first album

I dug the neat discovery of RUSH THE DOORS. It's a phrase I've heard before in relation to Black Friday sales, so it's fortuitous that it just happens to be two bands put together. BOSTON CREAM pie is one of my favorites, so that was fun too. EAGLES WINGS and YES NO DOUBT also seemed like legit phrases in actual use.

I wish there had been more consistency though, as the rest of the themers are pretty made-up sounding. It's perfectly fine to have a crossword where every themer is as wacky as FUN SMASHING PUMPKINS or POISON FREE, but the mix of spot-on real phrases and kooky ones didn't do it for me. And ONE DIRECTION TRAFFIC ... it's neither real nor very kooky.

With any Sunday 140-word puzzle, there are bound to be a few minor gluey bits of the LAI, AUST, TGI, HOC variety. Pretty easy for me to overlook these short and common offenders. But throw in a few more AGTS, OAST, OGEE, ORIG, OLEIN entries, and it starts to affect my solving pleasure. I can understand why Tracy and Acme might have gone to 138 words in order to reduce their number of 3-, 4-, and 5-letter words (like Will's been looking for), but I'd much rather have more short words that are cleaner, than fewer that are gluier. Sticking to a 140 word count can help achieve that.

Some very nice long fill added to my solving experience, ISAAC NEWTON, UTTER ROT, and PRIMROSES my favorite. (PRIMROSES reminds me of Prim, Katniss's younger sister in "The Hunger Games," who Katniss sacrificed herself for. Hey, we get PEETA in the grid too!) A couple of neat single words were bonuses too, APTITUDE, INDIFFERENT, STALWART all adding ELEGANCE.

1
A
2
M
3
P
4
L
5
E
6
L
7
A
8
P
9
D
10
O
11
G
12
A
13
D
14
A
15
G
16
I
17
O
18
S
19
C
A
R
O
L
20
O
N
H
I
R
E
21
E
L
E
G
A
N
C
E
22
C
H
I
C
A
23
G
O
T
R
A
I
N
24
N
E
A
T
I
D
E
A
25
R
E
M
A
I
L
26
A
L
G
E
27
B
R
A
28
S
T
I
L
T
29
A
R
R
30
N
A
31
R
32
C
S
33
R
O
O
S
34
T
35
F
L
A
36
O
37
N
E
D
I
R
E
38
C
39
T
I
O
N
T
R
40
A
41
F
F
I
C
42
C
43
A
S
E
44
E
D
Y
45
Y
U
C
K
46
O
G
E
E
47
O
L
E
I
48
N
49
O
50
A
S
T
51
U
52
T
T
E
R
R
53
O
54
T
55
Y
E
S
N
O
56
D
57
O
U
B
T
58
L
59
E
A
H
60
R
E
L
O
61
D
E
L
T
A
62
E
A
G
L
E
63
S
64
W
I
N
G
S
65
A
66
M
67
I
68
S
T
A
D
69
S
70
E
L
I
G
71
S
I
E
S
T
A
S
72
B
O
S
T
O
N
C
73
R
E
A
M
74
S
75
C
E
N
E
76
C
L
A
Y
77
A
U
S
T
78
P
O
I
S
O
N
79
F
80
R
81
E
82
E
83
S
T
A
L
84
W
85
A
R
T
86
B
O
N
N
87
Y
I
E
L
D
88
C
U
P
S
89
Z
90
O
O
M
91
E
92
A
93
U
94
N
A
S
A
95
F
96
U
N
S
M
A
97
S
98
H
I
N
G
P
99
U
M
P
K
100
I
N
S
101
A
S
E
102
P
E
E
T
A
103
T
A
P
A
S
104
O
105
H
106
O
107
L
O
W
108
E
109
S
110
E
R
I
T
111
R
112
E
A
113
S
I
114
G
N
A
L
115
A
P
T
I
T
116
U
D
E
117
R
U
S
H
118
T
119
H
E
D
O
O
R
S
120
N
E
O
N
A
T
E
S
121
I
T
S
A
G
O
122
R
O
U
T
E
123
A
N
N
E
X
E
D
124
P
H
O
N
I
C
125
O
F
T
E
N
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1213 ( 24,141 )
Across
1
Plentiful : AMPLE
6
Pomeranian, e.g. : LAPDOG
12
Slow musical movements : ADAGIOS
19
"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," e.g. : CAROL
20
Available, as a London limo : ONHIRE
21
A touch of class : ELEGANCE
22
Elevated sight in the Windy City : CHICAGOTRAIN
24
"Why didn't I think of that?!" : NEATIDEA
25
Forward, as a letter : REMAIL
26
Quest for the unknown? : ALGEBRA
28
Aid for a flood-prone house : STILT
29
Itinerary abbr. : ARR
30
Some are 13-/14-Down : NARCS
33
It's for the birds : ROOST
35
Key state geographically or electorally?: Abbr. : FLA
36
All the cars going the same way : ONEDIRECTIONTRAFFIC
42
Nominative or accusative : CASE
44
"Grand" name in the frozen food aisle : EDY
45
"Eww, gross!" : YUCK
46
Arch type : OGEE
47
Fatty liquid : OLEIN
49
Brewery kiln : OAST
51
Twaddle : UTTERROT
55
"Absolutely!" : YESNODOUBT
58
"The King of Queens" co-star Remini : LEAH
60
Job-related move, for short : RELO
61
Certain sorority member, informally : DELTA
62
They're seen spread on the back of a quarter : EAGLESWINGS
65
Title ship in a 1997 Spielberg movie : AMISTAD
69
Former baseball boss Bud : SELIG
71
Times when shops close : SIESTAS
72
Kind of pie or doughnut : BOSTONCREAM
74
Public spat : SCENE
76
Medium for cuneiform writing : CLAY
77
Victoria's home: Abbr. : AUST
78
Like child-safe cleaning products : POISONFREE
83
Strong and unwavering : STALWART
86
Cold War capital : BONN
87
Investor's concern : YIELD
88
Recipe amounts : CUPS
89
Skyrocket : ZOOM
91
___ Claire, Wis. : EAU
94
Org. in "The Martian" : NASA
95
Lark for a Halloween hooligan : FUNSMASHINGPUMPKINS
101
Chemical suffix : ASE
102
___ Mellark, Katniss Everdeen's partner in "The Hunger Games" : PEETA
103
Bar snacks : TAPAS
104
"Now the truth comes out!" : OHO
107
Home Depot competitor : LOWES
110
Land on the Red Sea : ERITREA
113
A wink or a nod, maybe : SIGNAL
115
Gift : APTITUDE
117
What many Black Friday shoppers do at midnight : RUSHTHEDOORS
120
Newborns : NEONATES
121
"We've been approved!" : ITSAGO
122
Deliverer's assignment : ROUTE
123
Like Crimea, now : ANNEXED
124
Sound-related : PHONIC
125
Time and time again : OFTEN
Down
1
Capital of Ghana : ACCRA
2
Bill for cable TV : MAHER
3
Early spring blooms : PRIMROSES
4
"Livin' La Vida ___" : LOCA
5
Lover of Sir Lancelot : ELAINE
6
John : LOO
7
Symbol of industry : ANT
8
"Wheel of Fortune" category : PHRASE
9
Ratchet (up) : DIAL
10
Nee: Abbr. : ORIG
11
No-name : GENERIC
12
Bosox division : ALEAST
13
With 14-Down, figs. in the war on drugs : DEA
14
See 13-Down : AGTS
15
It may be jaunty : GAIT
16
Not taking sides : INDIFFERENT
17
Peacock's "eyes" : OCELLI
18
Northwest airport named for two cities : SEATAC
21
Big bankruptcy of 2001 : ENRON
23
Open spot in a woods : GLADE
27
Something bound to sell? : BOOK
31
Relieve (of) : RID
32
Yelp : CRYOUT
34
Show, with "out" : TROT
37
No de Cologne? : NEIN
38
Dermatological sac : CYST
39
Sound of disapproval : TUT
40
Dating datum : AGE
41
Kind of wheel : FERRIS
42
Like the comment "Maybe, maybe not" : COY
43
Order at McSorley's : ALE
48
Silently acknowledge : NODTO
50
Humiliates : ABASES
51
Carrier inits. : UAL
52
Professors' reading : THESES
53
Actress Kurylenko of "Quantum of Solace" : OLGA
54
Fling : TOSS
56
Travelmate in "On the Road" : DEAN
57
Clunker : OLDCAR
58
China's Chou En-___ : LAI
59
Goads : EGGSON
62
American ___ : ELM
63
Chinese: Prefix : SINO
64
Pipsqueak : WEENY
65
They may be taught with a song : ABCS
66
Undergo ecdysis : MOLT
67
Who said "Aristotle is my friend - but my greatest friend is truth" : ISAACNEWTON
68
Apple Pencil, for one : STYLUS
70
Put away : EAT
73
Place to get stuck : RUT
75
Films : CINEMA
78
Spectacle : POMP
79
Lead role in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" : FINN
80
Solve by logic : REASONOUT
81
Golfer Ernie : ELS
82
LeShan who wrote "It's Better to Be Over the Hill Than Under It" : EDA
84
Typing test fig. : WPM
85
Pronto : ASAP
86
Weigh (down) : BOG
89
Baked ___ : ZITI
90
Traveling : ONATRIP
92
Candy Crush Saga, for one : APP
93
Czar's decree : UKASE
95
Singer/actress Lola : FALANA
96
One of the majors : USOPEN
97
Favored at the 96-Down, say : SEEDED
98
"___ to you!" : HERES
99
Area code 801 resident : UTAHAN
100
San ___, Argentina : ISIDRO
105
Writer Bret : HARTE
106
TV's ___ twins : OLSEN
108
Start of a Mozart title : EINE
109
Classic record label for R&B and soul : STAX
111
Book that begins "In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land" : RUTH
112
He, in Italian : ESSO
114
Slip : GOOF
116
Sport-___ : UTE
118
___ Fridays (restaurant chain) : TGI
119
Ad follower : HOC

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?