Muller Monthly Music Meta, September 2012 — Matt’s review

puzzle 9:05, meta 12-15 minutes (Matt) 

For September’s Music Meta (sign up here if you’re new to these), Pete tells solvers: “The meta is a song by a group or artist referred to in the puzzle’s clues and/or answers.” The solve was nice, with monster 5×5 corners in the NE and SW and grid fill like TERI GARR, BLOOD BANK, SIPHON OFF, SIZZLES, DAPHNE and the crazy-looking OPIOID. But we’re here to solve a meta, so let’s take a look at the theme clues and answers:

17-a [Messages for Mr. Dogg (now Mr. Lion)?] = SNOOP MAIL. Did he just change his name? Let me check. Yes, Wikipedia tells me:

in 2012, the gangster rapper converted to Rastafarianism, switched the focus of his music to reggae and changed his name to ‘Snoop Lion’ following a trip to Jamaica. With his new reggae album ‘Reincarnated’, Snoop Lion also claims to be the reincarnation of Bob Marley, the Jamaican reggae legend who died in 1981. Now we know.

26-a [What Madonna did on "Erotica," according to some?] = SANG SMUT.

34-a [Where Mick Jagger dined after guest-hosting earlier this year?] = SNL PIZZERIA.

49-a [Stop the fat lady from singing?] = BAN ARIAS.

55-a [Some traveling fees paid by singer DiFranco?] = ANI’S TOLLS.

OK, so these are all nonsense phrases, but each with some musical element. After solving the puzzle I spent about 10 minutes poking around for the meta but to no avail. Put it down for a while, and then it all fell within about 60 seconds: I thought about anagramming those theme entries, and SANG SMUT became MUSTANGS. There’s the meta: anagrammed horses, so “Wild Horses,” sung by the STONES at 51-a. The other theme entries become PALOMINOS, LIPIZZANERS, ARABIANS and STALLIONS. I don’t know much about breeds of horse, but it seems to me that STALLIONS and maybe MUSTANGS are not like the other three? Someone tell me in comments if I’m wrong, but then we just have a mix of wild horses (not breeds necessarily) which is fine, too.

Noteworthy:

11-d [Picasso's younger daughter] = PALOMA, which is the Spanish word for “dove” (the bird, not the past tense of “dive”)

36-a [One of six a Brit should find in this puzzle's grid] = ZED. At first I thought Pete was going for a ZZ Top theme, with three sets of double-zeds in the grid (including a Z-shaped quartet of Z’s in the middle). But that line of thought didn’t go anywhere.

1-a [___ Xtra (Coca-Cola product)] = PIBB. There’s no Mr. Pibb anymore in case you didn’t notice.

Intriguing meta, skillful fill, and I like that all five horse anagrams had music-related clues. 4.25 stars, and I’m 5/5 on MMMM! You?

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12 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, September 2012 — Matt’s review

  1. david says:

    Aargh. I was SURE I was looking for a ZZ top song… spent way too long anagramming zz top songs to try to find a horse breed AARGH

  2. tabstop says:

    Oh. I went straight to Crazy Horse and then failed to find a song that seemed to work.

  3. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt! 79 correct answers this month…David, if it makes you feel better, you weren’t the only one misdirected by the ZZ’s. Three more MMMMs in 2012 before the contest finale and 36 solvers who are 5 for 5.

  4. janie says:

    i was also baffled at first by how to make sense of the apparently “wacky” musical theme-fill, but once i factored the puzzle’s title in, all became clear. cryptics are still more than a tad cryptic for me, but i know that the word “mix” in a clue is usually a signal for “anagram.”

    bravo, pete!!

    ;-)

  5. Paul Coulter says:

    @Matt: the stallions anagram slowed me, too, as I was looking for a breed. I’d consider mustangs a breed, and a very good seed entry, since they’re synonomous with wild horses.
    @Pete: another very fun, if rather easy meta.

  6. bob says:

    Rats, I misread the directions as “The meta is a group or artist referred to in the puzzle’s clues and/or answers.” I found the five horses and figured that was referring to the quintet called “Band of Horses”.

  7. Christopher Jablonski says:

    I made a similar semantic mistake as Bob–I thought the meta would reveal an artist or group, and the contest answer would be any song by that artist or group. So, any song by Band of Horses is what I would have submitted. Of course, the correct answer now makes a lot more sense.

  8. Old Geezer says:

    36D: “One of six a Brit should find in this grid” If the answer is ZED, then that’s one of the six, right? But there are six zees *and* a ZED in the grid. I just think that if the clue were “One of seven …” it would have been craftier, and more accurate as well.

    2 cents, please. (or is that tuppence?) :)

    • tabstop says:

      Now we get the interminable “use-mention distinction” discussion (ie there are six zeds and one “zed” in the puzzle ?= seven zeds). Exciting!

  9. Phoebe says:

    I’m with Janie – the title gave me anagram right away. Matt, I read Wild Horses as “scrambled names for horses” as opposed to a mix of wild horses, but maybe I’m adding another layer here. Great puzzle, Pete!

  10. jefe says:

    Curses, foaled again!

  11. Matt Gaffney says:

    Phoebe — yes, I don’t think I was clear in my post but I also interpreted “wild” to mean “anagrammed” like in a cryptic.

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