2019 Puzzle 4: “Squashed!” Solution

The April MMMM challenged solvers to find one of Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” This month’s central grid entry provides most of the challenge: It is clued as [Famous Russian exile] and is filled with nine consecutive two-letter rebuses spelling out MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV.

Baryshnikov is a famous dancer who’s remarkably only 5’6″ tall, and his name is “squashed” into the grid. The only song title on the Rolling Stone list that comes close to describing this is #387, Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, which is this month’s meta answer. Baryshnikov’s height makes him “tiny” in a way, and the letters you use to fill in the entry are half-size, or “tiny.”

While a lot of solvers mentioned having an enjoyable “aha” moment solving the meta, more than a few mentioned not being sure that “Tiny Dancer” was correct.  That shouldn’t happen!  I’m always disappointed when people send in the correct answer with a note saying they were hoping for more of a “click.” Sorry about that!

Meta Song:

We continue to push the envelope on how silly we can make these cover videos – enjoy!


Selected Solver Comments:

Ked_Ki   I loved this puzzle, both the grid and the meta provided great “aha!” moments. Plus I’m listening thru a playlist of the 500 greatest songs now, thanks to you!   Thank you!

helga   Difficult grid, but brilliant construction!   Thanks!

finocchio68   Not totally sure about the meta. “Tiny” because he has to be squeezed in those little boxes?   Yes!

glasser   Is the fact that you can kinda see ELTON JOHN in 33A/19D a hint or a coincidence?   It’s a pretty crazy coincidence.

Laura M   Did you know that “My, I’m Large” by The Bobs contains the lyrics: “Mikhail Baryshnikov was in the line /At the supermarket / And he was so small / So small!”?   Wow – good thing it’s not on the Rolling Stone list or it would be a great alternate answer.

M.Gritz   This takes a lot longer if you confuse Baryshnikov for Kalishnikov and go through the whole Rolling Stone list 4 times before realizing something must be wrong.   🙂

LB800   I will always have a crush on Misha and “Tiny Dancer” will always be one of my favorite songs.


Alternative Music Clues:

Evan suggests cluing ESSEX as [English county where the the Weeley rock festival took place in 1971].

Redhead64 suggests cluing AFI as [“Girl’s Not Grey” band].



fheaney   I don’t *think* there’s a song on that list called “Cramped Defector” so I’ll go with this.

DelphiRune   Hope this answer merits some Respect. We weren’t entirely sure What’s Going On, but we Imagine this answer brings Satisfaction. In any case, we’ll Let It Be.

Matthew G.   I hope I’m Still Standing on the leaderboard!

JimAkin   You set a high barre with this one.

Jesse Lansner   I was going to submit this earlier, but I had a busy day today.

Tom Moose   He was “Levon” the USSR.

the professor   That answer was squeezed in tight(s)!


A total of 364 solvers found their way to the correct answer this month. The average rating for the puzzle was 4.09 stars out of 5, and the average difficulty rating was 2.98. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Bob Jasinski of Cincinnati. Thanks to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend, where you can rate the puzzle (thanks!) and/or leave a comment.

Thanks for playing and see you in a month!