Title: “Songs of the Year”
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a famous band.
Answer: The Four Seasons
Four long theme entries across, so let’s look there first:
20-A: [1984 rock tune that’s often misinterpreted as patriotic] = BORN IN THE USA
27-A: [Chart-topping 1978 disco hit] = MACARTHUR PARK. Polarizing song with lovers and haters. “Someone left a cake out in the rain, but I didn’t know how long to bake it, and I’ll never have that recipe again…”
40-A: [2007 rock hit with a disemvoweled title = THNKSFRTHMMRS. Or “Thanks for the Memories.” Somehow I’m not familiar with this song.
46-A: [1973 chart-topping instrumental rock hit] = FRANKENSTEIN
The puzzle title is “Songs of the Year” and each of these songs’ years is mentioned in the clue, so I went looking at other song/year matchups. There’s 1973 in the clue to 16-A, but not much else panned out there. After trying to connect a few more dots along this line that weren’t connecting, I took a deep breath and stepped back from the puzzle…
…upon which I of course saw the answer immediately. Notice how he never says who actually sang each of the four theme songs? Could be kind of important! So let’s look:
“Born in the USA” = Bruce Springsteen
MacArthur Park = Donna Summer
“THNKSFRTHEMMRS” = Fall Out Boy
“Frankenstein” – Edward Winter Group
So Pete has given us the 4 seasons of the year, and that sound you heard over and over this weekend was foreheads being slapped all over the globe when solvers realized that the answer was, you know, the Four Seasons.
Nice little pair of fakeouts there by Pete — excellent early-month resistance level.
Hopefully Frankie Valli will see this meta. He’s still going strong — see concert below from last year at age 87. And if you’re in Hawaii this week, he’s playing a couple of dates there at the piano-key age of 88!