Month four of the 2017 Muller Music Meta. Do you have a perfect score? Very possibly — let’s see who got tripped up on this one.
Our title is “Pulse Modulation,” and our prompt is:
Something’s not right with six of the entries in this grid. What song that was a hit in both the 1970s and ’90s provides instructions necessary to make sense out of them?
Intriguing — let’s check out our six theme entries, four of which were obvious from length and two of which identified themselves later on:
17-A [Perks for AARP members] = SENIOROCSIDUNTS. Sounds like it wants to be accidents, but that’s actually DISCO in reverse, taken from the original phrase senior discounts.
23-A [Acts like an angel, idiomatically] = SPROUTGNIWSS. SWING is reversed, from sprouts wings
34-A [Sprinkle-covered, alcohol-flavored chocolate dessert morsel] = AMBURALL. RUMBA is reversed, from rum ball
36-A [Three-card monte, say] = AGNOCME. CONGA is revered, from con game
46-A [Shirley Temple Black, once, to Czech.] = UABMASSSADOR. Tricky with that triple-S in there. SAMBA is reversed, from U.S. ambassador. She was also ambassador to Ghana.
55-A [Cryptogenic] = OKNUFOWNORIGIN. Nice one-word clue. FUNK is reversed, from of unknown origin. Nice find there.
What have we done here? We were forced by Pete to TURN THE BEAT AROUND, which I always just thought was a 1990s Gloria Estefan song, but turns out to have originally been a Top-10 song for one-hit wonder Vickie Sue Robinson in 1976.
I like this meta quite a bit. The mechanism is unique and amusing, and there were some nice finds among the sextet Pete used.
One of Pete’s constructing fortes is somehow managing both theme density and a wide-open grid, which I often label “fancy stepping.” He did it again here: with four long theme entries and two shorts ones across the middle no one would’ve complained if he’d gone with a more conservative fill. Instead we get four 8s that span three theme entries each — WRINGING, PROMPTER, NO-GO AREA and LOOSENED, plus chunky-but-still-lively sections in the SW and NE.
4.40 stars from me. I’m 3/4 on the year, and I see that a few people have already gotten the mega-meta?! Holy cow.