Muller Monthly Music Meta, March

puzzle — untimed; meta — about 4 minutes (Matt) 

Are you coasting through the Muller Metas so far this year? I am, and with 200+ correct entries for March I see that a lot of you all are as well. But April was the cruelest month last year, so let’s not get too cocky yet.

Hit Singles

“Hit Singles” is the title of Season 4, Episode 3, and Pete tell us that we’re looking for either one of two Beatles songs that would make a good seventh theme entry. Let’s take a look at the first six, then:

1-A/6-A [John Coltrane jazz hit] = GIANT/STEPS
20-A [U2 hit written as an homage to Billie Holiday] = ANGEL OF HARLEM
38-A [Fall Out Boy rock hit subtitled “Hotel in NYC”] = TWIN SKELETONS
57-A [1966 hit by the Cyrkle co-written by Paul Simon] = RED RUBBER BALL
70-A/71-A [1998 Madonna hit] = RAY OF/LIGHT
47-D/11-D [1994 Tim McGraw country hit] = INDIAN / OUTLAW. Subtly amusing choice of theme entry, as we’ll see in a second.

Baseball season is nigh, and the common thread here is that each of these six begins with a member of a Major League Baseball team: there’s a San Francisco GIANT, an Anaheim or Los Angeles or wherever they are this season ANGEL, a Minnesota TWIN, a Cincinnati RED, a Tampa Bay RAY, or are they just Tampa Rays now? I know they dropped the “Devil Ray” moniker at some point in favor of just “Ray” — and a Cleveland INDIAN.

So we need one of the two Beatles songs starting with an MLB member, and those two, our meta answers, would be: The not-very-good song “Blue Jay Way” off the otherwise brilliant “Magical Mystery Tour” — see George, that’s why they only let you have two songs per album — and the other one is the great “Rocky Raccoon” off the great White Album. That’s a Colorado Rocky and Toronto Blue Jay.


***So why is it amusing and relevant that Pete chose a Tim McGraw song for a theme entry? Because his father was a pitcher in the Majors for twenty years!

***Tons of theme, as you can see from the solution grid above, but still solid fill. ARKANSAW is suboptimal and I’M A COP is on the contrived side, but other than that we’ve got some fancy stepping to negotiate all that theme: NEW TAB, WON OUT, KIEFER, and FREEZE/SLEAZE crossing at the you-know-what are all nice.

***Favorite clue: [Practices “the art of catching cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at great personal risk”] = SKIS. Who said that? Anonymous, as it turns out.

Easy but fun, and lots of theme, and timely, so 4.10 stars. And steel yourself for April, which I suspect will be tough.

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18 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, March

  1. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt

    206 correct this month…

    The hammer will fall soon :)


    • pannonica says:

      What was the breakdown of submitted correct answers?

      • Pete Muller says:

        2 A HARD DAY’S NIGHT
        77 ROCKY RACCOON
        150 BLUE JAY WAY

        (in the ANSWER field, where some people put both…Many added the alternate answer in their COMMENT field which I’m not counting)

        • pannonica says:

          Thanks. So that puts the new total at 229?

          • Pete Muller says:

            no – some people submitted both so there is double counting happening

          • pannonica says:

            Ohhh. I see now. I resisted putting both in the answer box, hewing strictly to the instructions. In fact, I didn’t mention the other one by name in the comment. Kind of surprised one was favored so heavily, like collective support for the ‘underdog’.

        • jpdavidson says:

          I imagine the favoring of “Blue Jay Way” is because “Rocky” isn’t really the singular for the “Colorado Rockies”. I can’t really find any significant mention of “Rocky” used to refer to a player on the baseball team.

          • RPardoe says:

            A simpler explanation (and the reason I had Blue Jay Way first) – it is the first song one encounters when scanning an alphabetical list of Beatles songs.

  2. Jim S says:

    I was happy Pete specified that there were two choices for answers. With “Giant” in there, one could have jumped to other sports and assumed any team would have fit. Hockey being my #1 sport, I could have been tempted to submit “Devil in Her Heart” for the New Jersey Devils.

    Solid meta. I completely missed the Tim McGraw song as part of the theme – I focused on the across answers so thankfully the Indian Outlaw piece wasn’t required to solve it. Also thanks to Matt for pointing out the Tim / Tug connection – not sure I knew that.

  3. Tony says:

    Got it but by luck. I was nowhere near baseball teams. What I saw was that a lot of themes had single-named movie titles in them. GIANT, TWINS (yes, I know that it was a bit of a stretch since it did bridge TWIN SKELETONS), RAY and RED among them. I said to myself Rocky Raccoon has ROCKY, so I submitted it, saw my name in the leaderboard and thought how smart am I? Apparently not too smart. I fear the hammer might hit me when it falls….

  4. Joe Eckman says:

    Got it- after I put it down and approached it with fresh eyes. I tried to make something out of nothing by equating a 4 letter word with EA in it…LEAP for giant/steps, DEAD for twin skeletons, BEAM for ray of light….it was a really terrible idea. The next morning, the MLB connection jumped off the page. Thanks, Pete! Fun puzzle!

  5. Sam Levitin says:

    I grokked the baseball angle, but rejected Rocky Raccoon because the song is properly titled “The Ballad of Rocky Raccoon.” I found 2 Beatles songs (well-known ones, too, better than Rocky Raccoon) beginning with “A” for (Oakland) Athletics, A Day in the Life and A Hard Day’s Night, and got credit for the latter.

    Was I in the minority ? Was this an unintended answer?

    • Pete Muller says:

      Unintended, but acceptable…

      Why do you think it is called “The Ballad of Rocky Raccoon?”

      That phrase sticks in my head too, but all the online references to the song are to “Rocky Raccoon.”

      • pannonica says:

        Maybe because the “The Ballad of John and Yoko” was recorded around the same time and has a White Album vibe? And of course the narrative of “Rocky Raccoon” has an episodic, balladic feel.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      Sam, could you be thinking of this, which is nearby on the album and done in a similar style?

      • Sam Levitin says:

        I wasn’t thinking of anything nearby on the album. I was reading a Wikipedia article, and must have sustained a brain hiccup. :( I did make careful note that the prompt was for a Beatles’ *song* and not a *single*.

        • Gwinns says:

          I was also POSITIVE the song was called “The Ballad of Rocky Raccoon.” But then I started googling and couldn’t find that title anywhere– including images of the White Album CD track listing. But still, that title had to come from somewhere…

          Still went with Blue Jay Way to be on the safe side.

  6. pannonica says:

    Just as a by-the-way, “Indian Red” is a big Mardi Gras song.

    Indian Red by Wild Tchoupitoulas on Grooveshark

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