2020 Puzzle 3: “Surround Sound” Solution

March’s MMMM, “Surround Sound,” challenged solvers to find a six-word line from a Jimmy Buffett song. The grid contains six rebus squares, each containing the letters FIN. Jimmy Buffett has a song called “Fins,” so clearly we need to look there. But what’s the correct lyric snippet?

The key to solving this month’s meta is to notice the entry HONEY in the middle of the grid, and realize the rebus squares form a circle around that entry, which means this month’s meta answer is “Can’t you feel ’em circlin’, honey?” (a six-word line from “Fins”).

Unless you’re a devoted Parrothead, you probably had to use google to find the song, or at least to find the lyrics. But it wasn’t too hard to get to the answer from there, at least not for the more than 400 solvers who sent in the correct answer this month.




Meta Song:

 I recruited my kids and a few of their friends to make this month’s decidedly unserious video. Hope it puts a smile on your face!




Three solvers cracked the mega-meta this past month. A big shout-out to Bruce Greig, TMart, and jefe, who made MMMM history by solving the mega-meta after only two puzzles.


Selected Solver Comments:

Burak   I love meta puzzles that not only get an “aha!” but also a chuckle out of me, and this one surely did.

LaceyK   Super fun! Time for a margarita. Will you sport a shark fin hat in the video?   Close!

LesY   Fantastic grid and meta! Especially for an earlier month.   Thank you!

rachaar   I groaned. Then I laughed. Magic.

thanman2   You’re a very silly man!   Thank you!

sharkicicles   my username is oddly appropriate this month.


Alternative Music Clues:

Evan suggests cluing ICE as [“___ ___ Baby” (Vanilla ___ classic)].

Flipperista suggests cluing ROSA as [Owner of Marty Robbins’ cantina].

Mike W, haverwench and others suggest cluing HONEY as the Bobby Goldsboro song.

jagoandlitefoot suggests cluing ESTATES as [The Grey ___ (noted feminist music blog)].

Heavy_B suggests cluing RETSINA as [Drink served in Steely Dan’s “Home at Last”].

Redhead64 suggests cluing NIHIL as [KMFDM album featuring “Juke Joint Jezebel”].



Abide   You mako nice puzzles!

Ira   I thought this was a guest puzzle by “Finn” Vigeland.

Jon R   I feel pretty good about this one. Come Monday I’ll know for sure.

mmurphy   But what is the greater danger overall: these sharks or “Baby Shark”?

Kaymook   I hope there’s some latitude if I guessed wrong!

Jeremy Smith   Grid was not a shark—it was a BEAR!

yosser   Finished this faster than it would take to eat a cheeseburger in paradise.


A total of 420 solvers found their way to the correct answer this month. The average rating for the puzzle was 4.12 stars out of 5, and the average difficulty rating was 2.85. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Roger Kochman from Columbus, OH. 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!