Muller Monthly Music Meta, February — “I Put a Spell On You”

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.

Highlights:

***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.

3.85 stars.

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10 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, February — “I Put a Spell On You”

  1. Bruce S. says:

    This is why I did so bad at Pete’s contest puzzles last year. I solved the puzzle, had GOTYEX and while I saw that song after doing a google search, the ex made no connection and since it came out in 2011 I didn’t deem that recent. Actually had never heard it until I clicked on Matt’s link. Glad that other people found it easy. I am musically challenged and this just enforces that.

  2. Pete Muller says:

    161 correct answers to start the contest. “Somebody That I Used to Know” won a Grammy tonight and Prince said he loved the song when presenting the award. A number of solvers wrote in telling me they had never heard of it, so Bruce you’re not alone…(but I was surprised!)

  3. Howard B says:

    The meta reintroduced the earworm to me *while I was solving it*. Arrgh!
    Nice touch to use the final theme answer on the meta hint. Enjoyed it much.
    But sadly, now it’s just a puzzle that I used to solve :(.

  4. Matthew G. says:

    I had never heard of Gotye, or the song in question, before last night. But I was working on the meta during the Grammys, and my wife and I were perusing the nominees list online. When I saw the name Gotye on the list, I did a double-take and then looked back at my puzzle where I had written GOTYEX in the margin, seeming nonsense suddenly rendered comprehensible. Managed to send in the correct answer with only an hour or so to spare.

    Pete, my wife shares your surprise that I hadn’t heard of him. Bodes ill for my chances over the course of MMMM2.

    • janie says:

      at the time i solved the puzzle (shortly after its release), like you, “I had never heard of Gotye, or the song in question…” but the title told me how to proceed and i saw the letters emerge. google helped me thereafter!

      feel somewhat reassured by pete that this round won’t be *too* pop-focused! ;-)

      that said, am still not likely to be a genuine contender. just enjoy solving the puzzles and the *occasional* meta. also gotta love pete’s grammy synchronicity/prescience. impressive!

      ;-)

  5. Abby says:

    Also, the other singer on the track is Kimbra whose name is in there too! (That clinched it for me while I was filling it in.)

  6. Pete Muller says:

    MMMM2 will not be too pop-focused, although there may be a few more current songs/groups in the meta answers.

  7. Charles Montpetit says:

    What clinched it for me was apparently unintended: since this puzzle was all about letter homophones, and since the title was about a “Spell,” I figured that GOTYEX meant GOTYE + HEX (i.e. Hex Hector), both of whom collaborated on a special mix of “Someone I Used to Know.” See http://vimeo.com/47556678 for the video.

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