New York Times crossword puzzle Jan. 19 / Constructed by Dan Schoenholz
I met Will Shortz! I met Will Shortz! I met Will Shortz! Oops, sorry. Did I say that out loud? Well, I’ll get back to it later; I just didn’t want to bury the lede, as we say in journalism. (For details, feel free to jump ahead to “Public Service Announcement Dept.” below!)
But first, a few thoughts on today’s musical puzzle. Nothing fancy here, just a bunch of classic tunes – golden oldies, some would call them – whose titles have been spoonerized. In other words, the consonant sounds have been switched around, just like the puzzle’s title (“Olden Goldies”).
So a “Roast pig after a pig roast? ” is DOWNED HOG (72 Across), an aural rearrangement of Elvis’ “Hound Dog.” A “Remark about a female stoner? ” is SHE’S SO HIGH (50 Across), a play on The Pointer Sisters’ “He’s So Shy.” And a “Napa Valley excursion, maybe? ” is FUN WINE DAY (89 Across), from The Chiffons’ “One Fine Day.”
More: A “Traffic cop’s answer upon being asked ‘Describe your job’? ” is I CITE THE WRONGS (23 Across), from Barry Manilow’s “I Write The Songs.” “Post-tornado highway detritus, perhaps? ” is RAFTER IN THE LANE (32 Across), from Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter in the Rain.” “Data request from a good ol’ furnace repairman? ” is YOUR HEATIN’ CHART (108 Across), a play on Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” And a “Frontiersman awakening in a foul mood? ” is MAD BOONE RISING (122 Across), from Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.”
Amusing, yes. But this grid might be the one that puts me over the edge and spurs me to create what will hopefully be my first published puzzle. These ancient music references – classic though they may be – are too much to bear; I hereby vow to put (relatively) modern tune titles into a crossword. And I’m open to any suggestions: What are the new “golden oldies” that both young and veteran solvers would recognize? Say, anything post-1990? “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers? “Come As You Are” by Nirvana? Even something from (gasp!) the 21st century, like “Single Ladies” by Beyonce, “Clocks” by Coldplay or “Beautiful Day” by U2?
Public Service Announcement Dept.: I was recently lucky enough to meet two giants in cruciverbalism: 100-year-old crossword constructor Bernice Gordon and longtime New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz. Bernice lives here in Philadelphia and last week became the first centenarian to have a grid published in the Times. I wrote a story about her and filmed a short video, and Will was kind enough to offer quotes for both. You can read the article and see the video here.
Hat Trick Dept.: “Hockey great whose name is a homophone of 88-Across and 123- and 124-Down” is Bobby ORR (9 Down). The homophones, respectively, are OAR, ORE and O’ER. Not bad.
Women Of Note Dept.: G.I. JANE is a “1997 Demi Moore title role” (104 Down). MELANIE is “Scarlett’s sister-in-law and best friend in ‘Gone With The Wind'” (36 Across). And LOLITA is “About whom Nabokov said ‘She was like the composition of a beautiful puzzle – its composition and its solution at the same time’.” (126 Across).
Need some solving tips and tricks? I’ve posted some here. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. You can also visit my Facebook page, or tweet me @crosswordkathy. And here’s a little more about me.