Muller Music Meta, December

puzzle — untimed; meta — 20 minutes (Matt) 


Our Meta Maestro himself has confirmed it: there will indeed be a Season 5 of the Muller Monthly Music Meta. Sorry to sound like one of those TV show fanboys, but I well and truly dig the M4, and am stoked that Pete is bringing the ruckus for another year.

Anyway: I’ve been boasting all of 2015 that I was going to shoot 12-for-12 this year, and I did it, fools! Successfully negotiated the shoals of every tricky patch this year, including December. Let’s take a look.


Our instructions tell us that we’re looking for one of Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500 Songs of all time. So even if you have no idea, you’ve still got a .02 chance of getting it right. I dig those odds!!

From the rather bizarre title [“Year-Ending Roman Orgy” –ed.], I was 75% sure that this one would have something to do with Roman numerals. Not to diminish the role that the Old Romans had on American culture (architecture, art, law, language, mathematics, philosophy, Weltanschuung, list-ending two-word phrases, et cetera), but Roman numerals and crosswords are sorta made for each other. And I turned out to be right.

Because here are our four theme entries, and recall that we may be looking for Roman numerals:

16-A [J. Geils Band album and single] = FREEZE FRAME. If anyone out there can name another J. Geils Band single or album without Google, I tip my hat to you.

28-A [George Strait album and single] = EASY COME, EASY GO. I don’t know it, but I do a mean karaoke version of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Oh wait, that’s George Jones. I’m so Yankee it’s embarrassing.

42-A [Rolling Stones B-side ballad] = NO EXPECTATIONS. Don’t know it but it sounds very Jagger.

55-A [Foreigner hit] = JUKEBOX HERO. Also unfamiliar. Feeling a bit loserish by now.

So the first thing I notice is that there are a lot of X’s in these entries — just two, but it turns out to be the right idea. Check me out:


The Roman numerals in those four spell out MCMXCIX, which is Gaius Julius Caesar for the year 1999. Also known as one of the many masterworks of one Prince Rogers Nelson:

So “1999 is our meta-answer.

Ok, well Pete just told (reminded?) me that there’s one more Muller Meta for 2015, the Mega-Meta reveal. There is? I thought I went 12-for-12 plus the Mega-Meta!? That’s like telling the 1972 Dolphins (or 2015 Panthers) that there’s one more game after the Super Bowl. Whatever, I can handle it! See you back here for the conclusion of Season 4 + the start of Season 5 of the MMMM. I’m confused but am completely willing to solve another Muller Music Meta at any place and at any time. It’s like saying “Would you like another serving of Beef Wellington?”

Yes, duh. Puff pastry for the win.

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20 Responses to Muller Music Meta, December

  1. Tom says:

    Pretty sure you weren’t supposed to let the cat out of the bag yet for the mega meta… :-/

  2. Pete Muller says:

    Hi Matt

    62 correct answers this month…
    Congrats on 12 for 12 and getting the mega-meta…

    Yup – can you please put the mega-meta cat back in the bag?

  3. Bob J says:

    Note that those are the only Roman numerals that appear in the grid – no extra M’s, C’s, X’s, or I’s, and no D’s, L’s, or V’s to be found. A nice bit of elegance.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      Thanks — meant to point this out in my review. That’s a lot of letters not to be able to use in the fill.

  4. kaymook says:

    I especially loved the fact that the central entry was – with Pete’s tremendous slyness – clued as Prince, for Paris. That would have saved me a lot of frustration had I noticed it earlier.

  5. Mike W says:

    Another fun puzzle. Before figuring out the meta, I thought we would have to anagram the ends of some year-end parties that crossed with the long answers. Specifically, 54-D (Noe) needed the ending “L” and 46-D (Saturn) needed the ending “alia” to make two year-end parties.

  6. Paolo P. says:

    The .002 odds fell in my favor this month! I last-minute-guessed this one based solely off the mention of “Year” in the title, and the fact that there were no full years mentioned in the clues. Time to buy a lottery ticket or twenty

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      Ah, .002 instead of my .02 is right.

      • sandirhodes says:

        Also, it didn’t call for [one of Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500 Songs of all time]. It called for [one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time]. So I spent my allotted time looking for a Stones song.

        Not saying I’m right (it’s obvious now); just sayin’.

  7. Steve Blais says:

    This was definitely a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees for me. I did think of Roman numerals first, but then went to Roman gods, then Roman emperors. Nothing yielded anything viable. And to think the end solution was so simple. Gah! 12 for 13 in my first year at MMMM (including the mega-meta), but this last one is still going to gnaw at me…

  8. Pete Muller says:

    There are 12 monthly MMMM puzzles, one on the first Tuesday of each month.
    On the last Tuesday of the year (December 29 this year), there’s a final puzzle, the mega-meta reveal, which provides additional hints to those that haven’t gotten the mega-meta yet.
    You get five bonus points for solving the mega-meta early, and an extra 2 bonus points for each month remaining in the contest when you solve it.

    Since so many people have solved the mega-meta this year, I may throw in an additional bonus opportunity in the final beef wellington puzzle.

  9. glasser says:

    Is Centerfold really that obscure? I’d never heard of Freeze Frame though :)

  10. Becky Moody says:

    I can’t believe I forgot about C being a Roman numeral! I was going for 2019 and even Googled MMXIX!

  11. AK37 says:

    Pete – so how many people went 12 for 12? I believe earlier in the year you thought it would be less than 25?

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