Frequently Asked Questions

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How hard will the puzzles be?

The crosswords will be somewhere between Tuesday and Wednesday difficulty on the NY Times scale. The metas will start out pretty easy (Week 1 or 2 on the MGCC scale) and then progress to harder (Week 3 or 4 on the MGCC scale). For folks who haven’t done metas before, this should ease you into solving.

How do I solve the puzzles?

You will get an email with the puzzles attached in both PDF and Across Lite PUZ file formats. There is also be a page posted every month for online solving.

How do I send in my answer?

A submission form is posted on the home page during the weeks the contest is open.

What’s the best way to solve a meta?

Techniques vary, but my favorite is to look at one that’s stumping you right before you go to sleep and wake up with the answer. Try it!

What’s a mega-meta?

A mega-meta is a meta that stretches over multiple puzzles. Click here for an overview of metas and mega-metas.

What’s a red herring?

A red herring is something in the first group of puzzles that looks like it could be the mega-meta, but peters out before the last puzzle. Starting in 2020, solvers also get credit for finding the red herring.

When will the solutions be ready?

Solutions will be published on Tuesday at noon, two days after the submission deadline, and one week after the initial publication. As soon as the contest closes on Sunday night, this website will provide a hint to the meta.

Can I use the internet to look up answers?

Using internet tools to help you with the meta is completely acceptable and encouraged. Using the internet to solve the crossword is frowned upon by serious solvers, but can be helpful for less experienced solvers. It’s your puzzle – do whatever makes you happy.

I’m not that great a solver. Do I have a chance of winning a prize?

Anyone that solves a monthly puzzle correctly has a chance of winning the monthly prize. If you solve at least 8 of the 13 puzzles correctly and get the mega-meta early, your name will be put in a random drawing for the Grand Prize. Starting in 2022, you can also qualify for the Grand Prize drawing if you solve the mega-meta and 10 out of 12 of the monthly puzzles, even if you don’t solve the mega-meta early. The more puzzles you solve correctly (and the harder they are), the greater your chances in the drawing. Each puzzle will be worth a certain number of points, and you will get one entry in the random drawing per point. Harder puzzles will be worth more points.

Why are you doing this?

I have to blame Matt Gaffney for getting me started on meta construction. He told me he never got to solve metas, so I made one for him. I enjoyed it enough that I made three more (none of them music-related). I decided that I liked creating metas at least as much as creating standard crosswords, and I figured I might as well start a contest. 11 years later, here we are!

Why the music theme?

It’s a big enough space with lots of variety. And I’m a big music fan. In addition to crosswords, I compose and perform music. And I love listening to it – don’t you?

I didn’t receive the monthly email, what should I do?

Check your Junk/Spam folder to see if it’s in there. If you find it, mark it as “Not Spam/Junk.” You can also add mullermusicmeta [at] pmxwords [dot] com to your address book to ensure delivery.

Can I resubmit my answer if I had a typo?

If you submit an answer and notice a typo you may resubmit. When you resubmit, please clarify in the Comment field that you are correcting a typo in your original submission. Note that you can only do this for obvious typos.

***Note*** Your submission time will be recorded as the time you submit the correct answer, not the time of the original submission with the typo. 

Can I submit another answer if I believe my first answer was incorrect?

You may not submit more than one answer per contest with the exception of an obvious typo (see above). Only the first submission for each contest puzzle will be counted.

How do I change the email address I use to submit submissions for the contest and make sure my score carries over from previous years?

Email us here and include your old email, new email, and screen name, and we will make the update for you.


If you have a question not addressed above, please email me.