Muller Monthly Music Meta, February

puzzle 9:58; meta 10 minutes (Matt) 


Season 7, Episode 2 is titled “Showpieces” and we’re looking for a Talking Heads song that was left out of the theme entries because it repeats a word from one of them. OK, let’s see what we’ve got: judging by length and horizontality (?!) there appeared to be and, turned out, actually were five theme entries:

17-A [Damien Rice single featuring Lisa Hannigan] = NINE CRIMES. I must shamefacedly admit to not having heard of either of these two singers, much less the song.

25-A [Squeeze hit] = COOL FOR CATS.

39-A [Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young classic with the phrase “freak flag fly”] = ALMOST CUT MY HAIR

49-A [Dido hit] = LIFE FOR RENT

61-A [Chris Isaak hit with a sexy video] = WICKED GAME.

My musicals knowledge is limited to the famous ones plus this, but I still saw the pattern emerge with “Cats,” “Hair,” “Rent” and “Wicked” in theme entries. Wasn’t sure if “Nine” or “Crimes” was the first one, but Google helped me realize it was indeed “Nine.”

So we need a Talking Heads song with a famous musical in it. Google was truly my pal here, since I had not heard of the musical “Once,” though it wasn’t too hard to find once I worked my way through the most famous TH songs, which in this case was contest answer ONCE IN A LIFETIME.

Pretty easy, and gotta end my review here due to baby suddenly waking up and flipping out! It happens. See you back here in a few for March’s puzzle. But I will add quickly that the fill was pleasantly Mullerian (i.e., lively and wide-open despite many theme entries).

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11 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, February

  1. Jim S says:

    Well, that seems to be a better answer than I submitted and got credit for. I sent in “Thank You For Sending Me an Angel”, based solely on the fact that apparently there was a Broadway show called “Thank You” in the 1920s. I was really looking for a single word show to fit with the rest of the theme entries, but couldn’t find one to save my life. Spent a ton of time googling and cross-referencing the Talking Heads catalog against various lists of Broadway shows, so this was a major slog of a meta solve for me. Thanks to Pete for accepting a less elegant answer than “Once in a Lifetime”. Probably didn’t help my cause that I stuck with 80s hard rock and metal when the alternative music scene was rolling out, so my Talking Heads knowledge is virtually nil.

    • Pete Muller says:

      You got lucky :)

      There was also a Broadway musical called “Angel” that ran for 5 days in the ‘70s.

      • Chris Popp says:

        I, too, submitted “Thank You for Sending Me an Angel.” I think I rushed a bit in looking for the solution on Tuesday evening; when I saw the ‘for’ repeated and that “Angel” had been a show, I went with it. When I revisited the puzzle after a break, “Once in a Lifetime” came clear to me as a better solution, but I had already sent in my answer. My lesson is to not be afraid to step away from a meta if I’m not feeling that ‘a-ha’ click.

        Thank you, Pete, for accepting this secondary solution. It also, as a bonus, introduced me to a TH song that I didn’t know before and now like quite a bit.

      • Jim S says:

        Holy smokes, lucky indeed! Thanks Pete!

  2. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt

    293 correct this month, but also a large number of incorrect answers.

    Turns out that finding “Once” wasn’t quite so easy for some people…and others weren’t sure that LIFETIME “repeated” LIFE, which made the “Aha” click less satisfying.

    I did have a lot of choices for what the meta answer could have been (see Tuesday’s write-up for some) and I went with a cool song, but ended up creating a bit of confusion. Sorry about that!

    Next month will be very straight-forward :)

    • Matthew G. says:

      Yeah, I got this immediately but hesitated because I wasn’t sure that LIFETIME, which is a single word, “repeated” the word LIFE. But I since it was certainly a dupe that would have made the grid less elegant, I didn’t hesitate too long.

      Speaking of the grid — am I the only one who found it strikingly hard for a MMMM grid, especially in comparison to the meta? I had to reboot all over the place to get through it, which made the straightforward meta a relief.

  3. Mike W says:

    I was looking for additional Broadway references, given the intersection of Jets and Ave Marias in the upper right corner (West Side Story). Finally landed on the right song.

  4. slubduck says:

    Yeah, it’s kind of unfortunate (?) that 2 other TH songs actually repeat the 4-letter LIFE, and serially unfortunate (??) that there’s a Broadway musical called The Life. Ah, for the love of non-exactness-but-fitting-in-all-other-respects …… which kind of works if you’re going for confusion.
    On another topic, am I the only one who’s searching in vain for mega-meta clues??

    • Jeremy Smith says:

      I didn’t feel that LIFETIME repeated LIFE. I submitted “WILD WILD LIFE,” one of the other two TH songs which contain the word LIFE.” There was a an off-Broadway musical “THE WILD PARTY” which featured a song “A WILD WILD PARTY.” Oh well, try again next month!

  5. Rammy M says:

    10 down “monumental” – ISWYDT :-)

  6. Beth A says:

    I just wanted to share one of my favorite alternate theme entries because it’s by one of our frequent crossword fill guys —

    Wind in Lonely FENCES – by Brian Eno and Harold Budd

    I had to use Google to finish the grid, but not to get the meta! That’s always a thrill! Enjoyed the puzzle!

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