Here it is, the Mega-Meta! The one that ties all of 2015 together. No fan could’ve missed that one square in each of this year’s 12 regular-season puzzles contained two letters in it. If you put those twelve bigrams in chronological order, they spell out SE-LE-CT-AN-EI-GH-BO-RI-NG-SQ-UA-RE.
Parse that to “select a neighboring square,” and, armed with the knowledge that you’re looking for a classic rock hit, you can pick a neighboring square of each of those and get our mega-meta answer for 2015, Foreigner’s DOUBLE VISION:
This year-ending puzzle gave you other nudges toward that song as well: we have FOREIGNER at 31-D clued as [Band whose first syllable is a homonym for one of its album titles], referencing the album 4 and [String together, as one needs to do with the aforementioned rebus squares] for JUXTAPOSE at 11-D. And a synonym for the song title itself with DIPLOPIA at 35-D!
But the real assist comes at 9-D, where the clue [What the circled letters in the grid represent (in order) with respect to the rebus squares in each of the 2015 MMMM puzzles] gives us HEADINGS.
Those 12 circled squares spell out RULLUD DURRLR, which sounds like an ancient King of Norway but are in fact headings: Right, Up, Left, and Down. So take that first R; if you go to January’s puzzle and find the bigram, take a Right and you’ll have the D of DOUBLE VISION. And so on throughout the months.
Pretty intricate, and a nice finish to another extremely enjoyable season of the Muller Meta. And I’m not just saying that because I went 13-for-13, even though I did. Panthers couldn’t but I did. That’s right.
But really, the Monthly Muller is an event puzzle, and I’d never miss one even if I weren’t blogging them and couldn’t be happier that we’re getting a Season 5. Pete keeps these challenging and fun with unexpected mechanisms that continue to perplex and amaze with their novelty, intricacy, and precise execution. And I think we get another one on Tuesday, the 2016 Season Opener? I could be wrong about that. But Season 5 starts soon, so thanks Pete, and let me go ahead and say: I’m going 13-for-13 in 2016, and no one can stop me! Except maybe the Meta Maestro himself. We shall see!
80 solvers found DOUBLE VISION before this month. An additional 35 got it on this puzzle, bringing the total to 115. Additionally, 85 solvers found the bonus answer of COLD AS ICE / IAN using alternate adjacent squares.
Excellent puzzle to tie the whole year together! Also enjoyed the bonus blue squares, nice touch. Lots of fun all year long, looking forward to more. Thanks Pete!
Pete, these were really alot of fun. I’m glad for the work you put into this – Happy New Year!
I really look forward to the puzzle every month! They are so much fun. The red herrings this year made it even more fun. Amazing work. Thanks, Pete!
I love this every month, even when I struggle with the meta. Getting my monthly MMMM always makes my day. Couldn’t be happier for the next season!
Pete, I’m dying to know how you go about constructing these from start to finish: how do you pick the mega-theme, how do you pick the individual metas, and how the hell did you manage to put not one but TWO mega-metas into the twelve puzzles this year? Seriously, I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around it. (edit: ok, I just read in the solution write-up that you claim you didn’t plan it that way. Suuuuure.)
Glad you like the puzzles!
Here’s a short overview:
With some work, I found a 24 letter phrase (SELECT A NEIGHBORING SQUARE) and a 12 letter song title (DOUBLE VISION) that gave me flexibility in the single word I needed to include every month. In most cases there were lots of choices. For month one I needed a word that contained SE-D or D-SE, month two LE-O or O-LE, etc. Month 11 was the trickiest- BIVOUAC or KEROUAC or YOU ALL were the main possibilities for O-UA. Then after constructing each month’s meta, I found a way to stick in the mega-meta word using a rebus square. Sometimes this was easy, sometimes it was a bear…
At the end of the year, I realized 80 people had already gotten the mega-meta, so I wanted to find something else solvers could look for. Finding COLD AS ICE / IAN was just luck (really!), although there were a lot of permutations if the months don’t have to be in order. As I mentioned in my write-up, SOUND STUDIOS is also possible.
That’s so cool. Thank you so much for responding. :) Mad respect, yo.