I never meta puzzle I didn’t like…solve it, then read on.
We’re back with a strange 17×14 grid, and the meta instructions “the meta answer is a two-word musical term, twelve letters in total, that would make an ideal addition to this puzzle’s theme set. i have an alternate title for this puzzle; email me if you want that or any other hints.”
If hints are being offered from the start, it’s probably going to be a stumper. We’ll see what we can figure out first. There are four starred entries:
- [*Wooden instrument (not that you’d know it from the name)] STEEL GUITAR
- [*Additive interval] COMPLEMENT
- [*Structure usually used in the first movement] SONATA FORM
- [*Unit that’s composed of consecutive similar elements, but isn’t a period] PHRASE GROUP
Other than being music terms, nothing about them jumps out at me. I knew that STEEL GUITAR was an instrument; the others I had to look up. Their definitions did not help me. Looking at the title led me to thinking about the beginning of a musical score…are these terms related to different clefs or time signatures? Answer: nooooope. Nothing there. After a day and some change of thought, I was still stuck, so I emailed Erik for the alternate title. Turns out it’s “Starting Positions.” This turned out to be much more helpful for me, as it both got me thinking about sports, and made me look at the starting positions of each theme answer. (Remembering this Matt Gaffney meta helped a little, too.) The first letters of these entries gives us SG, C, SF, and PG. They look like team position abbreviations, but weren’t familiar to me. A quick Google search taught me that they are basketball positions, and the one missing from the grid is power forward. So our meta answer is a two-word, 12-letter musical term whose words begin with PF.
This is exactly where I have been stuck for the past five days. I just cannot come up with this answer. So far my brain has supplied PICCOLO FLUTE (not the correct term for the piccolo) and PAN FLAUTISTS (because who wouldn’t want to watch a bunch of satyrs get together for a jam session?). My brain is taking care of too many other things right now to help me get this answer, so if anyone wants to just leave it in the comments, you will receive my sincere gratitude and respect for succeeding where I have failed.
The fill is fine. I’m not enamored by NAUT MI. or PLAN B’S, and I do not get [Slim chances?] for OPS. Also, I feel like ROE for [Fish that it would be homophonically apt for you to catch while on a paddleboat] is definitely groanworthy, but I wouldn’t call ROE “fish” any more than I would call ova “humans.” On the other hand, Wyatt CENAC is hilarious and should be in more crosswords, and I love [Tan you might bring to the beach] for AMY and [Gum brand that must last a lot longer than Stride, judging solely by the names] for ORBIT.
That’s all I have for today. Sorry for the lateness; I hoped more time would give me the meta answer, but I was wrong. Please put me out of my misery and post the answer in the comments. Until next time, CrossWorld!