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.
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.