puzzle 7:35; meta 5 minutes (Matt)
Welcome to Year II, Episode 1 of the Muller Monthly Music Meta (sign up for free here if you’re new to these). Pete has added some intriguing new scoring features for 2013, most prominently the option to guess at the mega-meta’s answer at any time during the year. The earlier you guess it correctly, the more points it’s worth. See here for full details on this and other scoring rules.
The first puzzle at the ACPT is always a softball and so is this first MMMM of 2013. Contest instructions ask for a well-known recent pop hit, and the solved grid looks like so:
Nudged by the puzzle’s title, “I Put a Spell On You,” I noticed that several symmetrical acrosses in the grid began with either a letter or a letter’s homophone:
20-a [Words before "Ain't I Good to You" in a song popularized by Nat King Cole (and Cameron Diaz in "The Mask")] = GEE BABY
22-a [First single from Cheap Trick's debut album] = OH CANDY
27-a [Music producer who won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2010] = T-BONE BURNETT. I don’t think I knew he was a record producer. I’ve always dug this song of his, though.
42-a [Subtitle of Fatboy Slim's greatest hits album (which featured Christopher Walken on the cover)] = WHY TRY HARDER
50-a [Hangout for the Boss's band?] = E STREET
52-a [One who shares your bed no longer] = EX-LOVER. Now this is the odd one out: it starts with an X sound, but doesn’t have a musical clue. Given that roughly 53.9702% of all songs ever written have to do with an EX-LOVER, it would have been easy for Pete to clue it musically, so there’s some reason he didn’t.
Let’s sound out the first word of those theme entries and see what we get: GEE / OH / WHY / T / E / EX. The first five spell out the one-named Aussie pop star GOTYE, while the differently-clued EX is the definition of his best-known song and our January meta answer, SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW. It’s a subtle earworm, so if you’re not familiar with it then don’t click the link. Or click the link and suffer the earworm.
Nice ‘n’ E-Z meta for February, and I like the added twist where the EX- wasn’t part of the spelled name but rather a nudge towards the correct song.
***Lots of risque stuff: [Folkie McKeown whose Christmas album was titled "F*ck That!"] for ERIN, [Most opera singers have wide ones] for RANGES (what were you thinking?), [Katy Perry wore one made of cupcakes for a music video] = BRA, and [You might get one from wearing a bikini] = TAN LINE. Music + bawdy usually = BEQ!
***Guaranteed smile for cluing INIGO as ["Hello. My name is ___ Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."]
***[___ fund] = HEDGE. Cute, since the author is a hedge fundie himself.
***Two Ricky Martin references! (4-d and 56-d). iYa no mas, Pedro, por favor!
Overall a very gentle and pleasant start to MMMM2013. I’ll see you back here at the beginning of March for Year II, Episode 2.