Season 7, Episode 1, and the fans are out in full force: a record 467 solvers got this amusing and easy meta correct.
We are looking for a band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I bet you noticed pretty quickly that there are three double-Z entries in the top row of the grid: FIZZ, BUZZ, and DIZZY. I bet you strongly suspected as I did that the meta answer was ZZ Top, which it was, and had that confirmed by 38-A [Adjective for two-thirds of the band members in this month’s meta answer] = HIRSUTE. And then also by 59-A, which was BEARD clued as [It may be sported by a 38-Across man].
One of rock’s great ironies, along with the Thompson Twins not being twins and Ben Folds Five only having three members, is that the only beardless member of ZZ Top is its drummer, who is naturally named… Frank Beard. See if you can locate him in this photograph:
Without much going on in the bottom 2/3 of the grid, Pete was free to give us a semi-freestyle warm-up for the year. Fun fill abounded, like JALAPENO, X-GAMES, KEEN EYE, LECARRE, JANE/JOHN crossing at the J, CALLALOO, and DATA SETS.
Also note how skillfully Pete handled the many Z’s up there, especially in the wide-open NE corner. The pairing of ZBIGNIEW and ZEN STATE there is masterful, and the whole section flows nicely (with even a bonus music entry of RIAA rounding it out).
So I’m 1-for-1 and I’m sure you are as well. A nice, smooth start to Season 7, and I’ll see you back here in a couple of weeks for Episode 2. 4.25 stars.