2016 Puzzle 4: “Nice Shootin'” Solution

Nice Shootin'The April MMMM proved tricky for a lot of solvers, although 138 people did manage to get it right. The meta challenged solvers to find a well-known band. The first thing to notice is that each of the long theme entries, MEN AT WORK, IT WON’T BE LONG, FLEETWOOD MAC, and DON’T WORRY BABY, contain the consecutive letters TWO. Further examination shows that the letters PAR occur directly over each of the TWOs. Now we’re getting somewhere! The entry for 1-Across (symmetric to BABY in the last theme entry) is GOLF, and in golf, TWO under PAR is an EAGLE. Put them together and you get The Eagles, this month’s meta answer. “Nice Shootin'” indeed!

There were quite a few U2 guesses (15). Five solvers incorrectly guessed JIMMY EAT WORLD, another band with a hidden TWO (and a theme entry in an earlier version of the puzzle, along with GOLD DUST WOMAN). Five solvers submitted GUNS N’ ROSES, (apparently) based solely on the puzzle title.

A few solvers mentioned that the puzzle was reminiscent of a great Jeff Chen/Jill Denny New York Times puzzle from early 2015, which you can check out here.

Selected User Comments:

jefe   “Pete is never asymmetric with theme content, so whatever’s opposite BABY must be relevant. GOLF and TWOs, hmm par two? Is there a band pareight? Two under par AHA!”   Bingo!

LuckyGuess   Awesome, the click pretty much woke the neighbors.

Steve H   I thought about 1 Across and was hit over the head with a nine iron.

Hollie   It probably helped that I solved this while watching The Masters on TV.   mpstable made a similar comment.

rachaar   I never would’ve thought that an MMMM would have me on Wikipedia’s “glossary of golf terms” page.

Dannoz   And if I am correct, they were always a quartet.   Fortunately…It would’ve been hard to get a fifth TWO/PAR combo in there!

Howard Barkin (congratulations on winning the 2016 ACPT!) told me he learned a new word in the puzzle: GROM.


Clues That Could Have Been Musical:

Redhead64ab, and rjk2138 all mentioned METRIC as the synth-pop band that did “Combat Baby.” Never heard of them – thanks for turning me on!

Evan points out that ROLEX is an Iggy Azalea song with a cool video and an “I need payback for all the time lost” refrain.

Mike W suggests cluing LEES as [Greenwood’s first, Peggy’s last, and Rickie Jones’s middle]. Pickleman alternatively suggests [Alvin and Ric of Ten Years After].

Finally, master constructor Francis Heaney mentions that he owns a copy of SEMINUDE, an obscure Japanese pop album.



patanga   Hole in One, Pete.

Al   This meta was definitely above par!

wd9999   I was desperado for a while when my lyin’ eyes couldn’t see the answer, but I’m no new kid in town, so I knew I’d get it one of these nights if I’d just take it easy. Sending you the best of my love for the peaceful easy feeling I got when I finally had the aha moment.


Solvers found this puzzle challenging, rating it an average of 3.39 on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5. The average rating was pretty high, at 4.21 stars out of 5. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Andy Lewis from Berkeley, CA. Thanks as always to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend, where you can rate the puzzle and/or leave a comment.

It was great meeting a number of you at the ACPT earlier this month. Thanks for playing and see you in May!