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MUSICAL INTERPRETATION

New York Times, Sunday, March 30, 2014

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1065/2/20061/31/201912
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512253614104
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 68 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 78 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
I think the inspiration for this one was seeing some other puzzle where the juxtaposition of certain entries played into the theme. I just can't recall which puzzle that might've been. ... read more

I think the inspiration for this one was seeing some other puzzle where the juxtaposition of certain entries played into the theme. I just can't recall which puzzle that might've been. What I do recall is that this grid was rather tough to fill — tougher than you might expect given that there are only six songs in the grid (by the way, my title for this was the rather bland "Six Numbers"). Since the themed entries are not symmetrically placed, as I attempted to fill the grid cleanly, I'd constantly plunk a black square down in one area only to find I'd wiped out part of a themed entry in another area. For a long time I tried to squeeze in a seventh song (the Temptations "CANT GET next to YOU"), but I eventually gave up.

One minor inconsistency I just now noticed is that five of the themed entries has a preposition hinted at by the placement of the words/letters (AROUND, ON, IN, AFTER, BY), but not in the sixth (RISING).

I'm glad Will kept my clue for "Alibi IKE." As a boy, I remember my dad reading that short story to my brothers and me. It was one of the few times I saw Dad laugh so hard he was incapacitated. The other time I recall is when we went to see "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" at the theater in the early '60's. When Jimmy Durante died on that hillside, and his leg shot out and kicked the bucket, I thought Dad was going to need medical attention. Childhood memories like that are priceless.

Jeff Chen notes:
A literal-interpretation puzzle, Peter did a good job of choosing six songs well-known enough that even this completely music-ignorant crossword solver managed to figure out most of them. ... read more

A literal-interpretation puzzle, Peter did a good job of choosing six songs well-known enough that even this completely music-ignorant crossword solver managed to figure out most of them. I liked that each of the six literal interpretations (STAND is literally by YOUR MAN = STAND BY YOUR MAN) was done differently, and I really liked the R O C K around THE CLOCK. Very neat way to show that song!

For those of you that didn't quite get everything, the others are SMOKE on THE WATER, A TEENAGER in LOVE, TIME after TIME, and BAD MOON (literally) rising. I wasn't familiar with A TEENAGER IN LOVE, but it seems to Google well. I only vaguely recognized the tune, but that says more about my ignorance than anything.

Pete is right on when he talks about the difficulty of filling this grid. Although it's only six songs, many of them are two entries stacked together, making the crossing constraints difficult. Also, when you don't have completely symmetrical themers, placement of black squares can become really tricky. I did notice some compromises right off the bat, unfortunately in the NW corner, where they're bound to make a bigger impression on the solver. Getting a dose of A MIND crossing ASSOC, with ORA, ETTE, ETNAS makes for a good amount all at once. Pete does a pretty good job of keeping the rest of the puzzle relatively clean, though.

I'm glad Pete mentioned BAD MOON RISING, as it tripped me up. I did like the variety of ways he executed the themers, but NOOMDAB stuck out a little. Upon further thought, it's not that much different than LOATEENAGERVE (A TEENAGER in LOVE), so maybe that was simply a knee-jerk reaction to having a really rough time figuring out what that CCR song was.

I did like a lot of the fill, EMPIRICIST being my favorite. What an unusual word, but completely legit and something NYT solvers ought to know. STARDUST had a very nice clue to it too, and DICK AND JANE was a pleasure to see in the grid… after I finally forced myself to erase JACK AND JILL, of course. One of Dan Feyer's cardinal rules about solving is that you have to be willing to erase and not fixate on something you're "sure" is right. D'oh!

Finally, a really nice clue/entry pair for EDITORIALS. [Slanted writing] evoked IN ITALICS, CURSIVE, CALLIGRAPHY, and it was a nice a-ha when I finally figured out that "slanted" referred not to "tilted" but to "with a bias." Good stuff!

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0330 ( 23,518 )
Across
1
Start of the United Negro College Fund slogan : AMIND
6
Old lab burners : ETNAS
11
Abbr. at the top of an email : BCC
14
Something passed between the legs? : BATON
19
___ Domingo : SANTO
20
Now and again? : TWICE
21
Like an ode : LAUDATORY
23
Kind of farming : SUBSISTENCE
25
Like Neptune among the planets in the solar system : OUTERMOST
26
___ pro nobis : ORA
27
Echelon : TIER
28
With the circled letters, 1955 Bill Haley and His Comets hit? : THECLOCK
30
Sound of sweet nothings : COO
31
Having a beat : CADENT
33
Hall-of-Famer Ralph : KINER
35
Purveyor of the Doublicious sandwich : KFC
36
___ Webster, Twain's "celebrated jumping frog" : DANL
37
With 43-Across, 1973 Deep Purple hit? : SMOKE
39
Like Odin : NORSE
41
Sound engineer's knob : FADER
43
See 37-Across : THEWATER
45
Brings in : EARNS
47
Some dreams : OMENS
50
Reverse, e.g. : GEAR
51
Dismissed : AXED
53
"Eternally nameless" thing, in Eastern religion : TAO
54
Bath accessories : LOOFAS
55
Dr Pepper alternative : MRPIBB
58
Former Disney president Michael : OVITZ
60
Dreamy romantic quality : STARDUST
62
Olympic leap : TOELOOP
64
Ring Lardner's "Alibi ___" : IKE
65
It's put on before takeoff : SEATBELT
66
1959 Dion and the Belmonts hit? : LOATEENAGERVE
69
Old mattress stuffing : BEDSTRAW
72
Pond denizen : EFT
73
Phil who played 65-Down : SILVERS
78
1984 Cyndi Lauper hit? : TIMETIME
79
Memorable series in "Psycho" : STABS
81
Dawn-to-dusk : ALLDAY
82
The continents, e.g. : SEPTET
83
"Phooey!" : BAH
85
Kelly of morning TV : RIPA
87
Haughty affectation : AIRS
88
Rap sheet listing : PRIOR
89
Query at the start of a poker game : YOUIN
91
Verbally assault : LAMBASTE
94
Rene of "Thor" : RUSSO
96
Thumbing-the-nose gesture : SNOOK
98
Challenge for F.D.R. : POLIO
99
Mideast V.I.P. : AMIR
101
Meatless day in W.W. II: Abbr. : TUE
103
Some lawn mowers : TOROS
105
Pertaining to religious rites : SACRAL
108
Bugs Bunny addressee : DOC
109
Where to find screwdrivers and rusty nails : BARROOMS
111
Like peas in ___ : APOD
113
Suffix with salt : INE
114
Made bats : DRIVENMAD
116
Primer pair : DICKANDJANE
119
Info on a magazine cover : ISSUEDATE
120
Real dear : ANGEL
121
More cool, in slang : ILLER
122
French thinkers? : TETES
123
Wink's partner : NOD
124
___ State (Mountain West Conference team) : BOISE
125
Runners in the cold? : NOSES
Down
1
Org. : ASSOC
2
Actress Tierney : MAURA
3
Suffering : INBADSHAPE
4
Some versions of Windows : NTS
5
"Quit stalling!" : DOITNOW
6
Suffix with major : ETTE
7
Back it up, in a way : TWERK
8
"Seduction of the Minotaur" author : NIN
9
Bank ID : ACCTNO
10
"Listen, pal!" : SEEHERE
11
Tea Partiers, e.g. : BLOC
12
Crack filler : CAULK
13
Casual summer wear : CUTOFFS
14
Medium for love letters? : BARK
15
Card reader, for short : ATM
16
What fastidious people can't be : TOOCAREFUL
17
___ Scott Card, "Ender's Game" writer : ORSON
18
Competitor of ZzzQuil : NYTOL
22
Label for 28-Across : DECCA
24
Alaskan city : SITKA
29
Fake : ERSATZ
32
Chef Lagasse : EMERIL
34
"To sum up ..." : INREVIEW
36
No longer in fashion : DEMODE
38
Info for an airport greeter, for short : ETA
40
Victorian ___ : ERA
42
Summons, of a sort : DOORBELL
43
The "T" of Mr. T : TERO
44
Prefix with thermal : EXO
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"Long time ___" : NOSEE
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Boss Tweed nemesis : NAST
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New York arrival of '77 : SST
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BBC std. : GMT
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Bank in need of support? : DIKE
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Where "hello" is "sveiks" : LATVIA
56
Reinforces : BOLSTERS
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Muff a grounder : BOOTIT
59
Something you can believe : TENET
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Hands on deck : TARS
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Chicken ___ (Italian dish, informally) : PARM
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NCO of 1950s TV : SGTBILKO
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Former faddish exercise regimen : TAEBO
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Way off : AFAR
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Oktoberfest quaff : BIER
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John Locke, philosophically : EMPIRICIST
71
Out-of-the-way way : DETOUR
74
Brand of pickles : VLASIC
75
Slanted writing : EDITORIALS
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Description on many eBay listings : RARE
77
The "s" in Awacs: Abbr. : SYS
78
Dose meas. : TSP
79
Eastern religion : SHINTO
80
Place for a mani-pedi : SPA
84
Graz's land: Abbr. : AUS
86
Rev (up) : AMP
89
See 95-Down : YOURMAN
90
1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival hit? : NOOMDAB
92
Quantum physics particle : BOSON
93
Rubber from Arabia? : ALADDIN
95
With 89-Down, 1968 Tammy Wynette hit? : STAND
97
"Twelfth Night" duke : ORSINO
99
"___ to the list" : ADDIT
100
Inspector of crime fiction : MORSE
102
One inspiring love of poetry? : ERATO
104
"___ alive!" : SAKES
106
"Bonne ___!" : ANNEE
107
Longing looks : LEERS
109
Some queens : BEES
110
Didn't stop in time, say : ODED
112
___ ale : PALE
115
French scene : VUE
117
Hollywood special FX : CGI
118
"Selena" star, to her fans : JLO

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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