2022 Puzzle 2: “Rhyme Scheme” Solution

The February MMMM, “Rhyme Scheme,” challenged solvers to find a famous band. The grid’s four theme entries were made-up phrases:

STAN LEE FREE PLAN   Cable contract that doesn’t charge for Marvel movies?

SHOOK BIG PIG COOK   Rattled a large luau chef?

SICK HOT POT TRICK   Something you might witness at Benihana’s new Chinese soup chain?

MY FIRST WURST TIE   Beginning of yours truly’s passion for meat-themed neckwear?

The first and last word of each of these four-word phrases rhyme, as do the middle two words. This is a rhyme scheme described as A-B-B-A, or ABBA, the hugely successful Swedish pop group, and this month’s meta answer. Thanks to Tamara Brenner for sending in the illustration to the left.


Meta Song:

Was tough to choose this month! We picked “Fernando,” and went with the full Kindred Souls setup. Enjoy!


Selected Solver Comments:

Rita_99   Thanks for the easy lob to any poets in the crowd.

MatthewC   First time attempting one of your puzzles, and loved it!   Welcome!

Sam   I was trying to think of bands that had an ABBA rhyme scheme in their name for an embarrassingly long time before I got the answer.   Quite a few solvers reported getting stuck in the same way!

Spielekatze   My First Wurst Tie? Goes w Lady Gaga’s meat dress!

Mikey   I think that I shall never see // A setter quite as good as thee   Cheers, mate!


Alternative Music Clues:

Steve Blais suggests cluing NEAR as [R.E.M. single “___ Wild Heaven”] and rachaar suggests cluing SWAY as [DJ, VJ, and rapper ___ Calloway].

Alternatively, shirk suggests cluing NEAR as [Singer Holly] and SWAY as [1954 Dean Martin hit].

Pancho suggests cluing KIND OF as [“___ a Drag” (title track on the Buckinghams’ debut album)].

pbfrommn points out that partial band names abound:

HANDSOME could be clued as [The ___ Family, “Far From Any Road” duo].
PREFAB could be clued as [___ Sprout, English pop band]  (mmurphy mentioned this too).
HANOI could be clued as [___ Rocks, influential Finnish rock band].
PALMS could be clued as [29 ___ (1990s U.K. folk-rock duo)].

Stribbs suggests cluing ANTI as [Rihanna album] and mentions the Moldovan band O-ZONE, who had that “Dragostea Din Tei (Numa Numa)” song that everyone knows and never needs to hear again.   Indeed! Evan mentioned O-ZONE as well.



Belle   Who says a poetry class is a waste of time? Not here: we’re hot!

Brendan Balke   I’ve recently been reading some really avant-garde poetry with an ACDC rhyme scheme.

k.d. muller   Took a chance on it.

Pink   I’d be a Dancing Queen right now, but Mamma Mia, that was easy! Should I Laugh Or Cry? Guess I’ll have to Move On and wait until next month.

EliSelzer   Mamma Mia! When I finished, I didn’t see the answer. I thought it might be my Waterloo. Thought I may have to send an SOS. Then I looked at the title and it was over; the Winner Takes It All! Fernando.

DCole324   Elizabeth II angrily staring you down while nailing the Macarena? Dancing Queen mean glancing!

Strybner   I look forward to these every month! I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!


A total of 509 solvers found their way to the correct answer this month. The average rating for the puzzle was 4.05 stars out of 5, and the average difficulty rating was 2.02. This month’s randomly chosen winner of an MMMM coffee mug is Tzachi Zach 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!