Muller Monthly Music Meta, May

puzzle 9:27; meta 8 minutes (Matt) 


Title: “Bandleaders”
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tough solve, and I noticed a few odd things during it: 2-D and 15-A have the same clue, [Get going] for both AROUSE and HOP TO, though not sure the clue quite works for the latter. But either way there were no other repeats so dead end there. Had SAU???N?? for [Château d’Yquem wine] at 33-D, wrote in SAUVIGNON and was surprised to find that was wrong; it’s SAUTERNES. Tricky!

There was an overt hint at the central across, FALSE STARTS clued as [Track infractions, and what you need to locate seven times to solve this puzzle’s meta]. For a minute I wondered if “track” was intended to mean “song” here, but it sounded natural enough to clue “false starts” to track so left it alone.

My first thought from this hint, combined with the puzzle’s title, was to remove the first letter from certain entries to leave a band or song title. I noticed Rush in CRUSH at 5-A, but couldn’t find any others so went off to look at other things…

…But then I noticed Wings in EWINGS and decided to keep going down this track. Aha! There’s Yes from RYES at 31-D, and then Train from STRAIN at 1-D. That’s four, so must be three more judging from the prompt. Hmm, where are they? Is Muse a band? I think so — looked it up, yes they are. From AMUSE at 49-A.

I now had 5 of the 7 and figured I could backsolve if necessary from here, but wanted to find the last two bands on my own. But scanning the grid over and over I couldn’t find anything, which was mildly disturbing; missing one is understandable, but if there are two bands I can’t find then maybe this whole line of thought is just wrong? Seemed unlikely, but so did SAUVIGNON being incorrect.

So I backsolved, circling the S of STRAIN, C of CRUSH, R of RYES, E of EWINGS, and the A of AMUSE. That’s SCREA??, which was enough to give me the final series of aha moments. In the next 15 seconds I realized that 1) the contest answer will be CREAM, 2) there are only six bands in the grid; for the seventh beheading you need to behead the extracted word, which will be SCREAM, and 3) I missed an M-beheaded word somewhere in the grid beneath the A in AMUSE.

That turned out to be — OK, well I thought the band was called Ice until just now, since I had written the correct MACE over the incorrect MICE there. I found some obscure band named Ice and figured that was it, but now I realize that Ace is the band, known for their 1975 hit “How Long” (you’ll know it if you hear it). So CREAM it is, from lopping the S off SCREAM for the seventh decapitation. Very nice.

Fun but I still haven’t been tested this year! A boastful 5-for-5 so far. 4.50 stars for this one, and we’ll see whether Pete turns the heat up in June the way Mother Nature does.

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14 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, May

  1. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt!

    168 correct answers this month.
    You might not have had a hard time, but a lot of solvers had a harder time.

    Lots of incorrect answers…

  2. Jim S says:

    ARGH! I had SCREAM and stared at the grid off and on for days trying to find the 7th. ROUSE is a high school band. MON is a band. SLO is the abbreviation for a band (google ‘band slo’ and Stop Light Observations comes right up). Pete’s musical tastes are much broader than mine, so how was I to know if one of these bands wasn’t the greatest jazz/blues/ska/funk/etc. band of all time?

    Saw Cream very early on – even tweeted about it today – and new it WASN’T right because of the length. Even scoured the HOF list for anything that had those 6 letters and got nothing with them that was also 7 characters long. Didn’t want a cheapie so didn’t bother submitting CREAM as a Hail Mary -that’ll teach me! Perfectly fair in hindsight, but invisible to me during the solve.

  3. jps says:

    I found those six bands quickly enough and was stumped on the seventh. But, it turns out there is a band called “No” in “ono”. Obscure for sure, though maybe not to Pete, and it did follow the pattern.

    Reading the false starts left to right spelled SCREAMO. It turns out screamo is a genre of – well, I’m not really sure what – punk? metal? emo? I tried to find a screamo band that was in the hall of fame. I read more about this than I wanted and listened to more bad music than I wanted.

    I could never find such a band so just submitted CREAM and crossed my fingers.

    • Dave C says:

      Got the 6 bands quickly as well, but clung to the idea that there needed to be a 7th band, and THEN I would chop off a letter. Was pretty sure I would still submit CREAM (and I did), but first found even more bands via Google; RIO (Trio), IO (Rio), and the craziest of all, sBACH (JSBach – yes, I covered too many bases).

  4. jefe says:

    Ugh. Had SCREA, considered CREAM, hadn’t heard of (M)ACE, decided to random-gram THE CARS instead.

  5. Tim Mitchell says:

    I got this one, but I found a different band with a false start. There is a heavy metal band called I AM I, so I used the M from MIAMI to get SCREAM. It was in the right place in the grid after the A so it worked. Ace and I AM I are probably about the same level of obscurity. Great puzzle all around.

    • Pete Muller says:

      The others are all one-word band names…(not that it matters)

    • Justin says:

      Precisely the same thing here, had I AM I, which put all the extra “heads” as pairs on three lines.

  6. I had (S)TRAIN, (C)RUSH, (R)YES, (E)WINGS, and (A)MUSE in my ‘definite’ list. I had (R)ONA, (O)NO, (T)RIO, (C)MON, (O)JS, (T)ENON, (M)IAMI, (A)RAM, and (M)ACE in my ‘obscure-but-maybe’ list.

    I noticed CREAM as a possible answer (and the CREA was in order), but I assumed there’d be 7 bands in the grid and didn’t think of re-applying the mechanism to 6 bands instead.

    I sent to THE COASTERS as my guess, since you can get a singular COASTER by picking an O and a T from the questionable ones and anagramming, but it’s quite weak as an answer since you have to arbitrarily add an S, anagram, and add a THE.

    • dbardolph says:

      Yeah, that was me too. Didn’t love it, but I was determined to find seven bands, and it sort of worked. I thought about CREAM, but was too dim to get to the 6 – 1 = 5 solution. Great puzzle.

  7. Matthew G. says:

    Alas. I was on the right track but was too hasty to dismiss the idea that there were bands called MUSE or ACE, as the bands earilier in the grid were so much more famous.

  8. Rachael says:

    I’m kicking myself. My printout of the puzzle is covered in highlights and circles and all kinds of things from my guesses at what “false starts” meant, and I was darn close to getting it – I just never got the “aha” moment of realizing I was looking for band names. Oof. Not doing well this year, yall…

  9. Rammy M says:

    I also had a “false start”. The clue says “… you need to locate seven times …” but it does not say “in the grid”, so I was also looking in the Clues for that little “je ne sais quoi” to unlock the meta.
    A good time was had by … hopefully all.

  10. Phoebe McBee says:

    Damn- I had the SCREAM but kept looking for a seventh, missed the idea of lopping off the S and but planned to submit CREAM anyway – then forgot! My excuse is being in Italy and confused by the time difference. Great puzzle and meta, Pete.

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