2022 Puzzle 10: “Four by Fours” Solution

This month’s MMMM challenged solvers to find a rock group. The puzzle title, “Four by Fours,” suggests that the solution path could come from four-letter words. The grid contains exactly 16 of these, and they can be combined to form eight distinct eight-letter words. For example, RAVE and NOUS form RAVENOUS. OK, what’s the next step?

Each of these eight-letter words can be found in exactly one clue. For example, STARVE is clued as [Make ravenous].

Then, taking the first letter of each word clued by one of these eight-letter words (in left-to-right order) yields S-P-L-I-T-E-N-Z, or Split Enz, the New Zealand rock band that had a huge 1980 hit with “I Got You,” and this month’s meta answer.

Quite a few solvers reported not knowing the band, but still getting a satisfying click.

The table below shows how this works in detail (thanks Tamara Brenner!).



Meta Song:

I wish I knew that Split Enz had a song called “Crosswords,” because we would have taken a shot at that. Instead, we did a spooky cover of “I Got You.” We had a lot of fun making this video with our friend Chris Morgan and I hope you enjoy it too!



Selected Solver Comments:

Evan   Please tell me you’re covering this song with your band. I’m a big fan of the lyric “Crosswords puzzle me it’s frightening / We’re still friends but we’re still fighting” which perfectly describes the relationship I have with every constructor whenever I solve their puzzles.
Surprisingly, I had never heard the song until you told me about it!

ASB   Brilliant, I thought last month’s was your best ever, this tops it!   Thanks!

jus10   The only thing I had trouble with was extracting the band name from the eight letters. Would have expected it to read in clue order or top to bottom.   You weren’t the only one that struggled with that. Surprisingly, left-to-right order seems harder to spot. It’s also an uncommon band name, which made it harder for some.

Brainbow   I stared at the letters ZLSINEPT for ages before it clicked.

Rocklouder2424   Loved this one! Excellent construction!   Thanks! It was challenging given the need to use 16 different four-letter words exactly once each.


Alternative Music Clues:

Pete Mitchell and pbfromm suggest cluing TEA as [“___ for the Tillerman” (Cat Stevens album)].

pbfrommn also suggests cluing RAZOR as [“___ Boy” (Steely Dan song from the album “Countdown to Ecstasy”)] and DIVER as [“___ Down” (Van Halen album with a scuba flag on its cover)].

Alternatively, Stribbs suggests cluing DIVER as [“Holy ___” (Dio song)].

Finally, Chris Popp suggests cluing MATADOR as [Record label that trademarked the phrase “All Rights Reserved, All Wrongs Reversed”].



FunkyPhD   Fortunately, I was able to solve this without resorting to pulling my hair out, and now I don’t have a Keratin the world.

jvc   Man, that’ll be a hard act to follow. But I walk away feeling bold as brass.

LaceyK   What a joy to DISCOVER the hidden sixteen!

Redhead64   I know for sure you’ve never used this mechanic before, because “History Never Repeats”!

HunterX   May not be quite a Crowded House this month, but once I caught sight of the Finn stickup up from the waters of the grid, I thought, “I Got You”! And I was happy I wasn’t spending 6 months in a leaky boat.


A total of 155 solvers found their way to the correct answer this month. The average rating for the puzzle was 4.47 stars out of 5, second highest of the year, and the average difficulty rating was 3.53. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Jonathan McCue from Seattle, WA.  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!