meta — 35 minutes
It’s Mega-Meta time, as our maestro winds up Season 6 of this outstanding series.
We’re told we’re looking for a classic hit song, and there are twelve entries whose clues are divided by a slash:
1-D [Capture / Show disapproval on Chuck Barris’s show] = BAG / Bang a Gong
4-D [Smithereens / Working again] = BITS / Back in the Saddle
8-D [Questionable / “My condolences”] = IFFY / I Feel For You
9-D [Hairpiece / My possessions] = WIG / What I Got
17-A [Southern dish / Cowboy legend] = GRITS / Ghost Riders in the Sky
21-D [Route / “Our whole life is ahead of us!”] = WAY / We Are Young
52-A [Luxurious place? / Supplicatory] = LAP / Like a Prayer
54-A [Red ___ / Solar core?] = HOTS / Heart of the Sunrise
57-A [Pose / Immigrant?] = SIT / ???
61-D [Draw / Relax] = TIE / Take It Easy
63-D [Clever / A clone?] = SLY / Someone Like You
68-A [Float / Ox] = BOB / Beast of Burden
And then at 29D/10D: [With 10-Down, gut feelings, maybe (and what to make of all the double-clued answers in this puzzle, in numerical order)]= INITIAL IMPRESSIONS.
What’s going on? The first part of each slashed clue is a straight-up clue to the answer, while the second is a clue to a famous song with those initials. So “Draw” is a TIE, and then “Relax” clues “Take It Easy,” the Eagles song with T.I.E. initials. Similarly, “Float” means “bob,” and then “Ox” clues the Rolling Stones song “Beast of Burden.”
Pretty cool mechanism — “I Feel For You” leading to IFFY is my favorite of the group, since it seems improbable that IFFY would be a famous song’s initials, but there it is. Nice find.
OK, so now what? List the artists of those twelve songs, in numerical order of clue number:
“Bang a Gong” is by T. Rex
“Back in the Saddle” is by Aerosmith
“I Feel For You” Is by Chaka Khan
“What I Got” is by Sublime
“Ghost Riders in the Sky” is most famously done by the Outlaws, but I didn’t know this and backsolved/Googled to get there
“We Are Young” is by Fun
“Like a Prayer” is by Madonna
“Heart of the Sunrise” is by Yes
??? is by ??? — I can’t figure this one out, but it’s a song with the initials SIT by a band/person with the initial T. Someone hip me to the answer there in comments, please!
“Take it Easy” is by the Eagles
“Someone Like You” is by Adele
“Beast of Burden” is by the Rolling Stones
So I took the first letter of each act’s name, ignoring “The,” and got TACSOFMY?EAR. That’s not anything, but it was close enough to Smokey Robinson’s TRACKS OF MY TEARS that I thought it had to be the contest answer. And sure enough: you get there by taking not just the first letter of the act’s name, but the first letter of each word (as emboldened above).
Pete makes this look easy, but this was an intricate piece of work. Coming up with all those songs whose initials spell something took a while I’m sure, and then finding exactly 12 (because year-long Mega-Meta) that spelled out yet another song was not easy to do.
And just now at 10:55 I had another penny drop! Pete, you’re a clever guy…I had never quite figured out what the title “Hall of Fame” had to do with anything, and then I thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if the initials of ‘Tracks of My Tears’ spelled out something as well? But that’d be asking a bit too much…” and then I noticed something…
See it? “Tracks of My Tears” = TOMT, as in Tom T. Hall, the great country music singer/songwriter. “Hall of Fame” indeed! Now that’s a memorable finishing flourish, on a par with the central ENO/ONE thing from the Mega-Meta a few years ago.
Intricate and beautiful, and a great way to wrap up Season 6. Will there be a Season 7? Pete will let us know soon. I certainly hope so.
4.80 stars. Bravo, maestro.