Title: “Initial Reaction”
Prompt: One of the letters in the grid needs to be changed to make the theme consistent. The meta answer is the theme-related word made with the change.
Only 375 right answers this week, so somehow this played much tougher than I’d thought it would. Was a gimme for me, and I’d be interested to hear where others got thrown off track.
We had four long theme entries in a pinwheel pattern:
16-A: [“My Prerogative”] singer = BOBBY BROWN. Ah, high school.
10-D: [“A Whale of a Tale” singer in a 1954 movie”] = KIRK DOUGLAS. I didn’t know he sang, or maybe this was a one-off.
59-A: [“Wrecking Ball” singer”] = MILEY CYRUS
24-D: [“Mercedes Benz” singer] = JANIS JOPLIN
With a nudge from the title, let’s take the initials of these four and see what happens;
Music meta so must be B.B. KING, K.D. LANG, M.C. HAMMER, and J.J. CALE. And indeed there’s LANG in the grid at 48-A with a musical clue to boot: [“Auld ___ Syne”].
Looking further we have CALE at 58-A [NASCAR Hall of Famer Yarborough] and HAMMER at 44-D [Part of a 50-Down] and 50-Down was PIANO.
So we’re missing a KING, and from the instructions we could guess that there would be an entry one letter off from KING in the grid. There it is at 8-D, the alliterative [Very valuable vase] for MING. So KING is our contest answer.
So again a quick solve for me, and I’d be interested in hearing what tripped up so many solvers.
4.10 stars. 4/4 for me with a streak of I think 21 MMMMs but I’ll have to check that. See you back here for May.