2019 Puzzle 9: “Square Roots” Solution

September’s MMMM challenged solvers to find a famous roots rock song. The puzzle title, “Square Roots,” was crucial this month, and savvy solvers realized that the word “square” suggests a mathematically themed meta.

The entries starting at the first six grid squares corresponding to perfect squares (1,4,9,16,25,36) contain a famous song lyric as follows:


In case those lyrics don’t ring a bell, googling “Same old cliches, woman or a man” points to the Bob Seger classic, Turn the Page, this month’s meta answer.The entries starting at the final two perfect squares, 49 and 64, contain LIVE BULLET, the album that contains the meta song.

Squares 1, 36, and 49 also begin some non-theme entries, appropriately clued to let you know they don’t matter, as follows:


SIT OUT   [Skip, in a way]
MERE       [Insignificant]
LEAVES   [Goes away]


Meta Song:

We added this song to our set list when we played Europe, and as a result I have a couple versions to share this month.

On stage in Valencia this past July:


By an old fort in Mallorca, also in July:


Selected Solver Comments:

Jwaan   Pretty deep dive into the lyrics of a song not as familiar as I thought—found the “squares” but needed Google this time to get to the “roots.”

CrimsonHoo   “Roots rock song” or not, that is one of my all-time favorite tunes. As soon as I noticed “old cliches” at 4 and 9 the aha was explosive.

Paul Coulter   Love that song! Thanks for the memories.

JustinW   How the blazes did you get that to work?


Alternative Music Clues:

ASB suggests cluing AROSE as [“Kiss From ___”].

Evan suggests cluing SAME as [“Still the ___” (No. 4 hit in 1978)]  and referencing another Bob Seger hit.

Redhead64 suggests cluing III as [Roman numeral in the only Van Halen album with Gary Cherone as the lead singer].

WannabeCoder suggests cluing TOO FAR as [“__ Gone”, 2018 Cane Hill album].



No puns this month!


A total of 169 (13 squared!) solvers found their way to the correct answer this month. The average rating for the puzzle was 4.17 stars out of 5, and the average difficulty rating was 3.38. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Leonard Wallace from Greenbelt, MD. 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!