Muller Monthly Music Meta, April

puzzle about 10 minutes; meta figured out during solve (Matt) 


Title: “Squashed!”
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is one of Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
Answer: “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John

Month 4 of the Muller Meta, and let’s see if we can keep our streaks going. Probably, since 360 solvers have gotten it thus far, but that is a small dip from previous months.

Lovely grid, but with only one (!) meta-relevant entry, the central Across: 36a., [Famous Russian exile] = MI/KH/AI/LB/AR/YS/HN/IK/OV. Not quite correct since Baryshnikov was a defector, not an exile. But we see that the entry uses two letters per square, which means you’d have to write the letters in very small in their squares. Which suggests the early Elton John hit “Tiny Dancer,” which is #387 on that list.

So that was fun. With just one theme entry Pete had a chance to go for a killer grid, and I’d say he succeeded. DON JOHNSON, SNL HOST, TAKE TWO, WHEREAMI, I FEEL SILLY, ORGASMS (!), PASTRAMI, DALAI LAMAS, SNOW TIRE, and JASPER were all fun.

4.05 stars, and this year’s starting to feel like a horror movie where nothing scary has happened in the first 20 minutes but you know it’s coming…will May delivery the scary? We’ll find out soon…

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10 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, April

  1. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt!

    364 correct this month…

    The metas have been a little easier so far this year.

    Next month will feature a hard and an easier version of the puzzle, just to make sure those that like a challenge have a sufficient one.

    • Diana says:

      Pete- Did you mean to scramble Elton in LENTOS and John in JOHNSON? They cross each other so I though it intentional, but Matt didn’t mention it, so now I wonder. Thanks

      • Pete Muller says:

        I understand why you might think so …but it was a random coincidence!

        • Matthew G. says:

          Wow! I figured that an anagram of ELTON crossing JOHN directly adjacent to the themer had to be there as confirmation. It’s amazing how something like that can happen by chance.

          I mean, I was already 90% sure that “Tiny Dancer” was the answer, but seeing what Diana mentions is what made me confident enough to admit it. My biggest worry was that I was letting my own current Elton John kick influence my thinking. I saw him in concert just a month ago during his farewell tour, and I’ve probably listened to “Tiny Dancer” once a day since.

          The concert also inspired me to dig deeper into Elton’s albums, not just his singles. His 1975 concept album “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” is probably what I’ve been listening to more than anything lately. Beautiful and inspiring!

          • NonnieL says:

            Yes! One of my favorite things about Pete’s puzzles is they often inspire me to rediscover music I haven’t listened to in a while, and discover new music that I was previously unfamiliar with.

  2. Marty D says:

    Re 64A. What is the reason for the asterisks in the clue? (***) it kept me looking down the wrong rabbit hole all week long.

    • Matthew G. says:

      The triple-asterisks mean that the clue and/or its entry are related to the yearlong mega-meta. Not necessarily related to the monthly meta. See the instructions on Pete’s website.

  3. Rammy M says:

    Were we supposed to look for something relevant in the “Final Verse”?

  4. Fred says:

    The thing that made me doubt that “Tiny Dancer” was the correct answer was that Mikhail Baryshnikov at 5′ 6″ was normal sized for a great dancer. Other dancers cited by Wikipedia as being his peers among the greatest male ballet dancers in history are: Vaslav Nijinsky at 5′ 4″, Rudolf Nureyev at 5′ 8″, and Vladimir Vasiliev whose height isn’t listed. However, Vladimir Vasiliev’s height may have less than the others based on a 2010 interview in Dance Magazine:
    His most famous role was Spartacus in Grigorovich’s ballet of the same name. Looking back, Vasiliev said (in an e-mail interview translated by Marina Panfilovich), “His choice of me for the title role was unexpected. In previous versions, Spartacus was a tall man to person­ify strength and superiority. I was never that tall in life. But stage is a strange thing: It can make tall men seem small and vice versa. When I danced Spartacus abroad, sometimes the audience would not believe it was me when meeting the artists at the stage door, as they expected the big man I was onstage.”

    The laws of physics dictate that dancers and gymnasts tend to be smaller. It was hard to associate Mikhail Baryshnikov with a “tiny” dancer.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      “tiny” because the letters are small when you write them into the grid since there are two in each square

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