puzzle — 7:51 with 2 errors; meta — 1 minute (Matt)
Three Muller Metas in five weeks! I can handle that.
This is Season 4, Episode 2, and it’s an easy one. We’re looking for a classic jazz song, and our first theme entry is a large help:
16-A [Jazz giant on the piano (and composer of the meta)] = THELONIOUS MONK. Hence the 14×14 grid. I have a friend from high school who works at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in L.A.
And at 52-A we have [Jazz giant on the trumpet] = DIZZY GILLESPIE. Now I don’t know whether Gillespie has any connection to the meta answer, but I do know that the meta answer is ROUND MIDNIGHT, since the letters of “midnight” appear both circled and in a circle in the middle of the grid. I think there was a film biopic of this name in the 1980s as well? Correct!
Embarrassingly I don’t know this song, even though Wikipedia tells me it is “the most recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician.”
Wiki also tells me that DIZZY GILLESPIE recorded some of the most famous versions of it.
*** My error came in the 9 box, where I put VSRP/VIMEO instead of the correct MIMEO/MSRP clued as [Number on a sticker, briefly] and [Dupe, old-style]. I was thinking the VSOP on bottles of wine (liquor?) and then saw that VIMEO was a word and thought I was good.
*** Oh wait, I see a second mistake now. 1-A was [Japanese electronics company with a TASCAM division] which did hot help at all, but I got TEA? from crossings. Then 4-D was a guess [Jazz vibraphonist Tjader] since his second letter could be either A or O. I put MAL but his name turns out to be CAL.
*** 19-A [“Achtung Baby” co-producer Brian] = ENO. Harkening back to last year’s lovely mega-meta.
*** Some fancy stepping required in the center to get everything to fit, and he did it with only one clunker: [___ Pendragon (legendary British king)]. UTHER Pendragon? I have to know more about someone with this excellent name; I’ll read his Wiki page and give you the most interesting factoid on it. Well, here’s a whole paragraph:
With Aurelius on the throne, Uther leads his brother in arms to Ireland to help Merlin bring the stones of Stonehenge from there to Britain. Later, while Aurelius is ill, Uther leads his army against Vortigern’s son Paschent and his Saxon allies. On the way to the battle, he sees a comet in the shape of a dragon, which Merlin interprets as presaging Aurelius’s death and Uther’s glorious future. Uther wins the battle and takes the epithet “Pendragon”, and returns to find that Aurelius has been poisoned by an assassin. He becomes king and orders the construction of two gold dragons, one of which he uses as his standard.
3.75 stars. As with last year Pete has started us off with a couple of softballs in 2015, but I won’t complain because last year when I did that I failed to get two of three metas in a row, if memory doesn’t fail. See you back here in March.
New record of 300 solvers this month!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them. Here’s the thing I just discovered: the MIDNIGHT letters aren’t circled in Stand Alone’s Crosswords app for iPad, my medium of choice. I just checked; they’re circled in Across Lite and Puzzazz, but not Crosswords. Go figure. I posted a pic of the puzzle with uncircled letters here.
With nothing else to go on, I went with what seemed right to me. The four symmetrically placed “jazz giants” in one puzzle seemed to hint to Monk’s “Four in One”. While I didn’t know the song title or its melody (I’m not a jazz connoisseur), it appears on some lists of his greatest works and has been covered by other jazz greats in recent years. I figured that was enough to make it a “classic”.
And, being new to PMMMM, I thought this might be enough for a 2nd month meta (despite the fact that two of the themers were only 5 letters long; their “Jazz giant” clues trumped that fact). There was certainly no way I was going to see the uncircled MIDNIGHT letters.
I don’t know why this would have happened or if it just happened to me. Crosswords (the app) can certainly show circles as evidenced by today’s (2/9/15) NYT puzzle by Lynn Lempel. Whether my solution gets counted as correct is beside the point; I’m curious as to why this happened. Did anybody else experience this?
That’s a bummer. I’m not sure why this happened & would welcome hearing from anyone that knows something about the Stand Alone app.
In the future, I will try to mention that the puzzle has circles in the email I send out.
FWIW, I did have one solver who had the same thing happen to him but managed to solve the puzzle anyway. So it’s likely a glitch in the software – maybe try upgrading the app?
“Four in One” comes close as a possible solution, but I don’t think it’s over the bar, sorry.
I didn’t catch if Pete did so this time around, but he usually sends a PDF or image along with the .puz file. Didn’t that have the circles in it?
At some point Stand Alone (confusingly) released a new version of the app as a separate item on the App Store; the original version was renamed Crosswords Classic and I think is no longer supported. I’ve encountered the missing circles issue myself in Crosswords Classic (in last year’s Fountains of Wayne MMMM puzzle, in fact). In the newer version of the app the circles show properly for me in both this puzzle and the Fountains of Wayne puzzle.
Thanks for that, Travis. I thought I was going crazy. Apparently I have the Crosswords Classic app even though the app doesn’t say that anywhere. I will check out their newer app.
In addition to being a standard I recall Round Midnight as a pretty good movie. With a really good soundtrack. Maybe the soundtrack shouldn’t have won the Oscar for best ‘original’ score, but it is good.
The film Round Midnight isn’t quite a biopic. The protagonist is an amalgam of a few contemporaneous musicians, but none of them is Thelonious Monk. I can also recommend the 1988 documentary, Straight, No Chaser, which is about Monk.
As I mentioned with my submission, the original name of the composition is “’Round About Midnight”, which also works for the meta, as it resembles a (traffic) roundabout.
It would have been criminal, though not quite felonious, for me—of all people—to have missed this one.
You may groan now.