We had some controversy this month! We’ll get to that in a moment. A record low 51 solvers found the correct solution to the October meta, “The Dark Side of the Moon”. There are four Pink Floyd albums alluded to in the grid: The album cover of “Wish You Were Here” features a BURNING MAN, the “Animals” cover illustrates what happens WHEN PIGS FLY, BRICKS AND MORTAR points to “The Wall,” and the symmetrically located BLACK and EBONY next to two “moons” illustrate “The Dark Side of the Moon,” the earliest of the four albums.
Some solvers who got the right answer figured out the unusual black triangle formations in the grid were supposed to be moons. Others were less sure. Are the sideways Devo hats supposed to be half moons? wrote Norm H, who got the right answer. I toyed with the idea of enhancing the moons (see the image at the bottom of the post), but ultimately decided it would make the meta too easy.
I really liked the way you lined up the black squares alongside “dark” words for a visual clue — very innovative! wrote Dan Seidman. Now I have Brain Damage going through my head. The song, I mean.
And now for the controversy: The main confusion was that in three of the four albums, the allusions were to the album artwork, while for the meta answer, the allusion was to the album title.
As solver Andy Arizpe articulates, I think I may be missing something there, because I feel like the meta answer isn’t clued as directly as the other three albums …However, I still feel pretty good about my answer, because (a) The two suspiciously triangle-shaped black square areas have EBONY and BLACK along their bases, and (b) this is maybe the most iconic album cover ever, so if it’s not the right answer, it certainly should be!
Matt Gaffney who blogs the puzzle every month addressed the controversy by saying the puzzle treads a fine line between lovely mosaic and jumbled mess, ultimately choosing the mosaic (thanks Matt). His write-up is here. A big I’M SORRY from me for creating a meta with this much ambiguity. I will strive not to do so in the future.
The different visual approach used to allude to “Dark Side” threw a number of people. A total of 33 solvers sent in other Pink Floyd albums, many giving reasonable justifications for their answers. There’s a cow’s BLACK ASS on the cover of “Atom Heart Mother, points out Regina Cassidy.” “Meddle” has an ear on it which could be alluded to by OTIC. Jeffrey Harris thought the masks on the cover of the live album “Is There Anybody Out There” (pictured below) have EBONY EYES. Other solvers found black eyes on the cover of “Pulse.” While none of these make for a particularly elegant meta, they are certainly plausible. My first MMMM controversy! Here’s my attempt at a political solution: Anyone submitting a Pink Floyd album other than “The Dark Side of the Moon” will be treated as follows:
- They will not be eligible for the monthly prize.
- They will be counted as having gotten this month’s solution correct for eligibility requirements.
- They will get partial credit for month 6 in the end of year ACPT entry-fee drawing.
Hopefully this is viewed as a satisfactory compromise. If you don’t think so, you must be a Republican. Or a Democrat.
A final quote: Scott T. wrote This was a fun one – thanks! We should note that Pink Floyd’s Back Catalogue artwork contains several “Gluteoplasty target[s]”. I’m thinking that was deliberate. Nope. But it’s a nice find!
This month’s lucky winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Katie Withnall from Las Vegas (the one in New Mexico). Last month’s winner was Nathan Fung. The average user rating for the puzzle was 3.95 stars (on a scale of 1-5) and the average difficulty rating was 3.55 (also on a scale of 1 to 5 and the highest difficulty rating so far). You can find all the puzzle ratings here.
Some good suggestions for clues that could have been musical. Pancho Harrison, Norm H, and Jeff Louie all suggested cluing ANASTASIA as the woman mentioned in “Sympathy for the Devil.” Al Sanders suggested [“Look at me, I’m ___”] for SANDRA DEE. Pete Mitchell as well as Eric LaVasseur mentioned the B52’s “Planet CLAIRE.” And Michael Marcus threw out Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls GO BAD”
There are 26 solvers who have gotten full or partial credit on the first six puzzles, and many more remain eligible for the drawing for the free trip to the ACPT (you need to solve at least 6 out of 9 correctly to be eligible). Thanks for the great comments and feedback. The next MMMM puzzle (featuring an unambiguous meta) will be on Tuesday November 6.
Click to enlarge the images: