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.