This puzzle is part of the Puzzling StackExchange Advent Calendar 2021. The accepted answer to this question will be awarded a bounty worth 50 reputation.

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empty crossword grid

My grid designer has got a song stuck in his head and he can't figure out what it is. It's really distracting him at work – just look at this one, he only sent me half a crossword grid! I had to cover for him by making two sets of clues for the same grid. (You'll need two copies when solving.) Can you help him figure out what the song stuck in his head is, so we can get back to business as usual here?

Each clue has one extra word, which must be removed before solving. Read the first letters of the extra words in order, and then their last letters in order, for instructions on how to find the final answer.

Right side up, across
1. Madrilenian's one to participate in final, swimming like magenta organism living in a soft sea bed (8)
5. One unassociated with large studios again covering pet show (8)
6. In list of sizes in ascending order, one kind listed initially? (5)
9. Maybe the African National Congress, having lost power earlier, is overly pretentious (4)
10. Class or one type, essentially (4)

Right side up, down
1. Old insider follows Nicaragua head of state being captured by two Levantine extremists (4, abbr.)
2. Regularly endangered, afraid to be shortlived fashion (3)
3. Agitated Vulcan wrestled with man, getting no victory rub (6)
4. Telecom giant originally unauthorised to supply small engine part of Alaska (4)
7. A little transmitter inserted into secure engine compartment (5)
8. Show played in Manhattan and Queens tomorrow? (4)

Upside down, across
1. Novel coronavirus – essential to track airbourne disease ultimately touching millions (4)
4. Biblical ruler about to be noble man-eater (4)
6. Archer shot gun, wanting right range (5)
9. Competing religious leader and underweight poet struggled with pain (8)
11. Loudmouth lawman meeting resistance in recent times, identifying Emmanuel Macron in Andorra? (2-6)

Upside down, down
2. Enchanted raincoat worn by Argentine soldier (5)
3. Four out of fifty-two regional pilots (4)
5. Upcoming hero in established part having more graffiti experience (6)
7. Remain enthusiastic about moon over Northern Territory (4)
8. Wilder info supported by core member of investigative press (4)
10. To be in possession of money in the DPRK, doctors put head down (3)

  • $\begingroup$ The "next door" button is unclickable. $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2021 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Scratch---Cat that's because it's still only the 10th Dec. In due course it will become clickable once the puzzle for the 11th has been published. $\endgroup$
    – Vicky
    Dec 10, 2021 at 11:08

1 Answer 1


The filled grid(s):

filled xwd grids

Clue explanations:

clue explanations

The extra words spell


So if we do that...

filled grid with even rows highlighted

We see that the earworm your designer is stuck with is SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 4d is rot13(BT + ER). I agree with your understanding of 8d. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 10, 2021 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ (also, you beat me by 18 minutes which I'm pretty sure is somewhat more than the time between when the puzzle was posted and when I saw it. Grr. :-) ) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 10, 2021 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ All correct, nice work! I think you have the wordplay for 10d notated in the wrong direction in the explanations, though? The answer's correct in the grid. $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Dec 10, 2021 at 1:42

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