puzzle 5:15, meta 1:00 (Matt)
Welcome to the third edition of the Muller Monthly Music Meta (sign up here if you haven’t already). For July’s puzzle Pete asks us to “join two answers together appropriately to get a song that would make a good title for this puzzle.” Let’s start the meta hunt at our theme clues/answers:
19-a. [Shirley Feeney’s roommate] = LAVERNE DEFAZIO. Milwaukee’s best.
24-a. [“Bad Girl” singer and model for a Playboy cover that was voted one of the worst of all time] = LATOYA JACKSON. She’s bad alright!
41-a. [She played Connie Conehead] = LARAINE NEWMAN. Also seen relatively recently in a great “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode.
49-a. [Republican congresswoman with a social conscience created by Garry Trudeau] = LACEY DAVENPORT. New to me, but gettable from the crossings. And not to be confused with this great athlete.
So the first thing we notice is that these are all women whose names begin with the letters LA. LA Women, eh? There is the Doors song “L.A. Woman,” but since Pete tells us to combine two entries for the meta this can’t possibly be the right answer, since you’d need the two-letter word LA to be a grid entry, and WOMAN isn’t anywhere to be seen in the grid besides.
But lookie here: LAW at 59-a and musically-not-geographically-clued O MAN at 40-d do the trick! LAW+OMAN = “L.A. WOMAN,” making that acid rock classic our meta answer for July. Sneaky!
The song is admired by cruciverbalists because Jim Morrison intones “Mr. Mojo Risin'” repeatedly at the end, which is an anagram of his own name. Wordplay in the ’60s: you had to be there! It also features the grammatically-challenged lyric “If they say I never loved you, you know they are a liar.” (OK, technically the song came out in 1971, but stylistically and culturally it’s all ’60s, baby).
14-13-13-14 is an awkward theme pattern to work with, but Pete handles it in an ELEGANT manner: SLAVE LABOR, HOME GAME, I DUNNO, SAN ANTONIO, MUZAK, RED FLAGS, DANNY BOY and LEAPT AT comprise a lot more outstanding entries than you’d expect in a 14-13-13-14. WNET and T-TEST were mystery entries to me, but maybe not to you.
Note that Pete doesn’t give the game away (as I accidentally did in my contest crossword last week with the clue for Kerri STRUG) by cluing DOORS at 35-across as the band, though it’s certainly a nudge on the meta. As is the title, “Girl Group.”
Informative clue: [German conductor Klemperer whose son Werner played Colonel Klink on “Hogan’s Heroes”] Didn’t know he and OTTO were related; Klemperer the younger has 4 ER’s in his name, one more than the guy who won Wimbledon again yesterday.
I would say this month’s MMMM represents a slight uptick in difficulty over the first two months, but Pete still hasn’t lowered the musical hammer on us. Will he do so in August, or continue ramping things up gradually? We’ll find out next month.