Muller Monthly Music Meta, May

puzzle 7:36; meta: 12 minutes (Matt)


Title: “Watch It!”
Prompt: There are two valid answers to this puzzle’s meta – a hit song from 1970 and a different hit song from 1999. Each gets you partial credit – send in both (separated by a “/”) for full credit.
Answer: “For the Good Times” by Ray Price and “No Scrubs” by TLC

Just 340 right answers with 30 minutes before deadline, so, as happened last month, I zeroed right in on this one but it was no gimme for many solvers.

First thing I noticed during the solve was the handful of clues beginning with the words “TV actor/actress”. They were:

1-A: [TV actor Andre] = ROYO
5-A: [TV actor Danza] = TONY
12-D: [TV actress Esther] = ROLLE
67-A: [TV actor Alan] = ALDA
66-A: [TV actor Matthew] = PERRY
47-D: [TV actor Zach] = BRAFF

The order I’ve listed these in is “clockwise,” and you can see that this sestet is placed symmetrically around the edges of the grid, so clearly we’re on the right path. I was momentarily distracted by the clue at 40-A: [TV host between Allen and Carson] for Jack PAAR, but decided that wasn’t part of theme even though it begins with “TV” since the next word wasn’t “actor” or “actress” plus it ruined the symmetry of the others.

What next? Well, we do have four standard-length theme entries in the grid in addition to our six TV actors around the edge, so let’s look there:

17-A: [Song by Virginia to Vegas with the lyric “And you’re telling me you wanna kiss me / But we shouldn’t ’cause we’re …”] = JUST FRIENDS. Unfamiliar with this one but I live in Virginia and have been to Vegas twice.

27-A: [Joni Mitchell classic that was also a hit for Counting Crows] = BIG YELLOW TAXI

47-A: [Leonard Cohen signature song] = BIRD ON THE WIRE. I knew this was a Cohen song but I’m more familiar with the hit Aaron Neville version of the late 1980s, which was “Bird on a Wire.” Apparently a number of artists who’ve covered it prefer the “a” over the “the”.

59-A: [1962 hit often heard around Halloween] = MONSTER MASH

How to connect these? The first one I noticed was FRIENDS and Matthew PERRY, the show on which he was a star. Aha! So we’re finding a hit TV show at the end of the four theme entries, then linking it to one of its stars on the edge:


What’s left? Zach Braff was famously on SCRUBS, so the 1999 song is obviously (if you’re my age) TLC’s “No Scrubs,” once sung by Meadow Soprano in the family kitchen.

The other one I had to Google; easy enough, since you know you’re looking for a 1970 hit whose title ends with the words “Good Times,” since that was Esther Rolle’s big show. Turns out it’s “For the Good Times” sung by Ray Price, a name I’m not familiar with though it was a #1 country hit and also a #11 hit on the pop charts.

Fun meta, and I’d be interested to hear where solvers got tripped up since it seemed straightforward to me.

4.35 stars. See you in June when I’ll aim to go 6-for-6 in ’22 and perhaps you will as well!

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22 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, May

  1. Tony says:

    Half credit this month. Got No Scrubs. Whiffed on the second one. It just happens to be one of my father’s favorite songs.

  2. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt

    342 correct this month.

    Difficulty will slowly start to ratchet up from here (cue evil laugh)…

    Hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day!


  3. Rammy M says:

    How many people (like me) said: That’s a 1968 song by Kris Kristofferson, but “Old Times Good Times” is from 1970, must be that. I’m not sure about the “hit” part, (but who am I to judge)

    I’m not complaining, 1 point is still a victory. :-)

    • Adam Rosenfield says:

      I didn’t know the song either, and I certainly raised an eyebrow when Wikipedia told me it was first recorded in 1968; but then it said appeared on Kristofferson’s debut album in April 1970, so that was more than good enough for me.

      It peaked at #11 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles, so that’s arguably high enough to be considered a hit.

  4. Emily says:

    I got No Scrubs easily but I was thinking since there is “no Scrubs” in the puzzle the 1970 song must be something like “No Good Times” or “Missing Good Times.” After abandoning that I tried to just search for songs from 1970 that included “Good Times” but I still couldn’t find this one. I probably need to work on googling skills. Fun puzzle though, and I really hope they pick No Scrubs for the cover.

    • Pete Muller says:

      We went for a mash-up :)

    • Rammy M says:

      I got that watch “it” meant TV, but also I thought “no scrubs” goes with”watch it” as a warning. I was hoping to find something that would fit, such as “don’t go there Maude”

    • Jim S. says:

      Same experience here, but did eventually stumble upon the 1970 hit. While I was in “it must be something about Maude or Good Times missing” land, I landed on “Where Have All the Good Times Gone”, but that was from the mid 60s Kinks and 80ish Van Halen.

    • Rachael says:

      I had exactly the same logic! Only what I submitted was “No Time” by the Guess Who, which appears as #70 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 for 1970. I still think my logic was sound, but I guess I should have realized that the meta would have matched more cleanly.

      • ky-mike says:

        I did exactly the same thing. I noticed “For the Good Times”, but went with the “No” in the title since there were no scrubs or good times in the grid. So close, yet so far. I would argue that “No Time” should be an acceptable alternate answer as one would have had to start with “Good Times” to get to that answer.

    • Chris says:

      I had exactly the same issue (“there’s literally no ‘Scrubs’ in the puzzle!”), but I did eventually settle on “For the Good Times”.

    • BHamren says:

      I misread the 1970 as 1970s so I went with the Cars Good Times Roll (Which Pete groaned at in his write up). It was the first “Good Times” song that came to my mind since I owned the album once upon a time.
      At least I got half credit.

  5. ab says:

    The other shows were (basically) one word, so I tried to find a “Maude” title for a long time before falling back to “Good Times”. Also my usual song title lists failed me because it was an adult contemporary/country hit. So I got it anyway, but probably took me longer than it should have.

    (And a song with Maude in the title is one of those things you can’t easily google for because the TV show consumes everything.)

    • Me says:

      I also got hung up on the one-word issue for way too long. Got it eventually, though.

      • Pete Muller says:

        THE WIRE is two words as well, since you can’t really say I watched “Wire” the other night.

        • ab says:

          Right, but, like in band names, articles don’t always count. And with the multiple choices for some of those actors, it seemed to be weighted heavily down to one word(ish) answers.

  6. Iggystan says:

    This was a good week for metas for me, because, like Matt, I saw this one pretty much right away after completing the grid. I was familiar with the 70s song, thankfully.

  7. armagh says:

    My God this puzzle gravitates to the lowest common denominator. A true horrosrhow of constructing and theming. TV trash? Really? Unspeakably bad.

    • rando says:

      Your comment seems kind of harsh. I enjoyed it.

    • BryanF says:

      I thought it was welly done. Especially since the TV shows chosen are some of the most popular sitcoms ever (though I could never get into Friends, it was incredibly popular), and some of the best written/most rewarded TV shows ever (I still think The Wire is of the most hard hitting, realistically written shows ever). Now if the puzzle had mentioned Kardashians or any reality tv show, I might’ve agreed about the LCD.

      I caught the TV shows in long answers and even at one point connected some of the actor names to their familiar TV shows, but my mind did not connect the two for the puzzle theme and I missed the meta this month. But hey, at least this month I remembered the release date but just ran out of time to solve the meta. :(

  8. austin says:

    songfacts dot org is a godsend for muller metas. a search of “good times” gives you basically every song with “good times” in the title. and turns out there’s not very many where it comes at the end of the title. then just a little wikipedia-ing to confirm and i was pretty confident in the answer.

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