May Muller Monthly Music Meta — Matt’s miss

puzzle untimed; meta DNF (Matt) 

Season 2, Episode 4 of the MMMM. I blazed through the year’s first three metas but this one has got me stumped so far. Think I’ve got all the hints but can’t come up with the song; let’s see if the pressure of high-stakes blogging shakes the answer loose.

The puzzle title is “Down and Dirty,” and instructions ask for a song released in the ’70s that didn’t become a hit until much later. While solving I couldn’t clearly differentiate between theme and fill: there are two 15’s (unusual to see them in the 7th and 9th rows like that), but then four 9’s across and two down, so not sure what’s what.

I began my meta-hunt with something that stuck out as odd as I was solving: BLAND and ADELA in the Southeast could easily have been improved by becoming BLEND and ADELE, the latter being the pop star. This is especially obvious since Pete clued ADELA as [Classical pianist Verne, whose name differs from that of a pop star by a single letter]. So why didn’t he make that simple edit?

A little more grid-scanning brought out the common denominator on what I assume will turn out to be the six theme entries: LANDO, COLANDERS, CRUEL AND UNUSUAL, NEW SCOTLAND YARD, PHILANDER, and the aforementioned BLAND each conceal the word LAND. So that’s why he couldn’t go with BLEND/ADELE. The LANDS also move progressively left-to-right and downward from the NW corner to the SE.

So, what 1970s song that later became a hit does this point to? I have no idea. A good idea when you have no idea is to look at the title: “Down and Dirty.” When I saw the LANDs going across the grid my image was of a plane LANDing, but the title suggests that we might be using LAND as in “soil” or “earth”; the “Down” part of the title is general downward path of the LANDs, and if it’s soil we’re talking about then that’s the “Dirty” part. That sounds plausible, but I still don’t know what song it points to.

I’ve spent some time brainstorming titles with “land,” “earth,” “soil,” and “farm” but to no avail. Maybe those LANDs go across just as much as they do down, so something with a phrase like “across the land” in it? Seems tenuous. Now that I consider it, it seems more likely that LAND itself is in the song title/lyrics than a synonym like earth or soil.

Stumped solvers sometimes grumble about the leaderboard on my site for a reason I’ve thought was odd until now: it’s aggravating as hell when you’re stumped to check the leaderboard and see that a lot of people have already gotten it. I used to tell people to just not check it but now I understand that you’ve got to know how many have solved this meta that you just can’t see and it’s so MADDENING!

Alright, in desperation I just showed the meta to my wife, who naturally got it in around five seconds (no joke).

Me: “It’s a song from the 70s, there’s these six LANDs in there, going down like this.”

Her: “Landslide.”

Me: “[unprintable]”

I was ridiculously close, having considered the idea of a visual image formed by the LANDS and come up with “Landfall,” “Earthfall” and “Skyfall” none of which makes any sense. But the idea of an avalanche or a landslide didn’t strike me. Oof.

It goes without saying that the meta was completely fair — the song is very well-known and as soon as Kristin said the word “Landslide” it clicked right away as being correct. Bravo to those who got it; I’m sure it feels much better than the gut-wrenching self-loathing myself and this guy and probably others are going through for missing it.

And Bravo to Pete for ruining not only my weekend with the meta itself but also perhaps tomorrow with the ensuing internally-directed rage. Grrrrrr…eat job, Pete, seriously. Bummed to lose my streak while it’s still Spring, but them’s the breaks. I’ll see everyone back here in a month.

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13 Responses to May Muller Monthly Music Meta — Matt’s miss

  1. Matt says:

    The LANDSLIDE brought me down. Can’t believe I didn’t think of that until now.

  2. tabstop says:

    The song didn’t immediately come to me, but then I typed ‘song lyrics “land’ into Google and let it auto-complete the title for me! Yay!

    (Note: I wrote this just so I could leave an unfinished quote in the message. You’re welcome.)

  3. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt

    I guess it is always best to check with the missus :)

    Only 85 correct answers this month, far fewer than I expected.


  4. Like Matt, I found all of the LANDs, but couldn’t come up with the song title. I considered sending in “Go West”, which satisfies the meta hint, has a very conspicuous staircase in the music video (the LANDs kind of resemble a staircase going down), and does contain the lyric “land” once; however it leaves the title completely unexplained, and the lyric “land” is not really important at all.

    Of course, that’s moot since I forgot when the solution deadline was and didn’t remember to send it in in time.

  5. Matthew G. says:

    Matt’s reaction describes how I felt, as a huge baseball fan, after failing to solve the Week 4 baseball-themed MGWCC meta last month. I was genuinely angry with myself for at least 48 hours.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      This comment makes me feel a little better, thanks. I’m in about hour 15 of the process at the moment. I had actually listened to the album “Landslide” was on just last week (the self-title Fleetwood Mac album).

  6. Paul Coulter says:

    I sent in Share the Land by The Guess Who. It was reissued in the 90s and I figured Pete might choose a Canadian band, plus it does get to the sense of the title. Now that I see the answer, Pete’s intended song is clearly better, but I’d quibble that this wasn’t popular back then. As a college student in the 70s, I can tell you that Fleetwood Mac and this particular track both were very big.

    • Pete Muller says:

      I remember the song from back then too . But it wasn’t released as a single and as far as I can tell (from wikipedia), it didn’t chart in the ’70s. “Landslide” did chart later as a hit for the Smashing Pumpkins and (unfortunately) an even bigger hit with the Dixie Chicks, as well as from Fleetwood Mac’s 1997 live album “The Dance.”

      “Share the Land” was close to an acceptable alternate answer.


  7. Amy L says:

    I had a feeling the answer wasn’t in my brain’s database. I entered Crash Landing, a Jimi Hendrix song I had never heard of but found by Googling. (Released in the 70s and again later on, it seemed to fit.) I never heard of Landslide, so I’m not as chagrined as Matt. I know by now that my listening past is very different from Pete’s and I often have trouble with the meta.

  8. pannonica says:

    Was very distracted by the Doors’ “Land Ho!” from 1970, but eventually got to the right place.

  9. Garrett says:

    Like Matt said in his tweet, “The Muller Music Meta was blindingly obvious, but only in retrospect.” Groan — I feel like I so should have gotten that!

  10. Jeff G. says:

    Found the 6 lands, but kept trying to make a song title using the letters going down from 1 land to the next. No luck there, but I enjoyed the puzzle and I’ve had the song stuck in my head ever since Matt’s better half figured it out.

  11. Pete Mitchell says:

    I got the meta, but only after a deep rat hole where I was convinced from the title that we must be looking for an Australian band. Thankfully, “Down Under” was not released in the 70s. Toyed with “Highway to Hell” and “Stairway to Heaven”, but neither rang true. Huge “DOH!” moment when it hit me. And let’s just pretend I never noticed the CRUE part of Cruel and Unusual before I noticed all those LANDs.

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