XW Info

Sunday, March 30, 2014
by Peter A. Collins
© 2014, The New York Times
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. 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!

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
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
46."Long time ___" : NOSEE
48.Boss Tweed nemesis : NAST
49.New York arrival of '77 : SST
50.BBC std. : GMT
52.Bank in need of support? : DIKE
54.Where "hello" is "sveiks" : LATVIA
56.Reinforces : BOLSTERS
57.Muff a grounder : BOOTIT
59.Something you can believe : TENET
61.Hands on deck : TARS
63.Chicken ___ (Italian dish, informally) : PARM
65.NCO of 1950s TV : SGTBILKO
67.Former faddish exercise regimen : TAEBO
68.Way off : AFAR
69.Oktoberfest quaff : BIER
70.John Locke, philosophically : EMPIRICIST
71.Out-of-the-way way : DETOUR
74.Brand of pickles : VLASIC
75.Slanted writing : EDITORIALS
76.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

© 2017, Jim Horne