MGWCC #504

crossword 3:04 
meta DNF 3 days 


hello and welcome to episode #504 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Make It Up in Volume”. in this week 4 puzzle, we were instructed to name a famous one-word song title. okay. what are the theme answers?

… i have no idea. there are no long answers in the grid. there are a handful of 8s, which might or might not be thematic:

  • {Clear-headedness} LUCIDITY.
  • {Unexpected turn of events} SURPRISE.
  • {For whom the NFL’s Super Bowl trophy is named} LOMBARDI. topical. did you know that the super bowl is this weekend?
  • {Climbs (up), as a tree} SHIMMIES.

there are a couple other entries in the grid notable for being one-word song titles:

  • {Lend a hand} HELP. by the beatles.
  • {Logs} TIMBER. this was a 2013 #1 for pitbull (ft. kesha, or as she was known at the time, ke$ha).

finally, the title suggests, in a cryptic and roundabout way, making something louder. this put me in the mind of dynamic markings—e.g P (piano) and F (forte). there are, notably, no F’s in the grid, but there are a handful of P’s, including one in square 60 which could be replaced by F, resulting in arguably cleaner fill (FAD/FOLK instead of PAD/POLK, although both are certainly fine).

speaking of dynamics, the striking word LUCIDITY is best known (to me, anyway) as part of a song title, “silent lucidity” by queensrÿche. the implied “silent” there seems like it must be clueful. perhaps there is a sequence of implicit words in song titles progressing from silent to loud, that can spell out a song title in acrostic fashion? SHOUT starts with S and is a (thematically very appropriate) one-word song title, so that’s going to be my guess if i can’t figure anything else out about this meta.

taking a step back: this is an 80-word grid with no long answers. the high word count strongly suggests that there is a lot of theme material, rather than a little. so i bet this is one of those puzzles with, like, a dozen short theme answers rather than a few long ones.

oh, and there it is—actually kind of a combination of the last two things i wrote. there are, in fact, a whole lot of one-word grid entries that are things you might shout. in numerical clue order, they are:

  • 4d {Score for Messi} GOL, if you’re a soccer fan or announcer.
  • 7d {Lend a hand} HELP, if you’re in distress.
  • 10d {Law partner?} ORDER, if you’re a judge in a noisy courtroom.
  • 21a {Unexpected turn of events} SURPRISE, if you’re a guest at a surprise party.
  • 26d {Logs} TIMBER, if you’re a logger.
  • 28a {“Exactly!”} BINGO, if you’re playing bingo.
  • 32d {Junior Soprano, to Janice Soprano} UNCLE, if you’ve had enough.
  • 34d {Cease} STOP, if you’ve had enough.
  • 40a {Hailed ride} TAXI, if you don’t have a ridesharing app.
  • 66a {Demand from a crowd} ENCORE, if you haven’t had enough.
  • 69a {When repeated, overly enthusiastic} RAH, if you’re a cheerleader from the 1950s.
  • 70a {Belgian brew} STELLA, if you’re playing stanley kowalski in a streetcar named desire.

the first letters of those entries spell out GHOSTBUSTERS, which is indeed a one-word song title. curiously, all the letters of SHOUT are indeed in there, albeit mixed up, and i really still wanted the answer to be SHOUT. not only that, i’m not sure andy and i would have solved this meta if there hadn’t been a song called SHOUT. it’s funny how the mind works. i wonder if matt intended SHOUT (the song) to be part of the solving path. for that matter, i wonder how many people will guess SHOUT as a hail mary answer!

tough meta, but very satisfying. 5 stars from me. how’d you all like this one?

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39 Responses to MGWCC #504

  1. Craig says:

    I got stuck on the profusion of double letters in the answers and clues. Oh well, I’ve been having a lousy year anyway.

  2. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 141 right answers this week.

    Surprisingly, my list of notably shouted words wasn’t very long; could only come up with about 30, and I worked on it for a long time so I don’t think I missed (m)any. GHOSTBUSTERS jumped out as a song title everyone would know and which is clearly shouted, and at 12 letters is about the maximum you can comfortably fit in order into a 15×15.

    Did not notice SHOUT hiding in there. Nasty trap, but leaves out too many of the shouts.

    A few people mentioned having OMG in there for a while. I’m sure people say OMG aloud, but I don’t think it’s commonly shouted. “Oh my God” is but “OMG” not so much.

  3. Dan says:

    Missed gol! Thus, I used only the upper letters of the only down words one would shout: stop, help, order, uncle and timber to get SHOUT! I worried I was missing something when I couldn’t get the cross words to make any sense.

  4. dbardolph says:

    Loved it. Lots of double letters in the grid were a distraction for a while. I did try swapping Fs for Ps, which got me all sorts of nowhere. Then spent some unprofitable time looking for units of volume, having seen CC in there. Finally saw the light – having HELP and UNCLE on top of each other gave me a shove in the right direction.

  5. Joshua Kosman says:

    This was the second tough meta in the last few months where a completely fortuitous piece of fill happened to put me on the right track. It happened in November with #495, where the coincidental proximity of ELDER and (C)AGED wound up steering me toward the actually clueful combination of CHEDDAR and (C)AGED. This time it was 43D, {Give in} CAVE, which made me think, “You mean, like, cry UNCLE?” Then a long diversion to “Shout” and finally the intended answer.

  6. I noticed there were a lot of names in the grid where one of the first name or last name appeared in neither the clue nor the answer. In standard clue order:

    44A (lance) ITO
    49A ESTEE (lauder)
    56A (vince) LOMBARDI
    70A STELLA (artois)
    5D (gus) GRISSOM
    27D (dave) EGGERS

    Reading down the first letters of the last names gives ILLAGE. I couldn’t find a V anywhere to make VILLAGE (unless somehow you took the V from “Volume” in the title, which is weird), but it felt a lot like this might be cluing the Village People (they’re all people).

    The Village People have one famous arguably one-word song which is Y.M.C.A., so I sent that in as my Hail Mary.

    It doesn’t explain the title at all, unless there’s some connection to the missing V, and it doesn’t explain why the grid is 82 words and has such junky fill with only 7 short allegedly theme answers.

    • jefe says:

      Stella Artois isn’t a person

      • I suppose it isn’t. Wikipedia tells me that half the name came from Sébastien Artois, the other half came from the Italian word for “star”, named after the Star of Bethlehem: “The Star of Artois”.

        Not that I thought my answer was right or should be accepted. But it was a very tempting red herring that was better than anything else I could come up with.

  7. Gwinns says:

    This one was messy for me on both sides. On the “too few themers” end, SHOUT seems like such a perfect answer that the only thing that disqualifies it is the concentration of the answers in one corner.
    On the “too many” side, I have first-hand witnessed people yelling “OMG!” and “Coolio!” and “Mira!” (which is Spanish for “Look!” and which has to be considered valid if “Gol!” is also).

    If I were on the committee, the exclusion of MIRA and OMG would justify the exclusion of BINGO etc., and I’d vote to give credit to anyone who submitted SHOUT. (even though I ultimately submitted Ghostbusters)

    • Dan says:

      I second that!

    • Verisimilitude says:

      I have to third that. SHOUT was perfect for the title, is what you would do with all of those words, and so seemed pretty AHA to me.

    • BarbaraK says:

      My first pass, I included OMG and missed GOL. That gave me HOSTBUSOTERS. Since it was obvious where that was going, I went back and looked for the G and figured OMG is texted, not shouted.

      If someone also had COOLIO and MIRA, they’d have come up with GHOCSTBUSOTMERS, which still strikes me as close enough to figure it out.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      MIRA: Strong disagree. “Gol” is famous to English-speakers for being shouted by that one commentator. “Mira” is just a random Spanish word, so apples and oranges.

      COOLIO: Strong disagree. I’ve heard people say “Coolio” as a variant on “Cool,” but there’s nothing especially shouty about it.

      OMG: Disagree. Obviously closer that then first two, but while some may say “OMG,” it’s not very shouty.

      SHOUT: I’ll let the panel decide. Admittedly it’s a nasty (and unintentional) trap, but with so many shouted words around the grid, an internal “Why these words?” should’ve kicked in.

      • Jon says:

        Mira was a word i had initially as a shouted word. There’s also that classic immigration theme movie called “Sweet 15” that was shown in my high school Spanish class. “Mira! Mira! La Migra!” was a line in it if i remember correctly. Anyone who has studied or spoken Spanish with immediately recognize MIRA as a shouted word. It’s not just some random Spanish word.

        In fact, i was going to write a comment pointing that out. And the suggestions of letters that could have been changed to have avoided MIRA. Mira, Beam, and Ashy could have been changed to Mire, Bear, and Ashe.

        As for OMG, i didn’t think it was a shouted word so I’m with you on that.

        • Matt Gaffney says:

          Well, the panel voted 4-0 not to accept SHOUT as an alternate answer. They vote independently of each other, without knowing how the others have voted.

          Just not enough to justify it — not that even taking the downs only as an anagram, you have to ignore the G in GOL to make it work.

    • NonnieL says:

      I submitted “Shout.” I didn’t even notice that some of the first letters of the shouted words spelled shout. It seemed like the perfect answer because you shout all of those words. Also, it fit with the title because of the part of the song that goes, “A little bit louder now…A little bit softer now…”

      • Matthew G. says:

        It’s funny, I submitted SHOUT, but I was thinking of a different song with that title (the Tears for Fears song).

        If the panel decides to give credit, I won’t say no, but I don’t feel cheated. I should have kept looking for a tighter connection when I saw the shouted words, and I didn’t, and that’s on me. Though I’ll admit that the title of the puzzle made me comfortable thinking I was done.

        • NonnieL says:

          Yeah, I’ll accept the decision of the panel without complaint.

          • LuckyGuest says:

            I too was one of the people submitting SHOUT, then saw the correct answer before I saw mine was incorrect. I have no problem being told the only correct answer was GHOSTBUSTERS. Should/could have gotten it, but didn’t.

      • Katie M. says:

        I thought “Shout” right away, but couldn’t find anything to really justify it. I didn’t even enter it as a wild guess. I suspect there were many who did enter it, though.

    • Dan Seidman says:

      To me, the fact that there’s nothing to put the letters in SHOUT in their correct order is a clear indication that’s not the answer.

      • Dan says:

        The title includes “Make it Up” which for me, suggested an anagram and to use only the first (up) letters of the theme-related down answers

  8. Wayne says:

    I realize that this pet peeve is such a lost cause that even St. Jude is like “Dude, let it go”. But 63A is misclued. The word is SHINNIES.

    • Paul Coulter says:

      I think it’s regional, or maybe generational. I’ve used and heard shinny all my life, whereas shimmy means shake for me. I raised this point with Matt and he referred me to the following. Which basically says that shimmy is a bastardization of the proper word, but so many people use it nowadays, it’s come to be accepted:

      • Matt Gaffney says:

        I think it’s generational. I’ve never heard of “shinnies” and “shimmied up the tree” outgoogles “shinnied up the tree” 10-to-1.

  9. Craig Mazin says:

    I loved it because I solved it. I’m terribly selfish that way.

    I had the mechanism before I saw how many words satisfied it… so weirdly, what I was looking at was: GHSTBSTRS

    Just coincidentally happened to miss ORDER and UNCLE and ENCORE… so I thought, okay… it has to be Ghostbusters, but why is Matt leaving the vowels out???

    And then I found them, and I shouted EUREKA (in my head).

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      My tester and I were deciding between EUREKA and ENCORE for the E. We came to the conclusion that ENCORE is shoutier.

      • Andrew says:

        But “Eureka” is exclusively shouted, unlike “encore.”

        • Matt Gaffney says:

          Did you mean the other way around? We thought “encore” is always shouted, while eureka might be more just spoken excitedly. But we considered both OK for this meta.

  10. Small Wave Dave says:

    Estee LAUDER was a nice inclusion, even if unintentional.
    It actually helped nudge me toward the solution.

  11. Tyrpmom says:

    Matt, have you ever done a double meta? I tried cubes of 1-5 leading to SHRON. Thought it fit the title nicely. It could have been Shout and Ghostbusters.

    • Tyrpmom says:

      I have to explain myself. It leads to SHROG. And, I know cubes of 1-6 can fit, but I was on the quest for SHOUT and CUBE in the grid lead me to try cubic volume.

  12. ===Dan says:

    I could not see beyond all the doubled letters. GOGGEERMLOS (doubled). It anagrams to “Google McGro’s” (I missed the SS at first and it made more sense). A google search, near the top, found “Bama McGRO’s new single ‘Sunshine.'” But I couldn’t bring myself to send it in. A friend found lots of doubled letters in the clues too, but it’s hard to compare frequencies to all the times you never noticed them.

    • LuckyGuest says:

      I also found probably 10 instances where the answer to one clue was found as part of a different clue; for a few:
      The answer to 10D – ORDER — is found in the clue at 8D — …B(ORDER)
      The answer to 11D – POI — is found in the clue at 9D – (POI)NTS
      The answer to 13D – STY — is found in the clue at 11D – TA(STY) PASTE
      …and seven more that I found. I didn’t know how often that just “happens to happen” in regular puzzles, and of course it turned out to be nothing, but it kept me spinning for a while.

  13. Abide says:

    I didn’t see anyone else fall into my trap. I included OMG, missed GOL, STELLA,TAXI, ENCORE. At that point I had SHOUT and BROS, so that seemed Isley-enough to submit. My fault for rushing through it, but Matt said it would be an easy week 4.

  14. Richard K says:

    I stuck with SHOUT for a couple of days, though it didn’t seem tight enough for one of Matt’s metas. Glad I finally saw GOL as a shouted word. I found a tempting red herring as I thought about other meanings of “volume” — PINT sitting right inside the unusual entry HOPINTO, whose clue contained ocCUPy. That sent me scurrying around the grid, looking for other units of volume or capacity. Luckily, it was a swift and definitive dead end.

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