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Here is a band-themed cryptic crossword, but instead of the answers being themed, the clues are! Each clue contains the name of (at least) one band, and while this resulted in some... wilder clues (and a lot of redundant "the"s), hopefully they're still decently fair (even counting the not-quite-properly checked corner words).

banding together grid

Across Down
1. Dance, but record OutKast first (5) 1. Wise boy, loop back to old aquatic center in BROCKHAMPTON state (4,4,4)
3. Limp, soft inside, awkward: Pink Floyd not kind (6) 2. 100 gecs' intern leads special effects (3, abbr.)
7. Coldplay performed at 2018 Olympics? (6,6) 3. New Order crafts a Chapman single (4,3)
10. Seer and Daft Punk song represents human connection? (3,7) 4. First signs of Tom Scholz leaving Boston, changing direction, all over instrument (4)
11. Internet provided by Wham! opener, if current (2-2) 5. Ensiferum member corrected tripe (5)
12. Country trio behind "Fools" to perform ZZ Top instrumental (5) 6. Month of Earth, Wind & Fire, at first, is completely putrid? (6)
13. California hip-hop nails covers of the Turtles? (9) 7. Weezer sounds like they have trouble breathing (7)
16. Important: without key, aunt replaced Paramore's note (9) 8. Full name of metal symbol at heart of the Cranberries? (7)
19. Staind member made golden statue (5) 9. Original Canadians model lands after Trees (5,7)
20. Song by Bring Me the Horizon has pained sound (4) 14. Sarah, not originally among party, back for leader from the Bangles song? (7)
22. Deployment of the B-52s is potentially mere mantra (10) 15. ACϟDC is trending (7)
24. Talking Heads broadcast song by Brian Eno (4'1,4,3) 17. R.E.M. song has very detailed score (7)
26. COLOR: a corny ensemble (6) 18. The Proclaimers material is beat-keeping music? (6)
27. The O'Jays: I'm so at odds with iconic band (5) 21. Messenger for GQ bassist (5)
23. Pop singer of the Stooges (4)
25. 80s band, Radiohead, lost or died (1-2)

BONUS
Foo Fighters sample pained sound (3)
Rodents Smashing Pumpkins (not quietly) after church (9)

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Grid:

enter image description here

Explanations:

1a. DISCO DISC + O(-utkast) Dance, but record OutKast first (5)
3a. FLOPPY P inside (PINK FLOYD - KIND)* Limp, soft inside, awkward: Pink Floyd not kind (6)
7a. WINTER SPORTS ddef Coldplay performed at 2018 Olympics? (6,6)
10a. EYE CONTACT EYE + CONTACT Seer and Daft Punk song represents human connection? (3,7)
11a. WIFI W(-ham!) + IF + I Internet provided by Wham! opener, if current (2-2)
12a. DOZZI DO + ZZ + I(-nstrumental) Country trio behind "Fools" to perform ZZ Top instrumental (5)
13a. CARAPACES CA RAP ACES California hip-top nails covers of the Turtles? (9)
16a. PARAMOUNT PARAMORE - RE + (-a)UNT Important: without key, aunt replaced Paramore's note (9)
19a. AARON ddef Staind member made golden statue (5)
20a. OUCH ddef though both defs are really kinda the same Song by Bring Me The Horizon has pained sound (4)
22a. REARMAMENT (MERE MANTRA)* Deployment of the B-52s is potentially mere mantra (10)
24a. KING'S LEAD HAT TALKINGHEADS* Talking Heads broadcast song by Brian Eno (4'1,4,3)
26a. CRAYON (A CORNY)* COLOR: a corny ensemble (6)
27a. OASIS odd letters of O'JAYS I'M SO but what about "the" at start? The O'Jays: I'm so at odds with iconic band (5)
1d. DEEP EDDY POOL DEEP + EDDY + LOOP< Wise boy, loop back to old aquatic center in BROCKHAMPTON state (4,4,4)
2d. CGI C + G(-ecs) I(-ntern) 100 gecs' intern leads special effects (3, abbr.)
3d. FAST CAR (CRAFTS A)* New Order crafts a Chapman single (4,3)
4d. OBOE BO(-st)ON, N->E, anag. but this is an indirect anagram First signs of Tom Scholz leaving Boston, changing direction, all over instrument (6)
5d. PETRI TRIPE* Ensiferum member corrected tripe (5)
6d. SEPTIC SEPT + I(-s) C(-ompletely) Month of Earth, Wind & Fire, at first, is completely putrid? (6)
7d. WHEEZER homophone of WEEZER Weezer sounds like they have trouble breathing (7)
8d. NIOBIUM full name of (-thecra)Nb(-erries) Full name of metal symbol at heart of the Cranberries? (7)
9d. FIRST NATIONS FIRST + T + NATIONS Original Canadians model lands after trees (5,7)
14d. PHARAOH ((-s)ARAH in HOP)< but the def is pretty sketchy Sarah, not originally among party, back for leader from the Bangles song?
15d. CURRENT ddef AC/DC is trending (7)
17d. UBERLIN UBER + LIN(-e) R.E.M. song has very detailed score (7)
18d. TARTAN TAN keeping ART though I think that hyphen is unfair The Proclaimers material is beat-keeping music? (6)
21d. CRIER ddef Messenger for GQ bassist (5)
23d. IGGY ddef Pop singer of the Stooges (4)
25d. A-HA (RADIOHEAD-ORDIED)* but aren't we missing an anagrind? 80s band, Radiohead, lost or died (1-2)

Bonuses:

Foo Fighters sample pained sound (3)

OOF, I guess (substring)

Rodents Smashing Pumpkins (not quietly) after church (9)

CHIPMUNKS ((-p)UMPKINS)* after CH)

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  • $\begingroup$ Great job! I'm drafting up a wrap-up post to try and explain some of the spicier clues (and hopefully get some feedback). I didn't think 25D needed an anagrind, as the remaining letters after deletion are in the correct order; I know it's preferred to have deleted letters be sequential, but since I'd already done it with 3A, I figured I'd make an exception. For 18D, I thought punctuation was mainly there for the surface reading and could usually be ignored for the cryptic reading? $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Feb 6 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ Ooh, hadn't noticed that 25d's remaining letters were ordered correctly: I retract my complaint. For me, hyphens aren't really punctuation (I'd say the same about apostrophes); I would say that "beat-keeping" is something intermediate between a single word and a pair of words, and wordplay that relies on separating them is a bit off. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Feb 6 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Totally agree, although counterpoint: some setters use word-indicator compounds like "horntail" to clue "n" (from cryptics.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_letter_selection_indicators), but I'm not sure what this community's stance on that is $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Feb 6 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ It's true, they do. I've used the old INDEED trick once, I think. I don't know that "this community" has a very definite stance on the issue, but I'm going to guess that most people around here would disapprove :-). $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Feb 6 at 23:45
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Wrap-up: The Making Of Banding Together

This is not a solution to the puzzle, but provides notes from its poser. This type of answer has been approved by the community.

Caution: This post contains spoilers.


Origin/Methodology

I was thinking about 100 gecs one day, and the thought came to me that 100 could be written as "C". Instantly, I tried thinking of a way this could be fleshed out into a puzzle, and came up with 2D: "100 gecs' intern leads special effects (3, abbr.)" C + G(-ecs) I(-ntern). I wondered if the band theme could be continued, and came up with 7A: "Coldplay performed at 2018 Olympics? (6,6)" WINTER SPORTS ddef, one of my personal favourite clues.

After that original start, I started building the grid, seeing what words fit, and used a list of bands to see which could be used. I tried to use the band names in as many ways as I could: as definitions, as anagram fodder, as indicators, as charades, as synonyms, etc. When I found a name that fit in the board, ("Aaron", "Crier", "Petri"), I searched for "[name] band member" to find my next steps for the clue.

Justification of Less-Than-Ximenean Clues

I took some creative liberties for this puzzle, so here is some of my rationale.

27A: The O'Jays: I'm so at odds with iconic band (5)

This is perhaps the most prominent redundant "the" out of the clues, but I couldn't find a good workaround because of the band name "constraint".

1D: Wise boy, loop back to old aquatic center in BROCKHAMPTON state (4,4,4)

I wasn't sure if this definition was too obscure, but the first Google search result for "old pool in Texas" assuaged those fears.

4D: First signs of Tom Scholz leaving Boston, changing direction, all over instrument (4)

Perhaps the most controversial clue: an indirect anagram BO(-st)O(N->E)*. Somehow, I didn't realize it was indirect until after I posted the puzzle. I still think it isn't totally unfair, as the only instruments that could fit in the grid are "dhol", "oboe", "tool", and "viol". If this was just in a cryptic clues puzzle and wasn't checked, I wouldn't have included it.

8D: Full name of metal symbol at heart of the Cranberries? (7)

I debated this one for a while. Since I'm honestly not sure where the wordplay/definition boundary would be, this feels like a selection with a cryptic definition. "Niobium" was one of only seven words that would fit, and with the gorgerous coincidence its symbol being right in the middle of thecraNBerries, I couldn't resist.

14D: Sarah, not originally among party, back for leader from the Bangles song? (7)

As noted by @GarethMcCaughan, the definition wasn't particularily clear. "Pharoah" was my favourite option for the grid, and I looked through the lyrics to "Walk Like an Egyptian", hoping to find a pharaoh mentioned, but I couldn't. "Leader from the Bangles song" is a little misleading, but I couldn't think of a better way to connect them.

Refactored Clues

3A Limp, soft inside, awkward: Pink Floyd not kind (6)

This clue was originally posted as "Limp, awkward, soft: Pink Floyd without style (6)" (P+(PINK FLOYD-KIND))*; not only is it an indirect anagram, it also has a synonym for the deletion of letters that aren't in the right order, so I quickly tweaked it to make it less awful.

9D Original Canadians model lands after Trees (5,7)

This clue was originally this disaster: "Star Trent, lead of Nine Inch Nails, is rocking for original Canadians (5,7)" `(STAR + T(-rent) + OF + N(-ine) I(-nch) N(-ails) + IS)*. While I liked the surface reading, I think I would have been (rightfully) shot on sight for posting this.

Personal Favourites

While there were some rocky clues, my all-time favourite out of them are the punny definitions of 7A: "Coldplay performed at 2018 Olympics? (6,6)" and 13A: "California hip-hop nails covers of the Turtles? (9)". I also really enjoyed 12A: "Country trio behind "Fools" to perform ZZ Top instrumental (5)", which used the band name both as bits-and-pieces ("ZZ") and as an indicator ("Top").

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    $\begingroup$ I didn't much like 7a (because it felt like too much semantic overlap between answer and clue, if you see what I mean) but I agree that 13a was nice; it made me smile. I liked the wordplay for 12a, for the same reasons as you, but felt that the answer was decidedly on the obscure side. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Feb 6 at 23:48

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