Muller Monthly Music Meta, June 2024

Title: “Alter-Nation” by Pete Muller, Mack Meller, and Andrew White
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a famous pop song.
Answer: “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus

puzzle 14:45 mins; meta 4 mins (Matt)



Grid played very tough for me but the meta fell quickly; with just 344 correct entries with 45 minutes left to play, though, this was obviously a missable meta.

That grid, though; was it just me? Couldn’t get a toehold anywhere, and had PUMPS UP SALES at 21-A ([Successfully minds one’s business?] instead of the correct RAMPS UP SALES. Worked with 5-D [Examine intently] = both the correct PEER AT but also works with my incorrect PEEP AT. That left URT BRUT for [French term for nonmainstream creative work that’s also the name of an English rock brand] which sounded plausible. Eventually I backtracked and saw it was PEER AT and ART BRUT, which in hindsight does make a lot more sense.

Then I stupidly had MAUMAU at 45-D instead of MUUMUU for [Dress that Olivia Rodrigo ought to have worn in the “Good 4 U” music video?]. Hey, it’s been a long day…but I finally head-desked that one back to MUUMUU.

Once I had the grid wrangled, I free-scanned the five theme entries for any suspicious activity…and the meta dropped right away. I noticed that each of them had a U early and an A soon after — and hey, look at that, an S in between as well. The letters interrupting those trigrams were the P in UP, the first A in QUASAR, the R in YOURS ALWAYS, the T in NUTS ABOUT, and the Y in BUYS A TICKET.

That spells PARTY, brah, in the USA, giving us the Miley Cyrus song “Party in the U.S.A.” as our meta answer.

Fun! 4.30 stars. Enjoy the rest of your June and I’ll see you again in early July.

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4 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, June 2024

  1. Pete Muller says:

    Thanks Matt!

    348 correct at deadline. I did get a few “tough grid” comments this month. I guess it balances out the meta, which most solvers rated easier than expected for June.

  2. Eric H says:

    Well, I thought I had a good answer to the meta: “Born in the USA.” I struggled from t
    Tuesday until this evening trying to see something in RAMP UP SALES, QUASAR JET, etc. Until tonight, the only thing that I noticed was that RAMP UP SALES contains an anagram of PERU and QUASAR JET has an anagram of QATAR. But between not finding any countries in the other theme answers, and not being able to do anything with the leftover letter in those answers, I decided that I was not on the right track.

    But when I looked at it “one last time,” the USAs jumped out at me. My first thought was of the Springsteen song, so I submitted it without noticing that each USA was broke up as U_SA.

    I have more than a vague idea of who Miley Cyrus is, and “Party in the USA” sounds sort of familiar, but I probably would have needed internet assistance to get the right answer anyway.

    I admire that the P, A, R, T and Y are literally “in” the (or a) USA. Very clever!

    I don’t remember the grid being particularly challenging. I solve in AcrossLite, and the clock never works right, but I don’t think it took me much more than 10 minutes to fill the grid.

  3. Me says:

    Eric H, it looks like both you and I broke our streak this month! I got distracted that RampUpSales = RUS = Russia, and I spent way too long going down that rabbit hole. Then I got distracted by all the letters that seemed to be spelled out (PEE, ESS, YOUrsalways, EMbalm, BEbop). But, as should be true with a great earlier-in-the-year meta, the correct answer seems extremely obvious now.

    I don’t think the grid was particularly hard, although I got held up at the intersection of STRETTI/QUASARJET/ARTBRUT, because I had never heard of any of them. But ART seemed to make sense from the clue, and then the rest fell into place.

    • Eric H says:

      Sorry you lost your streak, too. I agree that the answer makes perfect sense, and I am trying not to kick myself for missing the PARTY. (FOMO never does anyone any good.)

      I too didn’t know STRETTI (which seems really obscure to me, even though I listen to a fair amount of classical music) or QUASAR JET. But I have one or two songs by ART BRUT, which I kinda like.

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