Muller Monthly Music Meta, April 2017

puzzle 6:05; meta minus 4 minutes (Matt) 


Month four of the 2017 Muller Music Meta. Do you have a perfect score? Very possibly — let’s see who got tripped up on this one.

Our title is “Pulse Modulation,” and our prompt is:

Something’s not right with six of the entries in this grid. What song that was a hit in both the 1970s and ’90s provides instructions necessary to make sense out of them?

Intriguing — let’s check out our six theme entries, four of which were obvious from length and two of which identified themselves later on:

17-A [Perks for AARP members] = SENIOROCSIDUNTS. Sounds like it wants to be accidents, but that’s actually DISCO in reverse, taken from the original phrase senior discounts.

23-A [Acts like an angel, idiomatically] = SPROUTGNIWSS. SWING is reversed, from sprouts wings

34-A [Sprinkle-covered, alcohol-flavored chocolate dessert morsel] = AMBURALL. RUMBA is reversed, from rum ball

36-A [Three-card monte, say] = AGNOCME. CONGA is revered, from con game

46-A [Shirley Temple Black, once, to Czech.] = UABMASSSADOR. Tricky with that triple-S in there. SAMBA is reversed, from U.S. ambassador. She was also ambassador to Ghana.

55-A [Cryptogenic] = OKNUFOWNORIGIN. Nice one-word clue. FUNK is reversed, from of unknown origin. Nice find there.

What have we done here? We were forced by Pete to TURN THE BEAT AROUND, which I always just thought was a 1990s Gloria Estefan song, but turns out to have originally been a Top-10 song for one-hit wonder Vickie Sue Robinson in 1976.

I like this meta quite a bit. The mechanism is unique and amusing, and there were some nice finds among the sextet Pete used.

One of Pete’s constructing fortes is somehow managing both theme density and a wide-open grid, which I often label “fancy stepping.” He did it again here: with four long theme entries and two shorts ones across the middle no one would’ve complained if he’d gone with a more conservative fill. Instead we get four 8s that span three theme entries each — WRINGING, PROMPTER, NO-GO AREA and LOOSENED, plus chunky-but-still-lively sections in the SW and NE.

4.40 stars from me. I’m 3/4 on the year, and I see that a few people have already gotten the mega-meta?! Holy cow.

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11 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, April 2017

  1. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt!

    214 correct this month, although this meta did trip up a number of solvers who didn’t know the song and couldn’t google there way to the answer.

    Five people got the mega-meta last month. Very impressive!

    Now to learn a piano-based version of “Turn the Beat Around” for my write-up. Yikes!

  2. Did not know the song, couldn’t google it. Nearest thing I could think of was “Work It” (from the lyrics “flip it and reverse it”), which is neither a 70’s nor a 90’s song.

    I’m really not a fan of metas like this where after you figure out how the puzzle works (in this case, that was easy), you have to just conjure the answer out of thin air, and if you don’t know of it for whatever reason, you’re just SOL.

  3. Rammy M says:

    (typo in write-up) AMBURALL should be ABMURALL (MB switched)

    I liked this one, the theme question and meta answer went together well,even if I did “conjure the answer out of thin air” (I’m still not sure how that happened)

  4. BarbaraK says:

    55A gave me fits because, based on the first five theme answers, I was expecting a five letter dance to be reversed. And at that point I was trying to think of songs about dancing backwards.

    When I finally figured out that it was FUNK that was reversed, I was confused because I don’t think of funk as a dance. But that’s what got me thinking that the rest are also rhythms and led me to Turn the Beat Around. I hadn’t realized that there was a 90s version that became a hit, but found that from google.

    Looking forward to hearing Pete play it on Tuesday.

  5. Alan Matson says:

    I wanted the Meta answer to be Zappa’s “Dancin’ Fool.” But that just shows my age and taste!

  6. ajk says:

    I had “You Should be Dancing” which was a good enough click to stop looking, though of course the correct answer is better. :)

  7. David Samuel Glasser says:

    The real answer is better than the one I tried, but it sure is a coincidence that “Go West” was a 70s and 90s hit!

  8. Jim S. says:

    I might have gotten lucky with my googling… I was thinking that the song would be about dances, not beats, so I googled “hit song 70s 90s dance”. The second result and first non-YouTube results was,+80s,+90s+and+00s. The 30th (and last!) song on the list just so happened to be the meta answer. If it had been 31st, I don’t know if the subsequent google results would have landed me there or not.

  9. Tony says:

    Almost went with Loco-Motion. Thankfully I googled to be sure and saw that Kylie Minogue’s version was from the late 80s.

    Then I saw Turn The Beat Around and had my 25-D moment.

  10. Al says:

    Just to demonstrate that I’m older than Matt, I knew the 70’s version but not the 90’s one!

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