2015 Puzzle 5: “Now That’s Dedication!” Solution

Now That's Dedication!A total of 148 solvers figured out this month’s meta answer, the singer-songwriter who would make an appropriate sixth theme entry. How did they get there? “FROM” was appended to the clues for two theme entries: LOGGINS AND MESSINA and SIMON AND GARFUNKEL.”TO?” was appended to the clues for the other three: DANNY ELFMAN, ANNIE LENNOX, and KATHY MATTEA. The title “Now That’s Dedication!” pointed the way to “DANNY’s Song” (Loggins and Messina), KATHY’s Song (Simon and Garfunkel), and finally “ANNIE’s Song,” a classic from the ’70s by John Denver, the meta answer.

A number of people sent in alternative themers (mentioned below), but my favorite was the suggestion from Jeremy Horwitz that the central entry could have been JEREMY HORWITZ and the meta answer Elton John (for “Your Song”).

Selected solver comments:

zersky20   Wonder if the Moody Blues’ “Emily’s Song” was considered. Lesser known, I’m sure, but there’s Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls for it. I hadn’t heard of it but it would have made a reasonable entry.

Math Teacher Dave   I wonder how many Michael Jackson entries you’re gonna get, and I wonder if they’re OK, if they’re OK, if they’re OK, if they’re OK, Annie…   None, actually.

Bob J   Thank you for not including “Elmo’s Song.”   You’re welcome!

andeux   My library has “Percy’s Song” (Dylan), “Martin’s Song” and “Red’s Song” (Jayhawks), “Mike’s Song” (Phish), and “Pharoah’s Song” (Kahil El’Zabar). Mostly not so well known.  Agreed! “Ana’s Song” by Silverchair was another possibility. But in the end I’m more than happy with the ones I chose.

Dave C   yes! a near last minute aha moment.

patanga   Thank you for prompting me to listen to all of these beautiful songs!

TimM   I gave you an extra star on the rating for including EBN-OZN in the puzzle. I’m sure everyone of a certain age remembers seeing that video on MTV. What an odd song.

Qatsi   Props for the reference to EBN-OZN! “There are 178 parent languages on our planet with over 1000 dialects… It’s amazing we communicate at all.”   And I thought I would get flack instead of props for using OZN in a puzzle!

FrotzNPL   “Pete’s Song” You fill up my inbox / With musical crosswords / Though they often confuse me / When the answer’s not plain / I fill in the white squares / With one (or more) letters / Then work on the meta / And solve it again! 

Jas   Clever. Though being married to an Annie gave me an advantage!

docison   I got it! Yay! Feeling Rocky Mountain High…

Eschliebe   I was traveling around Europe when John Denver died. Having only known him from the Muppets and the “Oh, God!” movies, I didn’t realize his reach. Seeing a tent full of Oktoberfest celebrating Germans sing “Country Roads” at the tops of their lungs numerous times made me reconsider (and a bit frightened).

mpstable   The first time i heard Annie’s Song was the cover by Me First & the Gimme Gimmes   Great version!

David Bael   Thanks, Pete. As usual, you fill up my senses (or at least my sense of puzzling enjoyment for the first Tuesday of the month).

molson   I grew up two houses away from where Kathy Mattea grew up in WV and where her parents lived. I was their paperboy for awhile.

Clues that could have been musical:

The Duke of Prunes cleverly suggested cluing PIXIE as [Black or Deal?]. Redhead64, ASB, and rachaar also suggested using a reference to the Pixies.

maddy asked   Really? MOOKIE clued without a Pearl Jam reference?   I did not know that Mookie Blaylock was Pearl Jam’s original name! ASB also pointed out that one.

Finally, Evan suggested [1986 Boston tune “Cool the ___”] for ENGINES.

Solvers liked the puzzle, giving it an average rating of 3.94 stars out of 5. It was the first 2015 puzzle to get a difficulty rating above average (just barely at 3.01 out of 5). The randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug this month is Todd Gross of Mesquite, NV. Thanks to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend, where you can rate the puzzle and/or leave a comment.

Thanks for all the great feedback, and see you next month!