2014 Puzzle 11: “The End of the Line” Solution

The End of the LineThis month’s meta asks for a Beatles song. The puzzle grid is only 12 squares wide, with five theme entries spanning the width of the grid:






The puzzle’s title, “The End of the Line,” suggests looking at the end of each theme entry. But how?

Careful inspection shows that TURN ME ON DEAD MAN is written backwards (three squares at a time) at the ends of the five entries, starting with the last letter of the last one. “Turn me on dead man” is found in the song Revolution 9, if you play it backwards, and listen with very open ears. The quote plays a part in the late 1960s’ “Paul is dead” hoax. If you were unfamiliar with the quote and googled “Turn me on dead man,” you would find “Revolution 9” immediately.

Only eight solvers found the correct meta answer, the lowest total ever for a monthly MMMM!

DIS just kept playing with the ends of the lines until I found the phraseBob J described it as simple yet brilliant with a satisfying aha moment.

Sheep1234 elegantly echoed the sentiments of the many stumped solvers this month when he submitted “Help” and a difficulty rating of 5.

Along the same lines:

Sean   I know I’m going to need that extra HELP you promise to post after the deadline, but I simply don’t have EIGHT DAYS A WEEK to work this out. I don’t seem to have a TICKET TO RIDE the easy train, but I just can’t LET IT BE without sending in something. I’m not thinking I’M A LOSER because I know I’m in plenty of company given there are still only 8 solvers, just like YESTERDAY.

Abide   I’m a real Nowhere Man on this one.

Qatsi   I’m sure I will feel like “The Fool On The Hill” when you reveal the hint, “Because” I could use the “Help!” “It Won’t Be Long”, because we’re approaching “The End” of this month’s contest.

For those of you that didn’t solve it, I hope you think it fair once you see the solution. I did offer a hint after the Sunday night deadline which some found helpful:  Think backwards.

A much harder-to-find version of the hint appeared in the clues for the three entries in the last column, which all contained the word back:

AIMEE   [“Backfire” singer Mann]
TNOTES   [Government-backed instruments that won’t last more than 10 yrs.]
EGOS   [They can clash backstage]

A big congratulations (and an unprecedented 10 points) to the eight solvers:  JanglerNPLLisa from QueensKman23Flinty SteveDISMatt Gaffney, and Bob J (who also deserves congrats for being the 24th mega-meta solver this year).

The average user rating for the puzzle was 3.96 stars out of 5, with an average difficulty rating of 4.79 out of 5.

The randomly selected winner of an MMMM coffee mug this month is Lisa Ebe from Queens.

Thanks to Matt Gaffney (one of the eight solvers – go Matt!) for detailing his solving journey at Crossword Fiend

November was definitely the cruelest month – December’s puzzle will be easier. Thanks for playing and see you next month!