Marie Kelly’s (Really Mike) Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “I Put a Spell on You”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upMusic is the order of the day (or, I should say week) in today’s WSJ contest puzzle. The interlude starts with the title (I think I like Annie Lenox’s cover best), and continues on to the seven (conveniently starred) theme entries, all in search of a Grammy-winning female singer:
- 17a. [*2005 Trace Adkins song], ARLINGTON – Arlington, as in the National Cemetery.
- 21a. [*1984 Philip Bailey/Phil Collins song], EASY LOVER – one of the few in this set I recognize, Mr. Bailey is from Earth, Wind and Fire, I believe.
- 28a. [*1990 Janet Jackson song], ESCAPADE – another recognizable song.
- 37a. [*1964 Dixie Cups song], PEOPLE SAY – whoa, I was 4 then! Here ’tis.
- 50a. [*1969 Santana song], EVIL WAYS – I had a better shot at this one, being nine at the time.
- 56a. [*1959 Frankie Ford song], SEA CRUISE – yikes, we’re really in the way-back machine now. I particularly enjoy Dick Clark’s intro to this one.
- 62a. [*1959 Mark Dinning song], TEEN ANGEL – as old as the previous entry, and as unfamiliar.
Spell out the (phonetic) first syllables of each song and you get the name of another song that famously spells out its title: Respect, by Grammy winner Aretha Franklin.
I liked the aspect of cluing a song by using the first syllables of other songs; however, TEEN ANGEL seems like an outlier in that TEE really isn’t a syllable here. If we’re going back in time, why not to 1950 and Doris Day’s Tea for Two? Or, if looking for multiple syllables in the first word, how about the instrumental Tijuana Taxi? Finally, I think by now WSJ solvers should be fairly practiced in discovering theme entries, so who joins me in demanding that theme-indicating asterisks be henceforth verboten? Like a strong fish, I like my metas to give me a tough (and rewarding) fight.
EYEBEAM for [Glance] is a new term for me; I guess I would think it’s the laser light that protects doorways from unauthorized entry. NAL is another new entry to me, it’s an acronym of Penguin’s New American Library imprint. I’m somewhat ambivalent on A WEE BIT for [Slightly] with that indefinite article there, but I think I come down on the side of giving it a pass. Hope you didn’t say I GIVE UP (cleverly clued as [Uncle’s kin], although some quotation marks are likely called for, spoiling the misdirection a wee bit) when trying to solve this week’s meta!