We haven't heard from famous constructor Michael Shteyman in nearly a year. Today's Saturday, August 30 puzzle (answers) includes six especially smooth fifteen-letter answers, only one of which has appeared before and that one only once.
Let's start at 1 Across: "Bum." Don't make any a priori assumptions about this being a hobo or such like. The answer, rather more a posteriori, is HEINIE. "Play makers" are the components that make up plays: ACTS.
The EROICA symphony was, indeed, inspired by Napoleon. The story goes that Beethoven wanted to dedicate it directly, calling it the Bonaparte Symphony but he became disgusted when Napoleon crowned himself emperor and changed the name. Eroica means heroic. I wonder whether, in retrospect, Napoleon would have preferred the crown or the honor of having perhaps the greatest symphony ever written named for him.
I hadn't thought about Back in the U.S.S.R. being a parody of The Beach Boys hit CALIFORNIA GIRLS but that makes sense. I was too young when I first heard it to appreciate the reference. Following the Beatles train of thought, What Is To Be Done was written by LENIN. Oh, sorry, different guy. Yet another guy was the one associated with spirits and it's my answer of the day: EBENEZER SCROOGE. Those spirits.
There are so many great clues from the first "Bum" to the last "___ will die" from It Must Be Him by Vicki Carr. That heart-tugging ballad held the country in thrall in 1967.
Finally, I got a lot of mail about my Blast from the Past a couple of days ago so here’s a different but related feat of ingenuity.
On Thursday March 21, 2002, Patrick Berry pulled off an amazing coup. I’ve already given away too much so just try it in Across Lite. If you’re not an NYT Premium Subscriber, you can find it on my stats site.