AV Club Crossword – 13 January 2016

Catch-up time, part 2. If you don’t subscribe to the AVCX, you should probably change that before reading about TURNING THE MUSIC BACK ON.


“Turning the Music Back On”

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Difficulty: 4/5

Theme: Wacky phrases involving musical acts, whose names are mirrored in the phrases.

  • 17A: COMPUTER NERD DRE – Beats Audio figure who also builds Ubuntu machines?
  • 25A: EXERT T. REX – Make use of the sheer power of “Electric Warrior”?
  • 30A: UNLOVED DEVO – 1970s Ohio proto-punks, left sitting on the shelf, never played? 😦
  • 40A: SPOONS SNOOP – Cuddles with Calvin Broadus?
  • 49A: RED AS SADE – Equally communistic compared to the singer of “Smooth Operator”?
  • 58A: FORCE OF EVIL LIVE – “Lightning Crashes” band, laying waste to earth, with raw contempt for humanity, sparing none?

Ben: Cute theme. I worked out SPOONS SNOOP fast, but didn’t quite understand the way the artists were turning back on themselves until I had a few more. Only knew three of the six (DRE, SNOOP and DEVO), but music’s never been a strong suit for me.

Michael: A very BEQ puzzle. Some would say LIVE is, in fact, a FORCE OF EVIL. Not me. Just some.

Lena: Agreed– his puzzles are almost always a smooth ride for me. I like the music he references, the tidiness of the fill, and fair-but-tricky clues. And I will always be thankful for those Monday themelesses. I’m not so much into the music of LIVE, but they do trigger nostalgia for a time when MTV music videos were happening. 38D: Self-aggrandizingly named Green Day drummer, TRE COOL, also had that effect.

Ben: Very nice fill, especially considering there are six theme answers packed in, including two grid-spanners. BEQ does well to run NEVILLE Longbottom and Laurence OLIVIER right through two themers in the SE — great pairing. LAMP OIL, IMPASTO, A TRIFLE and ANDORRA aren’t quite as interesting to me, but it still came out nicely — I didn’t even realize this was such a dense grid until I went back to look over the theme.

Lena: Hey, a Harry Potter reference! It’s a nice time to be thinking about Harry and my personal favorite of all his professors, Dr. Snape (I assume he has a Ph.D. in the Dark Arts).

Ben: Jesus, there are a whopping 23 answers that cross two themers. That’s genuinely impressive. Wonderful flow.

Ben: My favourite clues are 13D: Reading test with random letters for EYE EXAM and 64A: Golden State Warriors game outcome, often (they’re very good, if you’re not an NBA fan) for ROUT. Also enjoyed PREREQ (68A: Trig, vis-a-vis calc), just for the novelty of a terminal Q.

Michael: I’d say this is on the tame / safe side where BEQ fill is concerned. I do like the elite-level Scrabblefucking on that corner “Q” though.

Ben: Typical AV Club puzzle — tight theme, smooth fill, fun cluing.

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