2015 Puzzle 3: “Hit Singles” Solution

Hit SinglesThe third puzzle of 2015 featured six (!) theme entries and challenged solvers to find a seventh themer, a Beatles song, that fit the pattern. The key to solving the meta is realizing that the six entries in question, GIANT STEPS, ANGEL OF HARLEM, TWIN SKELETONS, RED RUBBER BALL, RAY OF LIGHT, and INDIAN OUTLAW, all begin with players on major-league baseball teams (GIANT, ANGEL, TWIN, RED, RAY, and INDIAN). A total of 206 solvers conquered the March meta, most finding one of the two Beatles songs that fit the bill: BLUE JAY WAY or ROCKY RACCOON. A few wise guys found an alternate acceptable solution, A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, which I accepted since “A” is a common way to refer to a player on the Oakland Athletics. A DAY IN THE LIFE would also have been OK. Nice find!

A few solvers questioned whether a Colorado player is a “Rockie” or a “Rocky.” Well, neither is that common, but one of my test solvers, Charles Montpetit (who claims to know nothing about baseball), found references to both spellings and convinced me that I should accept both answers. Alternatively, I could have asked for something like “a three-word Beatles song,” but that seemed less fun.

Only a few solvers sent in other possible non-Beatles theme entries. Andrew Silikovitz sent in YANKEE ROSE. Katiedid sent that in too, along with TIGER FEET by Mud (never heard of it) and ASTRO ZOMBIES by the Misfits. No one came up with NATIONAL RANSOM by Elvis Costello. I’m sure there are more!

Selected user comments:

docison   Huge baseball fan – can’t believe how long it took me to see the meta (anywhere over the length of time between pitches is too long!)

Johnny Luau   Baseball and The Beatles – two of my favorites!

zersky20   Thought it was a nice little red herring that “Angel of Harlem” mentions John Coltrane (completely unintended)

Raygirl   I love a good “oh, d’uh” moment. Thanks

Jim Q   Looking forward to rating this 5 stars on crosswordfiend. Packed with theme… great clues… everything inferable even with limited knowledge of the music references. Just plain great. Nice AHA moment looking for meta. (now that’s a great comment!)

Thomamos   Great puzzle. Great “aha” moment when I realized the theme.

Blind Pursuit   The exclamation point in the title is to express my amazement and thrill at getting another meta! I’ve always been terrible at metas, but this is three in a row for me. (Congrats!)

Kranke   This one required a bit too much Googling for me.  (Is your user name pronounced “cranky?” Just kidding – I like hearing about what people don’t like)

Cyrano   Close to over doing it on the (really obscure?) song titles this time. I think it was probably to help obscure the theme answers but made the fill less enjoyable. Still a good puzzle, just not as good. (To repeat, thanks, I like hearing about what people don’t like!)



More than the usual number of groaners this month for some reason…

BobJas   Got off to a Rocky start. Thought it a Royal pain. Finally Met the challenge. Thanks for an Athletic workout!

Jonesy   I was nervous of whiffing so soon in the new year!!

Evan   Never have I more greatly desired that there would be some baseball team out there named the Sacramento Sexy or the Akron Octopus’s.

touchdown   I’m sure it’s not a unique statement, but you hit a home run with this one!

Norm H   As Madonna aptly sings in her themer, “And I feel like I just got home.”

mmurphy   Now that we have two Beatles-themed teams, this begs the question: where do they play? at “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”? Or at “Strawberry Fields Forever”?


Clues that could have been musical:

There were a lot of music references in this month’s puzzle already, so I tried to restrain myself a little on musical clues for non-themers.

rachaar suggests [Song by one-hit wonder Cymarron] for RINGS

Stribbs suggests [Earth, Wind, and Fire song] for REASONS

fheaney suggests [Black or white decoration on Eddie Van Halen’s red guitar] for STRIPE


People liked the puzzle this month, giving it an average of 4.05 stars out of 5. They also found it fairly easy, rating it 2.62 on the 1-5 difficulty scale. The metas will start getting a little harder soon! This month’s randomly selected winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Steve Durfee from Eloy, AZ. Thanks as always to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend. Thanks for playing, and see you next month!