Muller Monthly Music Meta, October

puzzle 8ish; meta: 2.5 hours (Matt)
 

 

Title: “Where Is It?”
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a song from 2018.
Answer: “Beyond” by Leon Bridges

I’m 9-for-9 going into this month, but things aren’t looking good. No obvious theme entries in October’s MMMM, so this appears to be a classic Mullerian find-the-pattern-in-the-noise meta. And so far I ain’t findin’ it. 90 minutes until the deadline, so let me write out what I’ve been looking at and see if that jars the answer loose.

Random notes:

*** CARLSON and SUNTANS across the center share the SON/SUN homophone
*** SEE ME at 53-A is clued as [Repeated lyric in the Who’s “Tommy,” and then FEEL is in the grid, whis is also part of that repeated lyric, and then not heal but HEEL is in the grid as well.
***TELL in both POCATELLO and PRAY TELL
***Not a wide-open grid, but the short fill contains a lot of very common words, which I’m guessing could be from a song lyric. Such as THIS, EASY, DOWN, OUT, LET, GIVE, FEEL, SAD, STILL…

OK, wait a second. I circled all those very common, likely-to-be-in-song-lyrics, words, and I just now saw LET and BLEED in the grid, separated by two diagonally-connected black squares, which, if they were the letters IT, would spell the Stones album “Let It Bleed”…

OK, back (had some kid issues to take care of suddenly, which is why this post was late) but gotta hurry. The six song titles, as illustrated in the diagram at right, are STRIP IT DOWN by Luke Bryan, SHAKE IT OUT by Florence + the Machine, TAKE IT EASY by the Eagles, GIVE IT AWAY by Red Hot Chili Peppers, LET IT BLEED by the Stones, and FEEL IT STILL by Portugal the Man.

Last step: take the single letter that connect the two entries alongside the “IT” in they spell, from left-to-right in an undulating pattern, contest answer BEYOND, which I was unfamiliar with by which was Googles easily enough. Double fitting since the artist’s surname is “Bridges” and these letters form little bridges between the two parts of each entry.

Classic Muller meta! No obvious theme entries so you need to see patterns in the noise. Very tough to see (only 75 right answers) but once you see it you wonder why it took you so long. 4.90 stars and I’m 10-for-10 in 2021! Bringing it all the way home, baby! See you next month.

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10 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, October

  1. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt – (especially for dashing off the review during a kid crisis)..

    My boy turned 13 today, and now I have a teenager in the house!

    75 correct this month.
    I was surprised it played so hard for many.

    I figured “Beyond” would be unfamiliar to some, but easily googleable, and being by Leon BRIDGES would make it a clear click.

    Congrats on the 10 for 10!

    But beware, in MMMM land November is the cruelest month :)

    Pete

    • damefox says:

      I think the issue for many (for me at least) was not the answer but that the mechanism itself required a fair bit of music knowledge. I realize it’s a MUSIC Meta, so I’m not claiming this was unfair or anything, but an answer that requires some specialized knowledge (convincing yourself that RIOT GRRRL is a thing, for example) can be easily checked with Google, whereas a mechanism that requires some music knowledge to even start making headway really can’t.

      I also got stuck on KOSOVO, because the clue for that one is the only place the word “It” actually appears, although I was pretty sure that was the wrong track.

      I enjoyed the puzzle though! Very nice construction!

  2. sharkicicles says:

    I submitted FEEL IT STILL because it was the last in the pattern of _ IT _ songs and Google told me it was from that year. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the November MMMM!

  3. jefe says:

    I got it, but it didn’t click for me. After I found the 6 “it” songs, I wanted to submit “The Middle”, which was a huge song in 2018, since “it” was in “the middle” of all the song titles and answers the question in the puzzle title. I wonder how many people submitted that.

    I did notice the BEYOND eventually, but I hadn’t heard of the song or artist before, and the song doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page. All the theme songs had their parts at right angles so I tried to search for songs like Beyond the Bend or Beyond the Corner etc. Eventually I gave up and figured that since the song had a VEVO music video, it was significant enough to be the answer, but I feel the meta was more a 6-letter word than a song. I hadn’t noticed the “Bridges” connection, so I suppose that’s a point in the puzzle’s favor.

    I also noticed two wrong clues while checking over my solve. SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is explicitly NOT funded by FICA (https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-over-ussi.htm), and the Nelly song is “Over and Over” (not “Over and Over Again”, which is the title of several songs by various other artists).

    • Golem says:

      I submitted “The Middle”. Confidently, even. Oops.

    • Pete Muller says:

      Thanks jefe…

      If a solver finds the meta answer and is unsure that it’s right, well that’s not great. Sorry! There were a couple others in your camp that mentioned it to me (finding “Beyond” and wondering if that was the song), but the vast majority of people that found it felt a strong click.

      I wasn’t aware the song didn’t have a Wikipedia page…and I’m surprised! It’s received 20MM+ YouTube views and feels like a timeless classic – I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually got a page as people discover it. But that’s just my opinion.

      I can’t see my way to accepting “Feel It Still” or “The Middle,” though. Neither feels close to a satisfying answer to a meta.

      “Feel It Still” came out in 2017 (though it did chart in 2018), but FEEL and STILL are both in the grid…and “It” is in the puzzle title. At best it seems arbitrary and inelegant.

      “The Middle” is one of many 2018 songs that vaguely describe the theme. Why not “I Like It” or “Whatever It Takes” or “Poke It Out”?

      I did take a chance this month and picked a song that I thought not everyone would know, but one that had a cool connection to the theme (“Bridges”). I could have put other six letter song titles in there – happy to hear suggestions as to what folks might have liked better!

      Pete

      PS Thanks for catching those two clue mistakes – hopefully very rare occurrences for the MMMM!

  4. Stribbs says:

    +1 for submitting The Middle, which does seem to be a better answer to the title question, although it doesn’t necessitate 6 songs. Even after finding out I was wrong, didn’t see it: I tried a bunch of letter extraction ideas but somehow missed the letters “in the pocket”, or maybe I did and forgot to try left-to-right instead of top-down. Oops!

  5. LuckyGuest says:

    And another for “The Middle.” My problem was that I found BEYOND first, but it didn’t sound like it answered the title question (“Where Is It”), and for some reason, I never checked to see if there was a song from 2018 with that title. Instead, I sent in The Middle — after checking to see that that was a 2018 song — because I thought it answered the title question better.

  6. Hollie says:

    I’m impressed by the 75 people who figured this out! The long down entries ending in “drive” and “street,” combined with the word “where” in the title, had me thinking about routes and maps, and looking for roads, avenues, boulevards, etc. and abbreviations of the same. Needless to say it was a one-way street that led to a cul-de-sac!

  7. Don S. says:

    Even though they weren’t in order, there were two occurrences of “Tell Me” (or Me Tell) in the grid. “Tell Me” was a Marshmello hit in 2018. It also works with the question “Where is it? It’s a stretch for sure. I certainly didn’t see the correct answer, even though I thought about the entries that Matt mentioned about various song words in the puzzle.

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