New York Times crossword puzzle Feb. 9 / Constructed by Charles M. Deber
That’s the only way I know how to scream in text. And no other sound better represents BEATLEMANIA (“Craze caused by this puzzle’s subjects,” 3 Down) than a good ear-splitting shriek.
Yes, today’s fun and nostalgic crossword refers to THE FAB FOUR (“Nickname for this puzzle’s subjects,” 14 Down), who made their U.S. debut a half-century ago when they appeared on “The ED SULLIVAN Show” (“Host for this puzzle’s subjects on 2/9/64,” 6 Down).
The fill includes lots of Beatles references, from their hometown of LIVERPOOL (81 Down) to the songs they played on Sullivan’s show: SHE LOVES YOU (17 Down) and YESTERDAY (83 Down). There are also a few snippets of lyrics in there, like “When I WAS younger, so much younger …” (from “Help!”, 74 Across) and “Why AM I so shy when …” (from “It’s Only Love”, 86 Across) – not to mention “Let IT BE” (42 Across). The clues also note the band played at SHEA stadium (107 Down) in 1965 and 1966. And of course their biggest audience was TEENAGERS (70 Across).
The grid’s centerpiece is the snake of gray squares that depicts a GUITAR (102 Down). The Beatles’ names cleverly form the outline of this long and winding road: PAUL MCCARTNEY and JOHN LENNON appear at 9 Down and RINGO STARR and GEORGE HARRISON join them on the other side, beginning at 11 Down.
Pretty creative, I thought. What did you think?
Memory Lane Dept.: It’s pretty trippy to read these re-released stories about the Beatles from the Associated Press. Written during the group’s U.S. invasion, an introduction to the articles notes: “In covering the airport arrival, AP reporter Arthur Everett goes to great lengths to use contemporary slang like ‘way out’ and ‘fab.'”
Say What? Dept.: I’ve never heard anyone use the word LOLLOP (“Move in an ungainly way,” 32 Across). Also was not familiar with the town of TROYES (“City on the Seine upstream from Paris,” 127 Across).
Cheesy Dept.: “Houston sch.” is RICE U, short for Rice University, an entry that surely got the constructor out of a jam. And WYES (which I initially entered as WHYS) is one way to phonetically spell the plural of the penultimate letter of the alphabet (“Followers of exes,” 62 Across).
Doubled-Up Dept.: “Apes” are both OAFS (79 Down) and IMITATORS (80 Down). And a “Medical suffix” is both OMA (118 Down) and OSIS (115 Down).
UPDATE: Lonely Hearts Club Dept.: Many thanks to my husband – a major fan of the Beatles, if not crosswords – who pointed out the puzzle title’s reference to the lyrics of “Sgt. Pepper …” : “It was 20 years ago today …”
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