1953 Eddie Fisher hit / MON 2-14-11 / Big name in stunt bikes / 1962 Ray Charles hit / 1995 Hootie Blowfish hit

Monday, February 14, 2011

Constructor: Victor Fleming and Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: YOU (62D: Object of affection in 17-, 25-, 47- and 61-Across) — theme answers are song titles that span the grid, but each title is missing its final word: "YOU"

Word of the Day: "GIRL I'M GONNA MISS YOU" (47A: "___ 62-Down" (1989 Milli Vanilli hit)) —

"Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" is a song recorded by Milli Vanilli and released as a single in 1989 off the album Girl You Know It's True. The single was a big success, hitting the #1 spot on American and European charts. (wikipedia)
• • •

I'm not feeling the Valentininess of this one. YOU is ... missing. But then it's there. Down there. I get that they are all love songs — at least I assume they are; "I'M WALKING BEHIND YOU" song sounds pretty stalker. But why cut YOU out? Conceptually, that move doesn't say "love" to me. It says break-up or death or something other than happy union. This puzzle was also weirdly uneven, in that All the difficulty lay in the song titles. Puzzle compensated for that relative toughness by making the rest of the grid mind-numbingly easy. So my time was normal, but the experience was not smooth. Plus I got the idea right away, with the first theme answer, so there was no reveal or aha moment or anything. Just "Missing YOU," which was a big John Waite song, which would have made a Nice revealer on a puzzle like this. The Stones' "Miss You" might have worked too. Then you could've ditched the painful-to-remember Milli Vanilli song to avoid repeating the "MISS." But no. Songs themselves aren't a very impressive lot. In order, I would rate them good, ???, "ow, my ears!," and yawn.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "___ 62-Down" (1962 Ray Charles hit) ("I CAN'T STOP LOVING")

  • 25A: "___ 62-Down" (1953 Eddie Fisher hit) ("I'M WALKING BEHIND")

  • 47A: "___ 62-Down" (1989 Milli Vanilli hit) ("GIRL I'M GONNA MISS")

  • 61A: "___ 62-Down" (1995 Hootie & the Blowfish hit) ("ONLY WANNA BE WITH YOU")

Not much else to say. Had to slog through the first couple titles by crosses, and then wrestled a bit with the spelling on the Hootie song, but otherwise, it all went down quickly. I liked LUNCH BOX (40D: Carrier of a sandwich, soda and cookies, say). Wife questioned the clue on BMX (68A: Big name in stunt bikes), since the sport itself is called BMX (bicycle motocross). Is BMX a brand of bike as well? I know it's a type ... "name" just seems odd.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Tita 12:30 AM  

Wow!! Me first!!?
THough to be first (to comment) on this incredibly banal puzzle is not much to crow about...

LIek Rex, didn't know the songs - got them cause I got every other word....

Now, I am not yet a master solver, so to find this one so painfully easy means it REALLY is!
Well, that's OK - it's good to get a day off every so often.

@CoffeLvr - good luck!

Clark 12:31 AM  

I didn't know any of the songs. I thought the first one was I CAN'T STOP LOVING THAT MAN. Adding 'that man' to each theme answer made it a more interesting puzzle. Kind of like making everybody read their fortune cookie out loud, adding the words 'between the sheets'.

Doug 12:51 AM  

I answered ICANTSTOP wrong because of an old SNL skit with Eddie Murphy doing "I Can't Stop My Legs" I think as Ray Charles. All the titles actually work without YOU, except the Hootie one, which is the only I one I knew. So the theme was kind of irrelevant.

chefwen 1:28 AM  

I really liked this one, it went down smoothly and was a lot of fun. @Mac we have seen you about three times in the last few days in the NYT and the LAT, Yeah Mac.

Our renter is an avid music performer and this puzzle came very close to home. He is fantastic and does a few of these songs. Go Adam!

Steve J 1:38 AM  

Meh. Didn't get the theme straight away because I don't know the first two songs (and now that I'm listening to "I'm Walking Behind You," it's even creepier than the title implies), and I really would prefer to block the last two from my memory permanently. Knowing/caring about the songs wouldn't have made the theme any peppier, imo.

And BMX is no more a big name in bikes than "station wagon" is in cars. It's not a brand name. Terrible clue.

Holy crap, that Eddie Fisher song just keeps getting creepier. Were people that naive in 1953 not to realize that he's stalking a woman at her wedding and hoping her husband dies? And to think my parents and grandparents thought my generation's music was perverse.

andiron carla michaels 2:38 AM  

I saw the three Vs in the upper right on a diagonal and thought there would be some sort of heart-shape made up of V's for Valentine's Day!

I think this was probably accidentally on Valentine's Day. So with that in mind, what did I think?
I guess I'm surprised Rex didn't mention that the most recent of these was 16 years ago...and the oldest 58. Maybe if one of them had been this century, it might have boosted it, but I definitely liked the idea. And there was a nice range. And I solved it while watching the grammys.

So I'm going to take it as a Grammy puzzle, rather than Valentine's, in which case it really works nicely...
(esp as Eddie Fisher was featured tonight, in the people-who-died montage.)
And Milli Vanilli won New Artists of the year, whenever that was.
As did probably Hootie.
And Ray Charles is Ray Charles!

Curious how this collaboration came about! Where is Jim Horne when we need him?

area calm michaels 2:56 AM  

PS Just downloaded the Acrostic (which is the puzzle I really live for) and the clue for F. is "I Can't Stop Loving You? singer, 1962 (2 wds)

Ray gets around.

Greene 6:59 AM  

Ah, easy Monday, how sweet you are. Not familiar with ANY of the songs in the puzzle, but pretty much solved by doing the downs. My only glitch was wanting LUNCH BAG instead of LUNCH BOX. I had a Peanuts LUNCH BOX when I was a kid with Snoopy on the thermos. What a happy memory. Now I'm a brown bagger, but I try to eat a little healthier than the clue suggests.

What a difference 50 years make. I listened to the Eddie Fisher clip and I didn't find it creepy at all. Sappy maybe, but you have to place these lyrics in a 1953 context when stalking was not a national pastime. Overemotional and weepy sentiments like these were the stock and trade of pop lyricists of that era. It was all intended in a very innocent way. Brother, how times change.

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

Stock IN trade

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

Stock IN trade

Greene 7:35 AM  

@Anon 7:28
You are correct, of course. Must learn to proof before I hit send.

joho 8:02 AM  

@Doug, ICANTSTOPmylegs is funny!

I was looking for something with hearts in it so having REBUS in the puzzle just teased me.

I was struck by the old-timeyness of the songs. The only one I could hum was ICANTSTOPLOVING(YOU), the others were unfamiliar to me -- especially IMWALKINGBEHIND(YOU) ... what a snoozefest!

The good thing was how easy it was, that's a plus for first time solvers.

mac 8:09 AM  

Smooth Monday, where I too expected a little more love because of Valentine's day. For a while I thought the missing word would be "her", until Hootie's song came up.

Talking about stalking: one of the most popular songs to play at a wedding party (first dance of the newlyweds) is Sting's "Every breath you take".....

efrex 8:11 AM  

I don't need a "wow" theme for my Mondays, just a decent one, and this worked as far as that goes. The usual solid fill and cluing from Her Monday Majesty ("City known for its Heat" is a nice Monday-level "misdirect" clue, methinks), plus the nice range of songs alluded to by Ms. Michaels. Only song that I remember in the lot is the Hootie & the Blowfish song, but the rest were certainly easy enough to get to.

chefbea 9:05 AM  

Knew the first two songs. Found it pretty easy 'cept for BMX...never heard of it

Happy Valentine's day all!!

David L 9:07 AM  

This looked like a pretty straightforward Monday, so I thought I would take the opportunity to practice my speed-solving skills. So I bashed away at the keyboard as fast as brain and fingers would allow, then of course didn't get Happy Pencil when I finished because of the several typos that took me another minute or more to find and correct. Result: slower than normal Monday. Oh well. Fame and fortune are not to be mine, I guess.

balto 9:14 AM  

Never got truly stuck -- but had to go round a couple times to finish.

jesser 9:25 AM  

Yep. Same writover at 40D, where Bag had to give way to BOX before I could yell "Timber!" and watch this'n fall.

It was a good puzzle. Not remarkable, but good. My favorite answer was at 4D, because I was an exchange student in the Philippines in 1976-77, and I did some serious barhopping in MANILA, Cebu, Ilo-Ilo, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Bagio City. BRAVO!

Discol! (Something about John Travolta and/or the Bee Gees, but I can't figure out what) -- jesser

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Wasn't IDTAG [aid in lost and found?] in NYT last week?

I think all the grammy-haters enjoy seeing Milli Vanilli reintroduced into pop discourse. Hootie and the Blowfish, too. Takes a bit of the sting out of news cycle being hijacked by heaps of accolade for industry "artists," at least for this curmudgeon. I think Eddie Fisher's the only musician in the puzzle that went without. Lennon's: posthumous? RIP, sir.

I enjoyed the puzzle, might get me to think of birds instead of cigarettes next time I rent a car.

Thanks for the site, Mr. Parker.

imsdave 10:02 AM  

I had ICA... for 17A and raced to put in "I Can't Stop Loving You" until I ran out of room. Finally decided it was a tribute to those little sugar candies and changed it to icantstopLUVin'U. Oops.

Not great, not bad.

fikink 10:10 AM  

I remember Can't Stop My Leg coming from Robert Klein. How did I miss Eddie Murphy?

Happy Valentine's Day, All.
You guys are supercalifragilisti...
er, supercruciverbalisticexpialidocious!!

quilter1 10:17 AM  

What everyone else said. I liked the LUNCHBOX entry, although the kid should have milk instead of soda. I also heard Ray Charles sing I can't stop loving you in Atlanta. Nothing beats a live performance.

@Clark: try singing almost any song and insert "with no pants on" between each line. That's funny.

ewe gnu 10:27 AM  

4 Eighteen letter "love" songs ending in YOU should count for something, not much, but something :).


Lindsay 10:37 AM  

All these complaints about the songs! Can they possibly be worse than "Mr. Roboto" which cropped up a few weeks ago to generally favorable reviews?

I agree with @Mac that "Every Breath you Take" is creepy. Not as creepy as "Coward of the County" but creepy.

*** achednea = slashed the school budget

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

Nice enough. No trash for fill.
Maybe there weren't many Feb. 14th theme puzzles to choose from.

quilter1 10:52 AM  

Forgot to mention we watched "Wordplay" over the weekend and non-puzzlehead husband enjoyed it. It was fun to see who does puzzles, watch the construction process and go behind the scenes at the tournament.

Sparky 11:28 AM  

Found it easy which made me very happy after last week's brain freeze. Ah Hah moment...Only Wanna Be With You plays a lot in my supermarket and I never knew the group. His bawling sounds better on Rex's insert than on Gristede's sound system.

@Mac. Sting said he doesn't understand that song being sung at weddings either. @fikink. That's funny.

Good puzzling everyone.

Stan 11:29 AM  

The Raspberries: I Wanna Be With You

Happy Valentine's Day, all!

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Medium? I finished this puzzle in less than 5 minutes, and I didn't know any of the songs. Not very challenging, but it's Monday, so there you go.

Rube 12:04 PM  

This was OK for a Monday puzzle. My only comment is, do they really put sodas in kid's lunches these days? That was unthinkable 10-15 years ago, at least in our household.

How many wanted to put aloe in for 1A, but resisted just in case...

No writeovers and nothing new, (except soda in lunchboxes).

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

Maybe it's not a child's lunchbox.

PuzzleGirl 1:21 PM  

Dear Hootie,

Please stop singing in my head now. Thanks.

Love, PuzzleGirl

shrub5 2:13 PM  

For some reason I put a GNOME under the bridge in my fairy tale. Got it fixed to TROLL soon enough.

Came to realize that I didn't know ANDIRONs hold logs. I guess I thought they were just decorative parts on the sides and that the business part was a grate.

Didn't know the song I'M WALKING BEHIND YOU, so I had BESIDE YOU at one point. Less stalk-y.

Re the LUNCHBOX: BAG was already used at 53A.

CaseAce 2:25 PM  

For one fleeting moment, I thought the song title sought at 17A was "I Can't Stop Plowing You" that perhaps a number of farmers and their blushing brides, down through the years, may well relate to?

Chicken or Egg? 2:37 PM  


Large families cut down on the need for hired farmhands.

archaeoprof 3:00 PM  

@Rube: aloe ha! Wrote it in and suddenly came to a complete stop. Only got BALM on crosses.

Lots of love songs are creepy. Except country love songs. Like Alan Jackson's "Remember When."

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Us geezers wanted Dusty Springfield's "I only want to be with you."

GILL I. 3:46 PM  

Wasn't Milli Vanilli tossed to the winds after the Grammy awards (or someone) found out that the voices of the two guys were not really theirs?
I think one of the guys died of an overdose.
Sheesh, the things I remember (or not)

SethG 4:29 PM  

Milli or Vanilli is gonna miss the girl because she left him. Ray Charles can't stop loving her, but they're no longer together. Eddie Fisher's ex is getting married to someone else. And Hootie does love her but doesn't want to marry her.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Anonymous 4:36 PM  

Can anyone explain how 2-Down is correct?
Firecrackers' paths (ARCS).
This does not make sense.
If the clue was "fireWORKs' path", I could see it, but as worded it's either wrong or very flimsy.

Also, I would have liked for 53-Across Sack (BAG) as "Brown ___ (alt. to 40-Down)"

santafefran 4:44 PM  

Threw in aloe right off but saw that bait was needed for 1d and quickly changed it. No other hiccups.
Enjoyed hearing Eddie Fisher sing. He was a teen heart-throb back in the day and one of my girlfriends had a life-size cardboard figure of him in her bedroom. Swoon.
In the 80's I was the director of an organization that worked with batterers and we used to hate that song "Every breath you take" because it so accurately described the batterers' controlling behavior.

stiermo--and text less.

mchibnik 8:03 PM  

I was doing the acrostic on Sunday, which I always finish, but this one was all about flowers, not exactly my area of expertise. Up pops a clue -- something about singer of "I can't stop loving you" (1962) -- Stuck on the puzzle hopelessly, I try "Roy Orbison." It becomes clear that this is wrong and in shame I resort to Google (maybe the first time ever on the acrostic), get Ray Charles and finish the puzzle without difficulty.

The very next day the same clue turns up in Monday (!) puzzle...

Anonymous 11:16 PM  

@ANon 4:36 [Anything that can be thrown, hurled, shot out of a cannon, ...] path = arc.

Anonymous 12:00 AM  

Anon @ 4:36 - Have the same quibble and besides, nobdy throws firecrackers anymore. They are lit in a fixed position by the pros and the amateurs wouldn't know an arc from an arse....

sanfranman59 1:12 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:53, 6:54, 1.00, 52%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:47, 3:41, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging

william e emba 3:38 PM  

I'm late to this party, which is convenient, since here's a spoiler perhaps for someone. Today's puzzle (Monday, that is) has a clue overlap with yesterday's Sunday NYT Acrostic. Kind of amusing. If in the puzzle you didn't know the end of one of the song titles, it's in the Acrostic clue. If in the Acrostic you couldn't name the musician, it's in the Crossword clue.

Tita 5:29 PM  

@william and @mchibnik too...that, plus the hint that it was about flowers, prompted me to do the acrostic, which I hadn't done in ages.
Was able to finish it!!

So thanks for the observation and the inspiration...!

smoss11 3:40 AM  

It's Friday and I am just getting around to the Monday puzzle. Where are my priorities? I really liked this puzzle. I didn't see anyone make the observation that each of the songs was from a different decade beginning in the 50's. A little nostalgia never hurts. It would have been really clever to have put the songs in chronological order from top to bottom but that is a nit. Combine the Grammy's with V-Day and I think this puzzle is a heart-throb!!!

Dirigonzo 5:02 PM  

EllA James made a brief appearance in the SW corner here in syndication land but she departed quickly when ETTU arrived. Hand up for aloe as the soothing ointment and her as the missing word, but both were easy to AMEND.

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