2016 Puzzle 1: “Music Services” Solution

Music ServicesThe first MMMM of 2016 challenged solvers to find a hit album from 1973. The six theme entries each contain a spiritual home: CHAPEL, CHURCH, SANCTUARY, ABBEY, CATHEDRAL, and TEMPLE. In addition, the central down entry is ASYLA. Taken together (and perhaps with a little help from Google if you weren’t listening to music 40 years ago), they point to Led Zeppelin’s classic album Houses of the Holy.

A record total of 306 solvers found the answer this month. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Chriss Popp from Maplewood, NJ. Solvers found the puzzle relatively easy, rating it 2.3 on a 1-5 difficulty scale, and gave it an average of 3.8 stars out of 5. Reminder: If you liked the puzzle, you can rate it at Crossword Fiend. It takes about ten seconds and helps spread the word about the MMMM. Thanks as always to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle there every month. 

While technically correct, the clue for TEMPLE OF THE DOG [Self-titled and only album from Chris Cornell’s band after Soundgarden] was not the best, since it misleadingly implied that Soundgarden was over, instead of Temple of the Dog being a side project during Soundgarden’s run.  xhixen, Andrew J. Ries, and rachaar (and my wife!) called me out on this one. Sorry!

Short write-up this month and lots of solver comments, so I’ll share more than usual:


Selected solver comments:

baskin98 First MMMM! Thanks!   Welcome!

Jeff  I’m predicting a new record for correct answers.   Correctly forecast!

ant Iron Maiden?! Classic Iron Maiden?!! Yes!!!   Only because I needed a symmetrical entry for CATHEDRAL 🙂

George I’ve been seeing writeups for your puzzles on Crossword Fiend and have always been intimidated by the music theme. But I’ve decided to jump in this year and give them a try. Thanks!   While the puzzles are designed to appeal to music lovers, I try not to overload on the music-related clues to make them fun for everyone.

slubduck I’ve done Gaffney’s metas for a few years, finally found the impetus to do the Mullers! I dig the intertwined nature of your year-long contest — puzzle makers rock!   We do.

Chris Popp Great way to start the year! Now excuse me while I go listen to “Over the Hills and Far Away” about 25 times.   Many times I loved.

Evan Good start to 2016. Wonder if you considered “Blue Mosque” by Muslimgauze as a themer?   Nope.

Steve Blais Personally I prefer Ministry’s “Houses of the Molé”, but that is obviously just me.   I think it is just you 🙂



ab Dancing Days are here again as the metapuzzles flow!

classicalguy Glad to see that you finally got the Led out!

Flaxword The Meta Remains the Same!

kentbrody Solving this was a religious experience.

Golem We got to pray just to solve it today.

Andy Flescher Your puzzles never get old, especially here in the northeast this week where the winds of Thor are blowing cold.

comicsniper  Almost gave it 3.25 Stars but I changed it to 3.00, so: No Quarter.

And my favorite this month…

johnstonteacher Surprised you didn’t go with that Haddaway classic, “Wat Is Love.”


Clues that could have been musical:

rachaar suggests [Gershwin or Gnarls Barkley song title “Who ___”] for CARES.

wobbith suggests [Queen’s “___ Pressure”] for UNDER, plus two more clues that I plan on using in the future. Thanks!

deep purple suggests [One-time Beatles bassist] for STUART.


Next month will be pretty easy too. Thanks for playing and see you in a couple of weeks!