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.
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?