Muller Monthly Music Meta, March

puzzle untimed; meta 7 minutes (Matt) 

Season 3, episode 3 of the MMMM is called “Making a Splash,” and comes with the rather specific prompt (to exclude an alternate answer, Pete mentions) that we are looking for a band formed in the 1990s. And a bunch of squares come circled, which I bet has something to do with the meta. Let us take a look at the solution grid:


A few moments of study revealed that the seven circled formations are half of famous Waynes: JAN Wayne (new to me, German DJ with a spare Wikipedia presence), Wayne ROGERS (who played Trapper John on “M*A*S*H”), BRUCE Wayne (a.k.a. Batman), Wayne ANTHONY (Revolutionary War general, had to look him up), many-time Grammy winning jazzman Wayne SHORTER, Vegas lounge lizard Wayne NEWTON, and rapper LIL Wayne. So even though I only knew 4.5 of the 7 (not sure I’ve heard of Shorter), you only need to know a few of them to see what’s going on.

The other two visual aspects to notice are 1) that the Waynes all run from bottom to top, as if to imply that they’re moving up the grid, and 2) that they form a flowery shape, sort of like a flame. What ’90s band does this lead to? A few minutes of ponderage led me to meta answer FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE, best known for their hit song “Stacy’s Mom,” whose video is amusing but slightly pervy so let’s look at this one instead:

So that’s a good visual meta I’ll give 3.85 stars to. Was sure I had it when I got it and curious to know what the not-90’s band was that could’ve been an alternate answer. This image shows the fountains idea a little more clearly:


Pete’s certainly been taking it easy on us, but I suspect we’re about to get the hammer in April or May. Just a little too quiet these first three months, like when nothing happens in the first 15 minutes of a horror movie. Will April be the cruellest month? See you back here in a few weeks to find out.

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13 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, March

  1. Pete Muller says:

    thanks Matt

    159 correct answers this month…

    cruelty won’t happen til later this year

    great to see many of you this weekend

  2. JustinR says:

    “Pete’s been taking it easy on us.”

    I really hope you’ve said this jokingly. Great puzzle, just very difficult to backsolve a one-hit wonder who wikipedia has omitted from “category: Musical groups established in 1996.” For me, only two of the seven Waynes ring a bell, and I visualized the pattern as ripples on a surface (the result of a splash). As a shot in the dark, I would have submitted Reel Big Fish, or – without the 90s hint – ELO.

    favorite entry: Algorism

    • Jonesy says:

      pretty sure this wasn’t said jokingly… with 159 correct answers it’s at the higher end of Muller’s usual total correct.

      just take a look at the fleetwood mac meta (second hand news) from late last year (november maybe?) to get a glimpse of Pete not taking it easy on us… definitely a good bit trickier than month 1 or 2 but quite gettable… just that this one wasn’t directly in your face (like bohemian rhapsody was)

  3. Cyrano says:

    I’m not complaining, but I will say that the .puz version of this puzzle that I did in StandAlone’s Crosswords app on the iPad had no circled squares, which pretty much made finding the meta impossible…for me at least. Maybe in the future, include some sort of heads up that there are features that won’t be visible. Or maybe I just got a bug loading the puzzle. Anyway, looks like it was a gettable meta with the circles.

    Update: I tried to include a screen shot, but that wasn’t happening. But I did just load it again and no circles.

    • Pete Muller says:

      hi Cyrano

      A few people using Android and iPad apps mentioned that the circles didn’t come through. They are in the puzzle file, and Across Lite reads them fine, but some apps don’t. One solver said that upgrading his Android software fixed the problem. In the future, I will endeavor to mention that the grid contains circles to alert solvers.

      I can’t imagine solving this puzzle without them!

    • Johnny Luau says:

      I also solved it on an iPhone using StandAlone’s app, and wasn’t able to see the circles either. I ended up guessing the Breeders as the 90’s band. I came to this tenuous conclusion based on TWIN PEAKS (the Deal sisters are identical twins), the title “Making a Splash” (Last Splash was their breakthrough album), and “Happiness is a Warm Gun” (they covered it on their first album, Pod). I figured it wasn’t correct, but I was just hoping there was something larger going on that I had missed, and these hints were just additional nudges in the same direction.

      • Pete Muller says:


        I’ve learned that Stand Alone software has a new app for ios 7 that does display the circles – their old “Crosswords Classic” app does not display them unfortunately.

  4. icdogg says:

    I don’t know how long I can hang in with these… stuff from later than the mid-80s I only know dribs and drabs about. However I did know most of the Waynes, so at least I had something to work with even though I didn’t know that the “Stacy’s Mom” band was called Fountains of Wayne. Actually I only know the song from the car commercials anyway.

    The Revolutionary War general was Anthony Wayne, not Wayne Anthony. There used to be an old restaurant, the General Wayne Inn, in Merion, outside of Philadelphia. The place became notorious when one of the owners of the place was murdered there by one of his business partners.

    The only one I was not familiar with was Jan Wayne.

  5. Jonesy says:

    What was the alternative answer? (reason for the 90s band prompt)

    • Flinty Steve says:

      It was Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders. I learned this from Pete after I guessed it wrong (I went with plain old Wayne).

  6. Matt Gaffney says:

    Wayne Fontana and the mind benders is an awesome alt-entry, since Wayne, Fontana (Italian for fountain I’d wager) and mind benders all make sense.

  7. charles montpetit says:

    Not that I personally encountered a problem with the circles, but can people who did get something like a half-credit? Just a thought.

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