2019 Puzzle 10: “Follow the Directions! (2)” Solution

Both July and October’s MMMM could have been titled “Follow the Directions!,” so this month’s bore the highly creative title “Follow the Directions! (2).” Solvers were challenged to find a famous song. July’s puzzle used NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, and WEST as direction indicators, and this puzzle uses alternate directions, albeit with a different mechanism. LEFT, RIGHT, UP, and DOWN all appear in the grid as parts of six longer entries. If you “follow” those directions, you find “C” on the left of CLEFT, “OUNT” directly underneath the DOWN in LANDOWNER, etc.

String them all together and you get C-OUNT-RY-RO-AD-S, or Country Roads, a popular name for the famous John Denver song Take Me Home, Country Roads, and this month’s meta answer.  (Solvers who sent in Country Roads received full credit.)

I did try to put the full song title in the grid, but couldn’t do it without things getting too ugly, so I opted to go with the better fill. If you’re a constructor and up for a challenge, I am offering a free mug (and public glory) to someone who can send me the best clean MMMM-worthy grid that contains the full song title using this mechanism.


Meta Song:

We recorded this in the woods in Boulder, Colorado, in between playing a few shows.



Selected Solver Comments:

Pink   Country Roads was the song I *begged* my parents to play before bedtime when I was young. 🙂

Jimbo   My favorite type of meta — no internet searches required.

jwaan   If you use compass directions like in July, you can get “crypt”–was that a red herring?   Accidental but cool!

FrankieHeck   I love it!! As a West Virginian and part of a WVU family, this is basically my anthem.

DIS   Are you going to perform it the way John Denver did it or more like Toots and the Maytals’ version?   Love the Toots version, but going with the classic.


Alternative Music Clues:

jagoandlitefoot   suggests cluing LACY as [Guitarist Steve].

Heavy_B   suggests cluing HUMOR as [“Does ___ Belong in Music?” (Frank Zappa song)].

Redhead64 suggests cluing BERT as [Used lead singer McCracken].

ERO suggests cluing BADLY as [“Don’t ya need her ___?” (Doors lyric)]



mlangschwager   Bacon-Ator, Mountain burger, Take me home, food coma!

Paul McK   Normally I yell “Aha!” when I find the meta answer, this time I yelled “West Virginia!”

Ira   It was almost a heavenly puzzle.

yosser   I feel old doing this, older than the trees. But younger than the mountains, so that’s something.


A total of 280 solvers found their way to the correct answer this month. The average rating for the puzzle was 4.26 stars out of 5, and the average difficulty rating was 2.74, on the easy side for this late in the year. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Lisa Beazell from Charlottesville, VA. Thanks to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend, where you can rate the puzzle (thanks!) and/or leave a comment.

Thanks for playing and see you next month!