June 09, 2009


crossword 4:16
puzzle 0:12

oh hi. this week's episode of matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest, "Doctor My Eyes," was a breezy solve with an easy but still nifty metapuzzle. let's look at the theme answers:

  • [#1 hit for Destiny's Child in 1999] is BILLS BILLS BILLS.
  • [#6 Huey Lewis & the News hit of 1984] is IF THIS IS IT.
  • [#9 Bon Jovi hit of 1989] is LIVING IN SIN. not LIVIN' ON A PRAYER, which wouldn't fit, and probably was a #1 hit anyway, and probably in an earlier year. (i'm too lazy to look it up.)
  • [Only Commodores hit without Lionel Richie] is NIGHT SHIFT.
  • [#1 country hit of 2005 for FAITH HILL] is MISSISSIPPI GIRL. okay, this is officially the only one of these songs i'd ever heard of. and of course, the only reason i'd heard of it was that it was a theme answer in a previous MGWCC, from six weeks ago. back then, the theme was single vowels. but that was then...

... and this is now. guess what? the more things change, the more they stay the same. these hit songs all contain no vowel other than I. so what's the answer? the contest instructions are straightforward: This week's contest answer is the grid entry that best describes this puzzle's five theme entries. i'm not sure exactly what the puzzle's title, "Doctor My Eyes," refers to (other than I's, homophonically), but surely the contest answer is ITUNES, or "I"-TUNES, clued at 47a as [Digital record store].

despite the fact that this was a pretty easy crossword, it still took me over 4 minutes, which is typical for a thursday time. why? well, part of it was certainly the fact that i'd never heard of four of the five theme answers. but there were also these knotty bits. [1990s Apple CEO Gil ___] is apparently AMELIO, and he's the only answer in the fill i'd absolutely never heard of. but there were some other knotty spots:

  • did you try MINI for [___ golf]? yeah, me too... but this time, it was DISC golf, which is like golf with frisbees. matt strikes again.
  • [Okapi, opossum, or ocelot] clues ANIMAL, simply enough. but i tried the more-specific MAMMAL. luckily, i knew that 43a, ["___ Adore" (Smashing Pumpkins song about a girl with a palindromic first name)], was AVA. that's the second track from their album adore... and also the second time matt has clued a not-all-that-famous song about a girl with a palindromic first name. weirdly, i knew them both.
  • [Word whose first letter is sometimes seen in parentheses] is (S)HE. fun clue, but not very easy to think through unless you have a crossing letter or two.
  • [Hank voices him] clues APU nahasapeemapetilon, voiced by hank azaria on the simpsons. unfortunately, azaria also voices dozens of other characters, including MOE szyslak (which is what i tried here first).

there are a couple of clunkers crossing in the southeast. [Almost a week into September, when written out], is NINE FIVE, as in 9/5. it crosses [Parking garage section, perhaps], which is A LEVEL. i would have been fine with this answer clued as a set of british exams, but this seemed arbitrary to me (though not as arbitrary as NINE FIVE).

my favorite clues:

  • [Where some people miss their marks: Abbr.] is GER, or germany. are there people there nostalgic for the deutschmark? surely yes, but in any event, this made me chuckle.
  • [1994 comedy whose promotional posters featured a huge question mark] is IT'S PAT, the SNL-spinoff movie with an ambiguously-gendered protagonist.