Muller Monthly Music Meta, March MMXVI

puzzle — untimed; meta — 12 minutes (Matt) 


Beatlesque (open)

Season 5, Epsiode 3 of the Muller Meta, and I figured from the title that this would be a snap; you’re not going to trip up this middle-aged Anglophile with a meta called “Beatlesque.” Over 200 solvers had answered correctly by the time I solved on Saturday afternoon, another good sign that I would soon be 3-for-3 in 2016.

Pete’s instructions told us to look for a band with a #1 hit in the ’70s that would make a good seventh theme entry. And our first six theme entries were:

17-A [Moldable claylike material, or a 2003 Placebo song] = PLASTICINE. Never heard of Placebo, and I thought I’d never heard the word “plasticine” before. Thought once I got the meta, I realized I’d heard it a hundred times or more.

19-A [Citrus spread, or a famous dance-hit “Lady”] = MARMALADE. From that “voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” song. French spelling may be off there.

28-A [Old-timey child’s toy, or an Alannah Myles record] = ROCKING HORSE.

35-A [Old-timey child’s toy, or a Siouxsie and the Banshees record] = KALEIDOSCOPE.

48-A [Citrus fruit, or a Led Zeppelin song] = TANGERINE. Lovely song.

52-A [Record wrapper, or a Troggs record] = CELLOPHANE.

So what next? First thing I notice is that “cello” begins CELLOPHANE, but couldn’t find any others anyplace.

One aspect of crossword construction Pete especially excels at (Byron Walden is also very good at this) is putting a lot of theme into a grid, and then somehow managing to make that grid wide-open as well, and then somehow engineering a bunch of excellent fill in there to boot. This grid is a prime example — six theme entries across, so how does he also get OXYGEN crossing three themers, DIFRANCO (!), SOY MILK, CARRY ME, timely REVENANT, COIN OP, BEN LEE and XMASES, and the wide-open NE and SW that are very clean? Amazing. OK, there’s some dreck gluing it together, but this is high-level deployment of dreck. Impressive!

And relevant to the meta because there’s no way he can have snuck any other clues in the fill, since it’s so constricted. So you know you’re dealing only with those six theme entries.

Except not: could it be a coincidence that the middle row reads ONOLSDDAY, all clued to the Beatles in the titled? No, it could not — on top of all of the above, dude also set aside the middle row to point you to the theme idea. LSD is clued as [Drug the Beatles unconvincingly claimed not to have written a song about], and that song, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” just happens to contain all six of these theme words in its trippy lyrics:

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she’s gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
That grow so incredibly high

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore
Waiting to take you away
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
And you’re gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Picture yourself on a train in a station
With Plasticine porters with looking-glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Those six are emboldened above, and our meta answer is italicized: one-hit wonder LOOKING GLASS, whose one-hit must be one of the very greatest one-hits of all time. Well Ranker puts it down at #43, but that’s way too low.

Are you not entertained? I was: 4.25 stars, and see you back here for episode 4 in April. We’ve had smooth sailing so far but I think April is when Pete amped up the difficult last year. Or was it May? I don’t remember but I assure you it’s coming…

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, March MMXVI

  1. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt

    241 correct this month…

    Technically, Looking Glass is a two-hit wonder – they also charted with “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne.”

    Difficulty will go up a little bit next month…we’ll see if you can keep that streak going …

  2. jefe says:

    Darn it – I solved the puzzle yesterday, set it aside, and never got back to it.
    Nice one, Pete!

  3. sandirhodes says:

    Matt never used the word ‘adjective.’ I was looking for descriptive words in the song that weren’t in the grid, so the choices were few. Had I not misread the instructions at first, I’d have had the meta much sooner.

    Nice effort!

  4. Cyrano says:

    Wow. I really lucked out. I got LOOKING GLASS, but as I told Pete in my submission, there was no click for me and I figured I was wrong. In fact the only reason I picked that answer was that of all the possible number one groups, only one other (Bread) was an actual object. There was one that was a kind of apple or something but LOOKING GLASS was the only one that seemed to fit the group. Maybe it was just residual Beatles lyrics in my head. Great meta.

  5. Abide says:

    Wondering if anyone submitted John Fred and the Playboys’ #1 hit ” Judy in Disguise” ?

    It was a Lucy in the Sky parody, and could certainly be called Beatlesque.

    Edit: not #1 in the 70s I see

  6. PJ Ward says:

    I got it. But not before spending a few minutes chasing marshmallows.

Comments are closed.