Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Rename That Tune”—Laura’s review
This week, we’re looking for an eight-letter word that describes some song lyrics. Full disclosure: I didn’t solve the meta, asked for help, and the explanation made sense but I’m still a little stumped.
We’re looking for an eight-letter word, and there seem to be eight themers:
- [18a: “Everybody understand?”]: ARE WE CLEAR
- [20a: “Hah!”]: SO THERE
- [30a: Phoenix airport]: SKY HARBOR
- [39a: Azure]: SKY BLUE
- [41a: “Can’t I get any peace around here?”]: WHAT NOW
- [48a: Refuser’s phrase]: I WON’T DO IT
- [59a: “Not gonna happen!”]: YOU WISH
- [64a: Show on which Beyoncé and Britney Spears competed]: STAR SEARCH
And then a suggestive clue at the end:
- [74a: Famous children’s song that shares its tune with another famous children’s song]: ABCS
The other famous children’s song is, of course, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” But this is where I hit a dead end — I kept seeing YOU WISH and then STAR and thinking of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” I knew “Twinkle Twinkle” was likely the key, and I saw some connections with its lyrics, but nothing was coming together. I was traveling and put it away for a few days, then solving pal Gideon offered some more direction. I was feeling pretty stupid, even when he gave a stronger hint, that the first word in each themer was important — “ARE SO SKY SKY WHAT I YOU STAR huh?” Finally, he suggested that if each song shared a melody, what could I do with the lyrics?
OH! A cypher! But even then I couldn’t make it work — here’s my pathetic attempt:
A B C D E F G
Twinkle twinkle little star
H I J K LM NO P — note: huh???
How I wonder what you are
Q R S … T U V — note: fudging it a bit here
Up above the world so high
W X Y & Z — note: W takes up three syllables
Like a diamond in the sky
Given that key, the words ARE SO SKY SKY WHAT I YOU STAR spell out PUZZLING, which is an eight-letter word that describes some song lyrics and our answer, and also a good descriptor of my experience trying to solve this meta.
Here’s the ABCs set to another tune: