March Muller Meta, and not only did I get this one before I finished solving, but I also have an amusing story to tell about the song that’s the meta answer.
But first things first: we are looking for a hit from 1980, and we have what appeared to be (and then actually were) five theme entries:
20-A [Poppycock, and (in a way) what you need to do to solve the meta] = UTTER NONSENSE. I suspected what the meta answer might be right here…checked to make sure it was 1980! And it was…
24-A [1973 Eagles hit] = DESPERADO. Also a chess term.
35-A [1979 Electric Light Orchestra hit] = DON’T BRING ME DOWN. Only in the Muller Meta is ELO in a clue instead of the grid.
43-A [1972 Tanya Tucker hit] = DELTA DAWN
49-A [1984 Wang Chung hit] = DANCE HALL DAYS. Huh, all these years I though Wang Chung was a one-hit wonder. I didn’t realize “Dance Hall Days” was them.
Picking out the D’s + 1 letter from the above entries you see they spell out the Police’s DE DO DO DO, DE DA DA DA, which is of course the “utter nonsense” of the first theme entry.
That’s the wrong song, I know, but right band!
I thought this was fun and a nice easyish meta. Fun fill included the nice word SPLENDID, GOLD LEAF, Joe SATRIANI, and TOP SCORE. Some quality eights there, even with five theme entries.
Now, my story: in 1995 I found myself involved in a Scattergories round where the letter D was in play and one of the categories was “Song Titles.” You’ll recall that in Scattergories you get points for multiple word answers, but every letter has to be the relevant letter; so for C under “Foods” you’d get three points for CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE but nothing for CARAMEL WALNUT COOKIE because the W ruins everything.
So I put down “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” and was ready to collect my eight points, which would probably have been close to a world record. But my three opponents claimed it was hyphenated, and the internet was still in its infancy so we didn’t have quick access to it, which would have comfirmed no hyphens. So instead I got one lousy point for that. Terrible!
4.25 stars for this one. Tell me how you did in comments. Just 208 right answers, so not as easy for others as it turned out to be for me.