The song hinted at by the puzzle is When I’m Sixty-Four, by the Beatles, AKA the Fab 4 in honor of puzzle 4. Paul McCartney wrote the song as a teenager, and it was performed by The Beatles in their early days before it was polished up, some lines were added, and it was put onto the album SERGEANT (1A) PEPPERS (21D) LONELY (28A) HEARTS (5A) CLUB (20D) BAND (11D). Four things pointed to this specific song:
- The title of the puzzle is from the last chorus from the song: “Give me your answer, FILL IN A FORM, mine forever more/will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?
- The pictures accompanying the puzzle when it was posted are VERA Wang, CHUCK Klosterman, and DAVE Chappelle. Vera, Chuck, and Dave are imaginary grandchildren of the singer (Paul McCartney), mentioned about in the bridge of the song: “Every summer we can rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear/ (we shall scrimp and save)/Grandchildren on your knee/Vera, Chuck and Dave.” Renting a cottage – that’s hilarious. Paul McCartney is actually a billionaire, despite the fact that he doesn’t own all the rights to his songs – the publishing right belong to Sony. It was John Lennon who came up with the line Vera, Chuck and Dave. McCartney’s grandchildren are named Miller, Bailey, Beckett, Reiley, Arthur, Elliot, Sid and Sam.
- There are exactly 64 black squares in the puzzle, which was accomplished by adding the three blank squares at the end.
- If you add up the clue numbers for the first five clues for SERGEANT PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB you get 75 (1+21+28+5+20). Subtract the last word and clue – BAND/11 – and that makes 64. That actually is a total coincidence I realized while typing the top paragraph, and would be far cooler/relevant if the last clue was the only down clue. Maybe next time.
The answers, explained:
1A – SERGEANT – SERGE (material) + (member of an army)
5A – HEARTS – The last letters (at bottom) of eacH creativE fantasiA eveR dreamT containS. I’ve never seen this clue form before, but if cluing the first letters is kosher, shouldn’t this be?
9A – FEATHERS – FEAT (top, or first, accomplishment) + HERS (that woman’s)
10A – BRIDLE – heard (decried) bridal (marital)
12A – ROYAL – ROY (common abbreviation for rookie of the year) + AL (American League). The KC Royals who have won Rookie of the Year are Angel Berroa, Bob Hamelin, Bang on a Can fan Carlos Beltran, and Lou Piniella.
13A – ARACHNOID – OH A RANCID beastly, or anagrammed.
14A – COUPLE – COUP (upset) + LE (the in French). Megan Rapinoe helped the US Woman’s soccer team beat the home French team in the quarterfinals in the Women’s World Cup in 2019, but it wasn’t really an upset.
16A – DEICIDE – ICI (here in French) locked up, or in between, dirty, or anagrammed DEED – DE ICI DE
19A – PROSAIC – PIC (photograph) + ROSA (extraordinary parks, as in Rosa Parks)
21A – PIGPEN – Pippen (as in Scottie, former Chicago Bull) replacing a p (losing power) with g (good).
23A – CHESTBUMP – CHUM and BEST animated, or anagrammed + P (pal start)
25A – HOARD – Trimmings, or ends, of HOusehold yARD
26A – APIECE – ACE (champion) consuming PIE (pizza)
27A – TEEN IDOL – LODI (CCR tune) + NEET (neat, or pretty cool, sounding, or heard) played back, or reversed. Theme adjacent.
28A – LONELY – LON (Chaney) + ELY (Ron). Lon Chaney played Quasimodo and The Phantom of the Opera in early cinema, and Ron Ely played Tarzan on TV.
29A – ESQUIRES – E+S (Every Sunday initially) + QUIRES (choruses sang, or heard)
1D – SAFARI – FA (A long long way to run)in SARI (drapery). In the song “Do-Re-Mi” in the Sound of Music, nun Maria teaches Baron Von Trapp’s children the notes of the musical scale with puns, including Fa for the word Far. At the end of the movie, the whole family flees Boston to escape Nazis.
2D – READY TO GO – READY (Ed joining Ray) + TOGO (West African country)
3D – ETHEL – Hidden, or incorporated, in locatE THE Literature
4D – NARRATE – NARR (Ne’er, never colloquially and articulately, or heard) + ATE (consumed). “How often do well? Ne’er.”
6D – EARTHLING – HEALING ART compromised, or anagrammed without A.
7D – RADIO – RIO (Brazilian city) carrying AD (commercial)
8D – STEADIES – S (small) + TEADIES) (teddies, or nightgowns, reportedly, or heard)
11D – BAND – Banned a capella, or heard
15D – PRACTICAL – PR (public relations) + ACT (stunt) + I + CAL (from the start Call Another Lie)
17D – ICELANDER – I + CELANDER (slander, or speak lies about, for all to hear, or heard).
18D – EPIC FAIL – PI (Detective) + CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) in LIE (whopper) backwards, or topsy-turvy – E PI CFA IL
20D – CLUB – CUB (young reporter) + L (left)
21D – PEPPERS – PEP (cheer) + PERS (spirit, as in person, mostly). Cheerleaders could totally be called peppers, right?
22D – ADDLES – ADELE (Rolling in the Deep Singer with D replacing the first E – lower third note) + S (sudden start)
24D – EVIAN – NAIVE backwards. This is an old joke that implied that people who bought bottled water were stupid – pretty outdated nowadays.
25D – HINDU – found in beHIND Uttarakhan.