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!