Title: “O Canada” by Pete Muller
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a hit ’70s song from a Canadian artist.
Answer: “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot
The .puz file I opened said “The meta for this puzzle is a hit song from a Canadian artist.” For some reason I immediately thought/hoped that artist would be Gordon Lightfoot, though it could also have been Neil Young/Drake/Alanis Morissette/Barenaked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan etc. I later saw that the version on the non-Across Lite formats specified a “’70’s hit song,” so that strengthened my hope!
And THEN, 6-D was clued [Famous Canadian artist with several hits in the ’70s] = GORDON LIGHTFOOT! I was thrilled with how things were going at this point. Naturally as many of you did at this point, I was hoping the meta answer would be the haunting “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” I scoured the grid for entries that anagrammed into EDMUND FITZGERALD (“wreck” being an anagram indicator) but found nothing.
After a few minutes I noticed the word SUN hiding in the four long down entries, hinting at Lightfoot’s 1974 hit “Sundown.” They are:
3-D: [Avoids, as a limbo bar] = DUCKS UNDER
8-D: [Country south of their border, to some Canadians]= ETATS-UNIS
30-D: [Person whose bravery isn’t noticed] = UNSUNG HERO
34-D: [Gives up] = SAYS UNCLE
Yeah, I know that’s not “Sundown.” Calling blogger’s privilege here to post a different song! That’s Gordon a couple of years ago, performing at age 80.
Note how wide-open this grid is, despite a lot of theme. This is a trademark of Pete’s and he does an especially beautiful job of it here; check out that pair of 4×4 blocks near the center, each of which’s 8 words are 15, 9, 9, 8, 8, 6, 6, and 5 letters long. That’s very difficulty to do not once but twice and in close proximity to one another, and then look at the quality of those entries: GORDON LIGHTFOOT, CRUSADERS, HEDONIST, DICTATES, KUNG FU, ETATS-UNIS, GLUING, and SCI-FI, and then below we have GORDON LIGHTFOOT again, FALL COLOR, SAYS UNCLE, SAY HEY, YE OLDE, LARGO, ASKING OF, and BURETTES. This grid is a masterwork.
4.65 stars, not so much for the easy theme but rather for the fill around it. Bravo to Pete.