2014 Puzzle 4: “In Other Words” Solution

In Other WordsTo solve this month’s meta, one had to take the two comments in the grid and state them “In Other Words” to get a rock hit from the last five years. The first phrase, overheard at the 2014 SUPER BOWL, is HALFTIME IN A MOMENT. The second, overheard at a U2 CONCERT, is BONO MOVE STAGE LEFT. Bruno Mars was the main act at the Super Bowl halftime show. Rephrasing HALFTIME IN A MOMENT gives you 30 Seconds to Mars. U2’s guitar player and second most well-known member is The Edge. Rephrasing BONO MOVE STAGE LEFT gives you the answer, Closer to the Edge, a rock hit for the band 30 Seconds to Mars.

I’m usually pretty good at gauging the difficulty of a meta, but this month I failed miserably! Three days into this month’s contest, only seven people, an alarmingly low number, had solved the meta. I decided to offer a hint  (The two comments can be rephrased to give a band name and a song title) for reduced credit. 159 people asked for the hint, and of those, 35 solved it. In addition, 20 solved it without requesting the hint, bringing the total number of solvers this month to 55. People gave the puzzle a difficulty rating of 4.45 out of 5, one of the highest ever. The average user rating was 3.79 out of 5 stars.

While I thought the band and song might be unknown to some, I thought the meta was fair for a few reasons. First, 30 Seconds to Mars is fronted by Jared Leto, who gave a shout-out to the band when he won his Oscar this year. Second, even if you missed the Oscars or the reference, simply googling [Mars Edge] or [Edge Mars] brings the song up immediately. Even googling [Bruno Mars Edge] brings the song up in the first ten hits.

One solver, ab (who has solved every MMMM to date), had a slight nit to pick: Does seem like The Edge usually stands to Bono’s right, though, so I’m not sure how factually accurate that part is. She’s right and I made the same observation. I did find one photo online of Bono on the other side of The Edge, so I decided to go for it – using STAGE RIGHT would have made the fill much tougher.

Some user comments:

This was a great aha moment! And it made me laugh.  Emily O’Neill

Even with the hint, I had to scroll through Billboard charts to find it. I’ve never heard of the group or song. I laughed really hard at the puns when I found them, though. They were genius!  mathdanmom

That was a lot of browsing through random lists of recent rock songs for something that matched. Tough, but fair, ultimately.  Veep

Before the hint, very hard. Post hint it hit me like a lightning bolt! Great meta answer.  musicguy595

Man, this would have been *much* easier if I’d ever heard of that song!  Brent Holman

Very clever, though in retrospect I should have been able to get it without the hint, which I think is the way I’m supposed to feel. Nice work!  Heavy_B

This puzzle generated a lot of comments and a large variation in ratings over at Crossword Fiend. Click here if you want to read more about it. The most popular incorrect answer was “Invisible,” a song U2 unveiled in a Super Bowl commercial.

Clues that could have been musical department:

DAB [Amount of Brylcreem suggested in its jingle]  from John

ARESO [Joe Cocker’s “You ___ Beautiful”]  from mt

And finally, the groaner for SKIPANTS from (who else?) fheaney:  [“Let’s ___ Marching’ on this tour, I’m tired of playing it” (Dave Matthews comment, perhaps)]

I received two entries for the mega-meta this month, both incorrect. This month’s winner of a free coffee mug is Pete Mitchell from Bow, New Hampshire. Thanks for playing and see you next month!