puzzle 9:00, meta 5-7 minutes (Matt)
After missing last month’s MMMM I was highly motivated to redeem myself, and I did just that! The puzzle took 9 minutes and the meta just 5 or 6, but I did sort of luck out; could’ve taken an hour if my eye hadn’t caught one critical word at a critical moment.
This month Pete asks us to name a well-known Beatles song, and the grid appeared to (and indeed did) house four theme entries:
20-a [#1 hit from 1966, with “The”] = SOUNDS OF SILENCE, by Simon & Garfunkel
33-a [1973 song that was reworked to become a 1997 #1] = CANDLE IN THE WIND, by Elton John
41-a [1979 tune that’s #321 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time (but never charted)] = COMFORTABLY NUMB by last month’s meta group, Pink Floyd. 25 years ago I owned this song on a cassette tape single (flipside was “Run Like Hell”)
55-a [#1 hit from 1974 from a one-hit wonder] = SEASONS IN THE SUN by one-hit wonder Terry Jacks.
The first thing I noticed was that the first song was by PAUL Simon & Art Garfunkel, and that the second was by Elton JOHN. Since we were looking for a Beatles song I was sure this had something to do with it. But there’s no George or Ringo in Pink Floyd, and something I’m learning about solving metas is that if it’s not working then let it go, so I did.
I was familiar with each of these songs, but less so with the last one than the iconic first three. So I decided to Google its lyrics, and noticed that it included the line “Goodbye, Michelle, my little one.” Well “Michelle” is of course a well-known Beatles song, but I couldn’t think of it mentioned anywhere in any of the other three. I was just about to click off the lyrics page when my eye landed on that very sad first line of the song:
Goodbye to you, my trusted friend/we’ve known each other since we were nine or ten.
There’s that word again, Goodbye, and as the first line in the song. What about the other three songs’ opening lines? They’re all as iconic as the songs themselves:
“Hello darkness, my old friend…”
“Goodbye, Norma Jean…”
“Hello, is there anybody in there…?”
“Goodbye to you, my trusted friend…”
So there it is: the meta answer is “Hello, Goodbye,” their #1 hit off “Magical Mystery Tour.”
I liked this meta a lot. It wasn’t obvious and if I hadn’t happened to notice that “Goodbye” it would’ve taken me a lot longer than five minutes. The idea of using the first word of each song is excellent, and it can’t have been easy to come up with four famous songs that fit the pattern and contain exactly 15 letters each. 4.5 stars and a “bravo” from me — actually let’s make it 4.55 since the title “Take It From the Top” is perfect: means nothing until after you’ve got it, when its meaning becomes obvious. And it’s a musical phrase to boot! So 4.57 stars.
I listened to 5 or 6 covers and this was the best one. Enjoy it and I’ll see you back here for episode 8 of the Muller Monthly Music Meta in early December.