Muller Monthly Music Meta, September

puzzle 9:08 minutes; meta about 8 minutes (Matt) 


Season 3, episode 9 of the Muller Music Meta is here. The puzzle’s title is “Hidden Trio (Without Hesitation)” and Pete asks us to find a band that has won multiple Grammy Awards.

It appeared to me at first glance (and turned out to be the case) that the puzzle had three theme entries. I guessed this because the rest of the grid looked too wide-open and smooth to hide much in the way of trickery, and the puzzle’s curious title refers to a “trio.”

Those three were:

20-A [Woman who sang the “Licence to Kill” theme song] = GLADYS KNIGHT. No Pips required.

38-A [Pre-Motown all-female group] = THE CHANTELS. Heard of them but I need a refresher on what their hit(s) were. This was the biggest one.

56-A [Warner Bros. put out a 1971 girl-group album named after her] = PATTI LABELLE.

I started my meta search with a few notes on the puzzle. From the title and the three theme entries I posited that there were words hidden in those three theme entries. As you can see, I found that GLADYS KNIGHT conceals LADY, which turned out to be relevant, and that PATTI LABELLE conceals ATTILA, which did not. I also scrawled down a few Patti Labelle hits from her Wiki page.


But I was tired, and under some time pressure (forgot about the MMMM until around 9 PM, when I got back from dinner at my in-laws’ house), and worried I wouldn’t get this one since only 75 solvers had figured it out when I checked.

That’s when I remembered a trick that meta-solver extraordinaire Jeffrey Harris revealed when I interviewed him recently on my website. Allow me to quote the master himself:

One [trick] that rarely works, but when it does is quite exhilarating, is just thinking of or looking up a list of all the possible answers and going through them asking myself “How would this fit into a meta?”

Well I tried it, and it worked, and it was indeed exhilarating. You can only roll the dice on this when the meta category is manageably small; “this week’s contest answer is a world capital,” probably not. “This week’s contest answer is a South American capital,” quite possibly so.

So I typed “grammy-winning trio” into Google, and the first two that popped out, as you can see from the top of my worksheet above, were TLC and The Fugees. Didn’t see anything from those, but the third one? Meta answer LADY ANTEBELLUM, whose correctness I realized so quickly that I didn’t even get to jot it down.

LADY is hidden in GLADYS KNIGHT, as mentioned above; ANTE hides in THE CHANTELS; and BELL hides in PATTI LABELLE. Where’s the UM? Go back to puzzle’s odd title: “(Without Hesitation)” is a cryptic crossword style hint that you don’t need the hesitation syllable “um,” so LADY ANTEBELLUM it is.

Pretty sneaky, of both me and Pete. He accidentally left the garage door slightly ajar and I snuck in and stole his lawnmower. With some help from the friendly folks at Google, that is.

Fun stuff, 3.75 stars.

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13 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, September

  1. Evan says:

    Damn. I saw the hidden LADY, looked at the hidden ANTE but didn’t think it meant anything. I might have gotten this if I had given myself more time to backsolve it like Matt did, but then again, I know pretty much nothing about Lady Antebellum’s songs (not even 100% sure I’ve heard of them, to be honest).

  2. jefe says:

    I had almost exactly the same approach, but instead I looked through a list of multiple-grammy winners until I found a trio.

    The AAAs diagonally crossing lAbelle and chAntels looked suspicious, but it’s AAO through glAdys. LAB crossing LABelle had me barking up the wrong tree as well.

  3. Pete Muller says:

    thanks Matt

    79 correct this week

    That garage door was only for people that hadn’t heard of the band …so technically you were trespassing!

  4. Matt Gaffney says:

    Not a crime if you don’t get caught

  5. DJB says:

    Also worth pointing out that the first word of each theme clue is a synonym for the word you are looking for hidden in the theme answer: woman, pre, warner = lady ante bell

    Nice puzzle – thanks Pete!

  6. dave glasser says:

    Heh, I took the “look for Grammy winners” route too but skipped right over Lady Antebellum because, despite their name, they are not all female, which seemed to be the clear trend of this puzzle…

  7. Adam T says:

    I saw that the theme entries had some words inside them, but then I got distracted by SAUDI in 3Down. Didn’t solve it.

  8. Tony says:

    Somehow got this rather quickly. Saw LADY and first though of Styx, but wasn’t sure if they won any Grammys. Didn’t find any other songs or references to Styx, so I abandoned that, but kept Lady in the back of my mind. Also briefly toyed with CHANT and LABEL with the other entries before seeing ANTE and BELLE and making the educated guess Lady Antebellum. It was Only after entering the answer that I realized where the UM fit in.

  9. pannonica says:

    Got it quickly, but like Joon I saw ATILLA before BELL and immediately—though thankfully only briefly—thought of the notorious early ’70s duo Attila.

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