I broke my monster, multi-year MMMM streak last month, so the pressure was off this month. Which means that I solved it easily with all that pressure removed, right? Well, we’ll see. 90 minutes before deadline and I still don’t have it, so let me blog my thoughts and see if that does the trick (it does work surprisingly often).
Six theme-length across entries, which doesn’t necessarily make them theme. They are:
17-A [Wily] = SLY AS A FOX
21-A: [Tony’s cousin?] = OBIE AWARD
32-A: [Greyhound needs] = BUS DRIVERS. I know “greyhound” is also a drink, and the two main ingredients turn out to be…gin and juice!? Might be important for a music meta…
41-A: [Singer whose album “We Are” won the Album of the Year Grammy in 2022] = JON BATISTE. Contain the letters in JONAS in order and The Jonas Brothers are a band of brothers. Could be something or maybe I’m as head-in-the-clouds as Snoop Dogg (see previous clue’s note)
51-A: [Where you might learn how to fix a woofer] = VET SCHOOL
58-A: [Like maraschino cherries] = VERY SWEET. “maraschino” is an anagram of “harmonicas,” as I learned long ago from GAMES Magazine. Meta-related? Unlikely…
So those are out theme entries, I’m assuming. Here are some things I have noticed:
27-D: [Like the question “Did you solve the meta?”] = YES/NO. Somewhat sus clue/answer pair, or could just be our meta-maestro being funny at what happens to be the central down entry. There are some NOs in the grid as there are in most crosswords, but I don’t see a YES anywhere so I’m calling this a dead end.
Following up on an early potential rabbit: JON BATISTE containes JONAS as in the Jonas Brothers, and then BO#OBIE in the fourth row could be DOOBIE (as in the Doobie Brothers) if you change its first letter to a D. Similarly you can almost get EVERLY from the E#VERY in Row 13. But can’t find anything else beyond that.
So that’s all I’ve got at the moment. With 75 minutes left, let me take another look and see if anything pops out. Over an hour left and no streak on the line, so no need to panic. Right? Right?
“Bands” in the title could mean “music bands,” or it could mean acrosses or downs or diagonals. Didn’t see anything on the diagonals, and the aforementioned almost-“X-Brothers”-named-bands finds on the acrosses didn’t work out.
Looking now at suspicious fill, and a few squares stick out. Why DOA/OAST instead of DEA/EAST in the Virginia section of the grid? Could’ve been DEA/EAST. On the other hand, OAST has become less crosswordese-ish since the craft beer revolution.
But why BALI/IED in the Oregon section? That could simply have been BALL/LED. Why not ACHES/SLUR/HAT/BASH/UCLA/SHUT there? Gets rid of ALPES, ULEE, and IED. Something’s almost definitely happening in Oregon. But what?
OK, I’m afraid I got nothin’. Submitting Def Leppard as my answer as a WAG. Let me know what I missed…I got 27-or-so in a row and then missed two straight! Egad.