Muller Monthly Music Meta, February

puzzle 8ish, kept getting entries wrong; meta: 5 minutes (Matt)


Title: “O Canada” by Pete Muller
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a hit ’70s song from a Canadian artist.
Answer: “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot

The .puz file I opened said “The meta for this puzzle is a hit song from a Canadian artist.” For some reason I immediately thought/hoped that artist would be Gordon Lightfoot, though it could also have been Neil Young/Drake/Alanis Morissette/Barenaked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan etc. I later saw that the version on the non-Across Lite formats specified a “’70’s hit song,” so that strengthened my hope!

And THEN, 6-D was clued [Famous Canadian artist with several hits in the ’70s] = GORDON LIGHTFOOT! I was thrilled with how things were going at this point. Naturally as many of you did at this point, I was hoping the meta answer would be the haunting “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” I scoured the grid for entries that anagrammed into EDMUND FITZGERALD (“wreck” being an anagram indicator) but found nothing.

After a few minutes I noticed the word SUN hiding in the four long down entries, hinting at Lightfoot’s 1974 hit “Sundown.” They are:

3-D: [Avoids, as a limbo bar] = DUCKS UNDER
8-D: [Country south of their border, to some Canadians]= ETATS-UNIS
30-D: [Person whose bravery isn’t noticed] = UNSUNG HERO
34-D: [Gives up] = SAYS UNCLE

Yeah, I know that’s not “Sundown.” Calling blogger’s privilege here to post a different song! That’s Gordon a couple of years ago, performing at age 80.

Note how wide-open this grid is, despite a lot of theme. This is a trademark of Pete’s and he does an especially beautiful job of it here; check out that pair of 4×4 blocks near the center, each of which’s 8 words are 15, 9, 9, 8, 8, 6, 6, and 5 letters long. That’s very difficulty to do not once but twice and in close proximity to one another, and then look at the quality of those entries: GORDON LIGHTFOOT, CRUSADERS, HEDONIST, DICTATES, KUNG FU, ETATS-UNIS, GLUING, and SCI-FI, and then below we have GORDON LIGHTFOOT again, FALL COLOR, SAYS UNCLE, SAY HEY, YE OLDE, LARGO, ASKING OF, and BURETTES. This grid is a masterwork.

4.65 stars, not so much for the easy theme but rather for the fill around it. Bravo to Pete.

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7 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, February

  1. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt!

    I appreciate the kind words.

    456 correct this month…

    Starting gentle again this year ….

  2. Eric H says:

    Nope. The O of O Canada had me looking at everything but the long down answers, and I never noticed the SUNs.

    Fun puzzle all the same.

  3. David Glasser says:

    I’m a bit embarrassed by how much time I spent (after learning that Lightfoot had a song Sundown and finding the down SUNs) looking for the “real” answer written under the SUNs somehow, before eventually deciding I had found the answer hours earlier.

  4. Pete Muller says:

    Hey Matt…

    The coloring of the grid above looks like something got mixed up …

  5. Eric H says:

    I listened to a lot of Top 40 radio in the early 1970s, so I’m sure I heard a lot of Gordon Lightfoot songs. But the only one I clearly remember is “If You Could Read My Mind,” which describes how I often feel when I’m trying to solve a meta.

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