2017 Puzzle 2: “Splash Around” Solution

The February MMMM moved a half-century from last month’s puzzle, challenging solvers to find a rock hit from the past 10 years. The grid contains 36 circled squares, and they outline five distinct shapes. If you read the letters in each of these shapes in clockwise order from the top, you get NIAGARA, SUTHERLAND, YOSEMITE, ANGEL, and IGUAZU, all famous waterfalls. So we need to find a rock song from the past 10 years relating to waterfalls. If that doesn’t immediately ring a bell, a Google search [rock songs, waterfall] quickly turns up Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall by Coldplay, this month’s meta answer. Aah – the irregular shapes are teardrops!  203 people found their way to the correct answer this month.

Some experienced solvers whiffed this month (or came close to it). “Waterfalls” by TLC is a very famous song, but it’s from 1994, so that can’t be the answer (17 people submitted “Waterfalls.”) Both ant and jefe tell me that google says the meta song is from 2004 (I couldn’t reproduce this), which almost threw them off the track. Finally, a few solvers googled [waterfalls] instead of [waterfall] which made it a bit harder to find the song.

Quite a few solvers, but not everyone, said they like Coldplay and the song. The Duke of Prunes and jefflouie (how do I say this graciously?) would like to consciously uncouple from anything Coldplay. The average rating for the puzzle was a respectable 3.71 stars out of 5, while the average difficulty rating increased from last month, to 2.84 out of 5.


Selected User Comments:

patanga   Great song, great group…..much better than that other Waterfall song.

glasser   Puzzle: easy. Basic meta concept: easy. Finding any hit-level waterfall song that isn’t an R&B song from over 20 years ago: very hard. Satisfaction when finding the appropriate song: high.

mpstable   Don’t know the song, but it wasn’t hard to get once I located a list of top 100 rock songs by year and did a crtl-f for water.

DIS   Nicely done. It was a Google project for me, but I recognized the shapes as teardrops so it was straightforward.

Mike Lewis   Am I out of touch (very possibly) or was this not that big a hit? Wikipedia says it made it to #14 in the US, so I guess that answers that question.

m5rammy   I’m never sure if the “rating” and “difficulty” are for the crossword? for the meta? for them together? (one for each?)   It’s an average of the two, rating the entire solving experience.

Tony_A   At first I thought the puzzle had something to do with people’s names as I saw SUTHERLAND (Donald) and YOSEMITE (Sam).

Jeff G   Looking forward to the solution video.   See below!


Clues That Could Have Been Musical:

fheaney suggests [Weapon on the “Thunderball” soundtrack’s album cover] for SPEAR GUN.

rachaar suggests [Hometown of Hüsker Dü] for ST PAUL.

Blind Pursuit suggests [It’s as good as a wink to a blind horse, according to Rod Stewart and the Faces] for NOD.

And Redhead64 suggests [“___ Bin” (Former MTV project that showcased cutting edge music artists)] for BUZZ.



ConvolutED   I don’t know waterfalls that well; please stick to the rivers and lakes that I’m used to.  Groan!!

Gwinns   You clearly gave this puzzle a lot of TLC.


I’ve once again braved learning the meta answer and performing it within a couple of days. You can check out my tuxedo-clad attempt below.

Please note that (***) in 2017 MMMM puzzle clues indicate a connection to the mega-meta. I did not receive any mega-meta guesses this month.

This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Tim Cronley from Durham, NC. Thanks to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend, where you can rate the puzzle and/or leave a comment. If you whiffed this month, don’t feel bad. So did Matt!

Thanks for playing and see you in a month!