Muller Music Meta, October

puzzle untimed; meta 25 mins (Matt) 


137 solvers got the October Muller Meta, which is on the low end. We were looking for a song from the 1970s, and while there were no long theme entries, we did have three shorter ones: 5-A and 66-A were BEGIN and END, both unclued, while 67-A explains: [Game in which the king starts at the center (well, close) of one side of the board and moves one square at a time horizontally, vertically, or diagonally] = CHESS.

So it looks like we’re going to start at one of the squares in BEGIN, move one space in any direction like the king (see title, “Move Like the King”), and wind up at END below, spelling our song title along the way.

And that’s precisely what happened: a little trial-and-error gets you to the last lines of our contest answer, the 1978 disco hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie”, which are GET DOWN, BOOGIE OOGIE OOGIE, GET DOWN, as in the grid at above right. I first spotted the GET DOWN up top, then its twin below, then the BOOGIE, and then the rest.

So this is an interesting idea, but I think I may be missing some connections. I’m not clear on the reason, if any, why that particular song was chosen. As far as I can see the path taken by the king doesn’t form the shape of anything. So 4.00 stars, but pending upward revision if people in comments can point out something or things I’ve missed.

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17 Responses to Muller Music Meta, October

  1. I thought just from the title that it would be an Elvis song, but I’m guessing Pete went with this one because you literally have to get down from the BEGIN at the top to the END at the bottom …. ?

    • Pete Muller says:


      I needed a lyric starting with ‘G’ or ‘A’ (START) and ending with ‘N’

      It also had to be about 30 letters long, so I was fairly constrained.

  2. Jim S says:

    Was completely expecting move directions somewhere, so much so that I didn’t try guessing a path. Maybe Pete’s set my expectations very high, but I’m not a fan of the solution. I reserve the right to change my mind, like Matt, if someone provides an explanation for the king’s path.

    • Justin says:

      Agreed. I expected some sort of guidance beyond “wander”, maybe the themes to give an enumeration for the words we seek, or something.

  3. Bob Johnson says:

    I thought the song choice was appropriate for October since it spells out BOO in the style of last year’s mega-meta.

  4. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt for blogging while parenting a newborn!

    I chose ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’ because of the line “Get Down,” which is what you have to do to get to the solution.

    It was challenging to make the path happen, so I didn’t have much slack to create a shape or add in theme entries.

    Bob…I wish I could claim credit for planning BOO…thanks for pointing it out!

  5. Matt says:

    I did notice the GET DOWN = king moving down the board aspect but forgot to mention in the post.

    So this meta is fine of course, but Pete is a victim of his own success here. Our debate each month here is whether the MMMM is a 500-ft home run or merely a triple to left-center, so a single up the middle seems like a minor tragedy instead of a modest success.

    • Matthew G. says:

      Yeah, this one broke a good roll of meta-solving I’d been on. I thought there would be some sort of a trick for how to move. I also expected there to be some significance to the fact that each of the three long acrosses had the string -ING in it–those being three of the four letters in KING. I thought there would be a connection between those -INGs and the sole K in the grid (in MAKE), since that’s the chess notation symbol for a king; the fact that there was only one seemed important.

      The comparatively simple idea of just looking for a direct path across the grid didn’t occur to me.

  6. sharkicicles says:

    I enjoyed this one, more so than many, it seems.

    • Pete Muller says:


      I’ve been a bit surprised at that as well…

      • Jim S says:

        Since I started off the negative feedback, I’ll offer more…

        The last across clue specifically notes that the king starts off-center, so I didn’t even bother looking at the ‘G’. I figured that the ‘B’ started the word, so I looked there. I very quickly found “Born to Win”, which is a Jimmy Cliff song from 1977. Meets the range of years, but obviously doesn’t traverse the grid all the way down to “END” so I figured there must be more to the solve to point me in the right direction.

        Perhaps compass directions buried in the clues or long acrosses? Clues starting with ‘S’, ‘SE’, etc… None of those planned out, but I’m awful at finding things in clues – oddities in clues frequently escape my notice, so I was pretty sure those directions existed somewhere but just out of my reach.

        Completely fair as it is, but you and Matt have produced such elegant and layered metas in the past that I usually ignore brute force solving methods.

        • Pete Muller says:

          Thanks Jim – I like hearing both positive and negative feedback.

          I think most people parsed “center (well, close)” as indicating that the path started at the center of the puzzle, but I can see how you came up with an alternate meaning.

  7. LuckyGuest says:

    Before I finally decided that Pete wouldn’t have us crossing lines or revisiting used letters, I had some crazy phrases/stories. From the title, I was looking for Elvis’ shaking, or Michael Jackson’s moonwalk (thinking/hoping that the chain of letters were going to spell out men who’d walked on the moon) and Muhammad Ali (found a lot of Ali chunks, George (Foreman), Norton, etc. But the best (or worst) was an almost complete story involving George (Harrison) not owning his own sitar, but Ravi did own one, and trading Ringo songs. Oof…

  8. Bruce Haight says:

    I think the tracing looks like a silhouette of Augie Doggie – a subtle but clear hint for Boogie Oogie….

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