2013 Puzzle 1: “I Put a Spell on You” Solution

A total of 161 solvers found the solution to the first 2013 MMMM puzzle, the Grammy-winning (as of Sunday!) “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. They noticed that the six theme entries, GEE BABY, OH CANDY, T-BONE BURNETT, WHY TRY HARDER, E-STREET, and EX-LOVER, all start with a letter sound. The puzzle’s title (taken from the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins song) hints that some spelling might be going on. But what does G-O-T-Y-E-X mean? It turns out there is a slight twist – the meta refers to a Gotye song about an EX-LOVER. The song features the Australia-based singer Kimbra (who is split symmetrically in the grid as KIM and BRA).

While the song was pretty well-known to many, some solvers had to turn to googling or other alternatives.  Relied on the Mrs to figure out the song, which isn’t well-known to ME, wrote Crossword Man. Meanwhile postrander used the teenagers in the house to help.  

Last year’s high-scorer Abby Braunsdorf wrote I’ve seen Elizabeth Bras and some others at Victoria’s Secret, but I haven’t seen a Kim Bra- yet. Don’t worry, the Kardashians will get there, no doubt. 

Stribbs joked I really hope the mega-meta isn’t intensely Kardashian-related, but I am pretty confident you wouldn’t do that!

Paul Coulter points out that if you look for letters in the non-theme down entries, you can spell Be A Duck right to left by columns, with B from B-boy, E & A from AANDE, D from three-D, U&C from Seeyou, and K from theK. (You have to ignore the NRA to see this, or else you get BE A DARNUCK.) A few solvers mentioned that the non-theme entries with letters confused them. It would have been pretty hard (but not impossible) to remove all other letters. I chose not to because I thought it would be pretty clear that only the symmetric theme entries were important. But I can see how if you’ve never heard of Gotye, you might be tempted to keep looking.

A single solver braved a wild stab at the mega-meta this month – he was not correct. I will tell you that neither the Kardashians nor the letters forming BE A DUCK have anything to do with the mega-meta.

A number of people sent in clues that could have been musical. Dave Taube mentioned two bands, SMASH Mouth and RARE Earth. Pete Mitchell and Bob from Bel Air both mentioned Charlie Parker, the BIRD.

Speaking of earth, there’s a band called Walk off the Earth that has a great cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know” with an entertaining video that you can see here.

The randomly selected winner of an MMMM coffee mug this month is Janie Smulyan of New York City. The average user rating was 3.66 stars out of 5. On the difficulty side, the average rating was 2.57 out of 5.

Thanks as always for the feedback, and thanks to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend.

The next MMMM will be coming your way Tuesday March 5.