The AVCX’s submission window for last Wednesday’s puzzle from Paolo Pasco is closed. Here’s what was going on.
This was a tricky one! I pieced together what was going on in the grid, but figuring out the “R&B song” referenced by the meta took a little more digging than expected. Before that, though, let’s talk about what’s happening to the down clues in two areas of the grid:
- 8D: Response to a Twitter joke audit — LOLHEAR
- 9D: Person who stereotypically mopes around Samoa’s capital — EMOAPIA
- 10D: Gun, as an engine speed on a track — REVTEMPO
- 11D: On your foot, one of five legged supporters — TOEEASELS
- 37D: Common classroom pet possessed — GERBILHAD
- 42D: Greeting friend from France — HELLOAMI
- 49D: Punishment for junior Broadway purchases, briefly — NOTVTIX
- 50D: Ripped composer of ambient music — TOREENO
It took me a second to realize that each clue needed to be broken into two, and for two answers to go in each set of grid squares – “Response to a Twitter joke” is LOL and “audit” is HEAR, for example. The rest of the pairs split into EMO/APIA (splitting between “Person…” and “Samoa’s capital”), REV/TEMPO (“Gun…” and “speed…”), TOE/EASELS (“On your foot…” and “legged supporters”), GERBIL/HAD (“Common…” and “possessed”), NO TV/TIX(“Punishment…” and “Broadway…”), and TORE/ENO (“Ripped” and “composer of…”). Looking at the acrosses of the affected entries, we get LOVE and HATE in both the top and bottom of the grid. Thinking in terms of how the down clues are split, there’s a “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”, and indeed, that’s an R&B song that describes this puzzle, so that’s our meta answer.
It topped the R&B charts, hit #15 on the Hot 100 and was later covered by Annie Lennox, so that’s good enough for me. I found this puzzle tricky to solve on my initial attempt (especially figuring out how to parse the theme clues), but I like how it needed me to take a step back and think about the grid as a whole for that final meta “AHA”. Hopefully you enjoyed it too!
Be safe and well.
And of course 3D is “Persuaders,” which clinched it.
That’s clever — I’ve never heard of the meta answer and Googling didn’t do the trick, but in retrospect that’s a nice hint.
I am wondering whether the constructor is aware of Michael Kiwanuka’s hit “Love and Hate” (from his hit 2016 album of the same name) with the chorus lyric “You can’t break me down” – a contemporary hit song with an obvious connection to the puzzle’s revealer.
I found another possible answer, though admittedly 3D Persuaders clinches the “Thin Line” song, especially since it is symmetrical with 32D, which has the key to solving. This is what I submitted before noticing that:
Pretty cool puzzle. Found two instances of LOVE over HATE, but there are a ton of songs titled “Love & Hate” or something similar. So which one? 75A points to Mason, the other half of Mason-DIXON Line, So with “love hate mason” for search terms, I found Mason Gutta, so that’s my answer: Mason Gutta’s Love and Hate.
The Pretenders’ cover of this song is pretty well known (and well done).