Muller Monthly Music Meta, January

puzzle 7:08; meta: 4 mins (Matt)


Title: “Just a Number”
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a famous musician.
Answer: Adele

We had four long theme entries:

16-A: [Steely Dan classic with the line “She don’t remember the Queen of Soul”] = HEY NINETEEN
27-A: [“Blurryface” band] = TWENTY-ONE PILOTS
43-A: [What Carla Thomas claims Otis Redding doesn’t have in their duet “Tramp”] = TWENTY-FIVE CENTS
57-A: [After midnight but before the dawn, in slang] = O DARK THIRTY. Is this a legit entry? The Goog tells me that “Oh Dark Thirty” is the same as the “Zero Dark Thirty” of movie fame, meaning an unspecified time in the middle of the night. Is the ) there the letter O, as it’s pronounced, or a zero? If it’s a zero, then we have two digits in the entry, which is a bit odd, especially since one of them isn’t used. But if it’s the letter O, then it’s fine. I guess it has to be the digit, so slight ding there. Am I overthinking this? Possibly.

Anyway, raise your hand if, like me, you went to the gird boxes marked 19, 21, 25, and 30, got SBEI, and were perplexed. Checked them again to be sure. Hmm…how about the entries themselves? 19-A is SHEATHE, 21-D is BALL ONE, 25-D is EPIC, and 30-D is ILIAC. These naturally lead to the famed singer named…uh…hmm…

Took a deep breath, slightly panicked. 525 people got this so don’t overthink it…Oh, gotcha: those four numbers are the titles of ADELE‘s four albums, making her our contest answer. My wife even had her on Alexa for five or six songs while preparing dinner tonight so the universe was enjoying watching me struggle with this one.

Anyway, 1 for 1 and assume you are as well. We are all 1 for 1 in Decade 2 of the MMMM! Thanks to Pete for keeping things rolling, as these are a major highlight of the crossword puzzle universe. 4.15 stars.

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11 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, January

  1. Joe Ross says:

    “Anyway, raise your hand if, like me, you went to the gird boxes marked 19, 21, 25, and 30…”

    You didn’t finish or you’d have reached the approved alternate answer: COUNT BASIE.

    You left out the other number in the grid, ONE, at 21D ball ONE. Add the #1 grid box, A, to SBEI & anagram BASIE. Since we’re talking numbers. all numbers in the grid should COUNT.

  2. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt-

    539 correct this month.

    BASIE was a wild unintended coincidence and I am happily accepting it.

    Joe was the first (but far from the only) solver to find it.

    Even wilder, there is a completely different alternate answer using a third unintended mechanism which I am also giving credit for.

    Mind. Blown.

  3. jefe says:

    From what I understand after it came up in LL recently, it is pronounced “Oh Dark Thirty”. It was altered to “Zero” for the movie for whatever reason.

  4. Matt S says:

    The numbers add up to 95 and Tony Bennett set a Guinness record by releasing an album of new material at that age. I hope that is the third answer Pete mentions.

  5. Jill collins says:

    I used the “add me” answer to get 95, and immediately thought of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5.

  6. Pete Muller says:

    I accepted TONY BENNETT. 1-Across a(ADD ME) can be considered a possible meta instruction, and one’s age is often referred to as “Just a Number,” the puzzle’s title. Tony is the only famous 95-year old musician out there. Completely unintentional!

    DOLLY PARTON was too much of a stretch, unfortunately.

  7. Joe Ross says:

    🎶 ONE is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do 🎵

  8. Jack Sullivan says:

    I was one of the early Basie people, even though I know Pete would never use an anagram for the answer.

  9. Norm H says:

    Just noticing this now. I’m one of the COUNT BASIE submitters and was so sure it was the intended answer that I never checked Fiend until today. That COUNT BASIE also works is one of the wildest meta-related coincidences I have ever seen, and the TONY BENNETT thing takes this one into the realm of the truly astonishing.

    Congrats Pete — you unwittingly gave us a “threefer”. Of course, now we expect it every time. :)

    • Pete Muller says:

      Technically you are already getting threefers, with the mega-meta and the red herring. So I guess that makes this month a fivefer :)

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