Puzzle #33 Solution and Puzzle #34, “What’s the Takeaway?”













Last week’s puzzle was looking for a well-known musician and it featured four long entries that were musicians – but also four shorter ones, first names only. What they all had in common is that they are/were the front(wom)en for bands whose names were of the form “[Frontman] and the [backing musicians]” – so e.g. 3-down BILL HALEY headed Bill Haley and the Comets.

Next, we answer the question in the title, “where’s the band?” In the case of Bill Haley, his backing band the Comets could be found elsewhere in this grid, because the OORT CLOUD, at 52-down, has comets in it. Similarly:

20-a FRANKIE VALLI headed the Four Seasons, found (with a slight nudge from the clue) in 92-a YEAR;
30-d BENNY headed the Jets, found at 87-a AIRPORT;
39-a MIKE headed the Mechanics, found in 5-a SHOP;
49-d ALVIN headed the Chipmunks, found* in 27-a TREE;
62-a ADAM headed the Ants, found in 17-a ANTHILL;
57-d TOM PETTY headed the Heartbreakers, found (with a big nudge from the clue) in 2-d US WEEKLY;
82-a GLADYS KNIGHT headed the Pips, found on 74-a DICE

(*A few people wrote to point out that Chipmunks are not tree-dwellers. I’ll admit I didn’t fact-check this, though really the idea was “where might you find these people/animals?” not so much “where do they live?” Also, in the 2007 cinematic tour de force Alvin and the Chipmunks, the whole plot setup is apparently that our heroes’ arboreal home is cut down to serve as a Christmas tree, so yeah, that’s totally what I had in mind …)

Anyway I digress – back to the puzzle, in which the first letters of all of the answers to the “where’s the band?” question, in grid order, spell out USA TODAY, which of course contains the News, which is the eponymous backing band for our meta answer HUEY LEWIS.

A few of you – four, I think – fell into a very unintentional pitfall on the last step. It seems that Alan Jackson has a song called “USA Today.” It does not appear to be one of his top hits, and I had certainly not heard of it, not having much interest in Alan Jackson. So, sorry for that. Most solvers found the right answer pretty readily – I think we had our highest count in a while – and those that were led astray solved it after a little redirection. Also, many of you commented that you liked this one quite a bit, so thanks for that.

Up next is “What’s the Takeaway?” I think it is going to be on the harder side, but I could be wrong …


The answer to the metapuzzle is a rank in the U.S. Army (you may submit either the rank’s name or its alphanumeric designation.) Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, November 4 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

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