puzzle — 8:11; meta — 5 minutes (Matt)
Season 4, Episode 7 of the Muller Monthly Music Meta is entitled “Ionic Columns” and Pete tells us that we’re looking for a classic rock-and-roll album. Our theme entries are….hmmm, not much. Check out the distribution of word lengths:
So just four seven-letter words, and those are the longest entries in the grid! Clearly there are some serious constraints on this thing.
For once I looked at the title, and from that scanned the grid’s columns — and out popped the meta. Ionic here is a reference to ancient Greece, and 12 of the 15 columns contain a Greek letter: BETA, ALPHA, TAU, (space), OMICRON, UPSILON, TAU, (space), OMICRON, PHI, (space), ETA, EPSILON, LAMBDA, LAMBDA. Take the English equivalent of those 12 and you’ve spelled out our meta answer, Meat Loaf’s 1977 magnum opus BAT OUT OF HELL.
This is especially apt since Meat Loaf is of Greek extraction, his real name being Efstratios Grivas.
Psyche! Made you look. It’s Marvin Lee Aday.
Not to be that guy, but I was surprised to see that just 84 solvers got this one. “Columns” in the title is a pretty strong hint, and all it takes is one of the OMICRONs or LAMBDAs jumping out for the meta to fall. But I’ve missed other metas that some have found easily, so I’ll take it.
Not much to comment on in the fill since it was so constrained, but I will say that SPYHOP at 20-A is one of the more interesting concepts in nature [Curious name for a dolphin or whale’s surfacing maneuver].
7-for-7 in 2015, making good on my boast so far. And I see that the Mega-Meta has fallen for some solvers already, so this will be the month I turn my attention to that (though I obviously won’t write about it here).
4.25 stars and I’ll see you next month.
I got it eventually, but spent a lot of time thinking we were supposed to be looking at the periodic table of elements.
84 correct in July, slightly more than last month.
Judging from the comments I got, there were a few solvers like you that saw it right away. For the others, lots of torture followed by a great “aha” moment.
There is a Greek connection – the phrase “Bat Out of Hell” was coined by Aristophanes.
so you could say the album was an aristo-record? (i’ll see myself out)
It took me a while to see the Greek letters. Ignoring Occam’s Razor, I went with the theory that “Ionic” meant something to do with the letter “I” and maybe replacing it with “IC” (I on IC). When that went nowhere I noticed that two columns had I__ON and I started looking for ions. Eventually I saw OMICRON in those columns and things finally clicked.
I thought it was ion-ic, as there were 3 answers ending with “ic”. I quickly noticed micro/micron in column 5, but nothing else stood out. Finally I was thinking maybe the Columns had a base and a capital (in the architectural sense), and I noticed: LAX is also an airport, and hey, it’s the top of the column “alpha”
there’s “beta”, could be a coincidence …
Then all the others quickly came into focus.
If any of you failed to watch the above video, perhaps you should. Just sayin …
I liked it a lot.
Put me into the column (ha!) of people who saw the answer right away. The title of the puzzle told me where to go and what to look for. Perhaps something like “Letter by Letter” would have made it more difficult (for me, anyway).
I was at a Meat Loaf concert when I was in 7th grade after the release of Bat Out of Hell II. My parents got me front row at Madison Square Garden. He gave me his guitar pick (I still have it somewhere…) and his drummer threw his drumstick at me- dad caught it before it punctured my eye. Have that too… somewhere. Huge fan of Jim Steinman’s songwriting (Meat Loaf’s songs that weren’t written by Steniman… pretty frickin’ bad. I tried to like them. Really I did.)
Great AHA for me as I wrote all the columns horizontally in order to read them easier.