2023 Puzzle 5: “I’ve Got the Music in Me” Solution

May’s MMMM challenged solvers to find a popular British band from the ’80s. The larger-than-normal grid contains 10 symmetrically-located theme entries, and each one contains the name of a musical act, as follows:

DEVELOPERS       (EVE also works!)


The first letters of each band name spell out C-L-A-W-H-A-M-M-E-R, or clawhammer, both a fingerpicking banjo style and an American band from the ’90s. Neither leads to a British band, though. What’s going on?

The trick is to use the same mechanism one more time on CLAWHAMMER to get Wham!, a popular British band from the ’80s, and this month’s meta answer. Quite a few experienced solvers didn’t take this final step. Happens to the best of them!


Meta Song:

I had a lot of fun learning this one with my NYC crew and a few friends. We put a jazz spin on a Wham! classic. Enjoy!


Selected Solver Comments: (Thanks for all the great feedback this month!)

rachaar   I always sit back and admire puzzles that are so elegantly constructed like this. The layers and layers of it – so well done!

Jwaan   Probably coincidence, but nice how “amazement” appears in the spot where the exclamation point would be.   Coincidence!

Tade   Very nice touch to involve Claw Hammer in the solution. I was not aware that it was both an Elton John song (referencing the hardware item) and a technique for playing the banjo. Also, I’m a fan of Kiki Dee’s “I’ve Got the Music in Me.” Overall five stars! 

pxofferson   “Claw Hammer? But they’re an American band!” 5 minutes later … /facepalm/

rnrstopstraffic   Took me a second as Mark Knopfler is known for playing his guitar using the claw-hammer style.

Streroto   I assume the exclamation point after Wham is not required.   That would be cruel.

glasser   The fact that you really only need four of the theme entries is funny!   Indeed! Only one solver sent in a comment that made me think they solved it without seeing the whole mechanism.


Alternative Music Clues:

rachaar suggests cluing MAIL ORDER as [Business for Columbia House in the ’80s] and WARSAW as [Joy Division song that shares a name with a European capital]. Eric H and Psychic Pilot also point out that WARSAW was the original name for the band.

pbfrommn suggests cluing TAE BO as [“She checks out Mozart while she does ___” (Train lyric)] and IOWAN as [Someone who “could stand touchin’ noses for a week at a time and never see eye-to-eye,” according to “The Music Man”].

Evan suggests cluing YODA as [Weird Al song with the lyric “Well, I’m not dumb, but I can’t understand / How he can lift me in the air just by raising his hand”].



clare   Man, you really know how to give a gal who loves a good crossword meta Everything She Wants!

Norm H   STRAINED fill? EYESORE grid? Nope, PREMIER meta. TRUSTINGOD (the puzzle god, that is).

Robin   Got hammered trying to do this one then I finally clawed my way out.

ant   To bang, or not to bang, that is the question!

EasyNow   For a second there, I was left hanging on like a yo-yo with this one!

Paragrin   This puzzle nearly had me creamed, but I took heart and persisted until I had a real a-ha moment and realized the double whammy.

Silverskiesdean   BAM, Thank you Ma’am.


Totals this month:

344 correct, 69 incorrect

Rating:   4.32 out of 5 stars

Difficulty:  2.87 out of 5

Monthly mug winner:   Ray Hunley from Manassas, 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 to Tamara Brenner for the graphic on the left.


Thanks for playing and see you next month!