Puzzle 3: “Girl Group” Solution

A total of 176 solvers found the correct answer to this month’s puzzle, LA WOMAN by the DOORS. The four theme entries were all females whose names start with LA: LAVERNE DEFAZIO, LATOYA JACKSON, LARAINE NEWMAN, and one of my favorite comic-strip characters, LACEY DAVENPORT. In a slightly tricky way, the answer was found by joining the answers LAW and OMAN  “appropriately” (as hinted at by the puzzle’s instructions.) Some of you wondered why the clue for the DOORS wasn’t more straight-forward.  Others realized that the band took their name from “The Doors of Perception,” a book by Aldous Huxley. Most solvers found the puzzle harder than the first two but not excessively difficult. Some spotted the meta quickly, while others reported taking an hour to a day before the aha moment hit. No one mentioned noticing exactly three FITB (fill-in-the-blank) clues…one for LAW, one for OMAN, and one for DOORS.  (You never know what information might be hiding in the clues!)

As always, I got great suggestions for clues that could have been musical.  A few highlights: Brendan Emmett Quigley, who constructs fantastic puzzles here, points out that Vikki CARR hailed from SAN ANTONIO. David Cole suggested that “Schlemiel Schlimazel Hasenpfeffer Incorporated” could have been used to clue LAVERNE DEFAZIO.  Jonathan Caldwell reminded me of the Australian folk singer Eric BOGLE who did “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda.” Robert Hartford suggested [Live from Lincoln Center airer] for WNET (kicking myself for missing that one!) and finally Bill Wilkins thought [Number of regrets for Sinatra?] would have worked for A FEW. Dan Seidman pointed out that the clue for 35-Across could be consider a back-door reference (groan).

Speedy self-reported solvers: Andrew Kravis at 3:30, David P and Paul C at 5:10, Francis Heaney at 5:27, Matt Gaffney (who blogs the puzzle here) at 6:15, and Dan Katz at 6:16. This month’s lucky winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Erin Milligan-Milburn from Bala Cynwyd, PA.

Thanks for the great comments and feedback. The next MMMM puzzle will be on Tuesday August 7.  The grids won’t get too much harder from here (they might even get easier), but the metas just might increase in difficulty.  Can’t wait for another meta puzzle? I’ll be guest constructing this coming Friday for the Matt Gaffney Weekly Crossword Contest. See you in August!