puzzle untimed; meta DNF (Matt)
27 minutes to deadline and I’ve got no clue about this year-end finale to the Muller Monthly Music Meta. Neither do many of you, I’m guessing, since the scoreboard shows just 13 correct entries. Let me tell you some dead ends I’ve traveled.
First I free-scanned the grid since that worked so well last month, but nothing jumped out. There’s just one theme entry in the grid and there’s an unusually high amount of suboptimal fill for just the one. Add in the many circumscribed little areas and it seems highly probable that the author is concealing ten words in the grid somehow. I say ten because that one theme entry, WHO SAID IT, is clued as [What you have to figure out 10 times to get the meta], and there are about 10 of those little nooks hiding around the grid where you stuff a word. So in 20 minutes I expect to see 10 somethings pop out of the solution grid.
Just now I started trying to guess the most likely sounding words in each area of the grid (most likely to be in a song lyric, say) and came up with LONE DANCE WARD ALL BIG CLOWN ROSS PIGTAILS THE. Not setting off any alarm bells.
Other stuff I’ve tried: looking for the word “it” ten times in the clues; checking out albums by The Who, since contest instructions ask for an album from a band that’s been on “The Simpsons” and The Who has, and there they are right in the grid’s only theme entry. That could be a coincidence but maybe not; my random guess in a few minutes is going to be a Who album.
One weird thing in the clues I forgot to mention is this curious trio:
25-d ["We Got ___ Love" (9th song on Mary J. Blige's 9th album)] = HOOD
26-d ["We ___ Fall in Love Sometimes" (9th song on Elton John's 9th album)] = ALL
37-d ["___ Me" (9th song on the Foo Fighters' "Greatest Hits")] = BIG
That’s some weird “9th song” action; if this doesn’t have something to do with the meta it would certainly raise an eyebrow. But I tried all the logical things (looking for 9th albums, albums with 9th in the title, etc.) and nothing happened.
10 minutes left. Time for one final look.
That “9th” deal has to mean something. Not seeing it. Someone tell me in comments what I missed. Can’t wait to see how close (or not) I was.