Muller Monthly Music Meta, May 2023

puzzle 7ish; meta 7 more (Matt)


Title: “I’ve Got the Music in Me”
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a popular British band from the ’80s.
Answer: Wham!

Well I’m probably not going to miss a meta with the above prompt, and I didn’t. The MG MMMM streak continues!

Our grid featured 10 horizontal entries of 7-10 letters apiece that turned out to be theme, though their identities were by no means obvious. I had a curious hunch early in the solve that turned out to be irrelevant, but it’s interesting enough to share here.

I solved this one from the upper left, as one normally does, slowly spreading out rightward and downward, again as is the normal procedure. And I noticed something: there were no I’s in the grid. I was about 30% done with a 17×17 grid and had yet to hit an I. Finally I caught one at NEI/NAIVETE in the southwest, but that only strengthened my belief that I was onto something: check out the title of the puzzle, and then that IVE nestled in NAIVETE! Caught the rabbit early, looks like! Muller!

Fast-forward: totally irrelevant. A few more I’s in the grid but not that many. Oh well.

Back to reality…those 10 Acrosses each concealed the one-word name of a musical act:

19-A: [Berated] = SCREAMED AT = CREAM

23-A: [Business for The Territory Ahead or Title Nine] = MAIL ORDER = LORDE

25-A: [Saber sheaths] = SCABBARDS = ABBA

32-A: [You can pluck with them] = TWEEZERS = WEEZER

39-A: [What makes STEM STEAM] = THE ARTS = HEART

53-A: [“Great soul,” in Sanskrit] = MAHATMA = A-HA

59-A: [Not in on the joke, perhaps] = UNAMUSED = MUSE

68-A: [Awe] = AMAZEMENT = MAZE

70-A: [One with lots to think about?] = DEVELOPER = EVE

75-A: [Touched up, perhaps] = AIRBRUSHED = RUSH

The first letters of those ten spell CLAWHAMMER. What? Has Pete used as his meta an ’80 British band I’ve never heard of?

He has not. Do the trick one more time to find pop duo WHAM! and pour one out for the late, great George Michael.

4.50 stars. Fun.

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25 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, May 2023

  1. Icdogg says:

    I had “ELO” as my “E”

  2. Dave C says:

    Ole, ELO!

  3. Seattle DB says:

    I’m a fan of Pete Muller and Matt Gaffney, and I noticed that Matt closed his commentary with the word “Fun”. That got me to thinking that he was referring to the band by the same name that had a hit song called “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monáe. (Is it possible that Pete and Matt are conspiring to squeeze as many metas as they can into their crosswords AND their reviews?)

  4. Eric H says:

    My route to the meta was much the same as Matt Gafney’s, though I wasted a few minutes trying to make sense out of the first letters of the musical acts that were actually centered in an entry (ABBA, WEEZER, HEART, and ELO*) and ignoring the other six. Then I noticed that WHAM was right there in the middle of CLAW HAMMER.

    *I didn’t recognize MUSE, MAZE, or EVE as names of acts. Matt’s statement that the “hidden” acts are all one-word names makes me think that my Electric Light Orchestra find is probably wrong, but I got the right answer anyway.

    Side note: We’re watching “Breaking Bad” for the second time. In an episode we watched last night, Jesse Pinkman has been thrown out of his house and visits an old friend to see if he can crash there for a few days. At one point, Jesse tells his friend that they should start up their band again — a band called CLAW HAMMER.

    Fun puzzle! I’m looking forward to June’s.

  5. Pete+Muller says:

    Thanks Matt!

    344 correct this month.

    I intended ELO to be the band in DEVELOPER, but EVE works just as well.

    A lot of people sent in CLAW HAMMER, an American indie rock band from the ’80s, and the reason I needed to put “British” in the meta prompt.

    @Seattle DB – glad you’re enjoying our mind games!

  6. Iggystan says:

    I didn’t use Mahatma for some reason(must have missed the symmetry), but used Warsaw above it and got ARS (Atlanta Rhythm Section). Thankfully it worked.

    BTW, I’m in the ELO camp.

    • Iggystan says:

      Forgot to mention that I picked Warsaw originally because of “War,” another musical group, but that got me CLAWHWMMER until I rationalized ARS. Thanks Pete, an entry you didn’t mean to work did.

  7. bergie says:

    I got thrown off for half a minute with ASH in PASHA and WAR in WARSAW. The latter doesn’t fit the pattern of the other hidden bands, and I figured I should pare things down to CLAWHAMMER (although I’ve never heard of a band by that name), so I got the answer in the end.

  8. Naptown Kid says:

    ELO ATW. (All the way.) Not familiar with Eve. Wasn’t really up on A-ha either, but recognized their big hit Take Me On after Googling.

  9. Norm H says:

    ELO here.

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