GLADYS KNIGHT [Woman who sang the “Licence to Kill” theme song]
THE CHANTELS [Pre-Motown all-female group]
PATTI LABELLE [Warner Bros. put out a 1971 girl-group album named after her]
Concatenating the insides and then adding a little “hesitation” gives the Grammy-winning country band, LADY ANTEBELLUM.
I originally was just going to call this puzzle “Without Hesitation,” but decided to add “Hidden Trio” to make the puzzle more accessible for people who had not heard of the band. The second title helped in a number of cases, including for Matt Gaffney, who writes about his solving experience at Crossword Fiend.
I asked for suggestions on how to clue the missing “UM” entry but didn’t get any that were appropriately clued! I think a lot of people may have missed the clue gimmick. A few people suggested DONNA SUMMER and PuzzleCraig suggested HUMAN LEAGUE, but no one came up with a workable clue that fit the puzzle’s pattern.
Some solver quotes:
Katiedid Lady Ante Bell…where’s the um?…(hesitation)… OH! (Without Hesitation)
patanga Loved the aha moment when I realized what the hesitation meant.
kaymook The symmetric IRS’s threw me off as I looked for Grammy recipients on the great IRS label. I LOVE the ‘no um’ title!
mmurphy After last month’s puzzle, it’s no wonder “I’m a little drunk and I need you now…” (Lady Antebellum’s recent single is called “Bartender,” no less!)
genefaba This was great, Pete. The 2 titles were a big help. thanks.
xhixen What’s funny is [grammy winning trio] in Google returns an overwhelming number of hits for Lady Antebellum. It still took me a good 10 minutes of staring before it hit me, but that definitely planted the seed.
Clues that could have been musical department:
Brent Holman suggests cluing BAJA as [“___ Sessions” (Chris Isaak album)]. Pete Mitchell suggests cluing CASTLES as [“___ in the Air” (Don McLean song)], while Bruce Greig suggests cluing it as [Hendrix hit “___ Made of Sand”]. Rachaar appropriately chastised me for not cluing SPOON musically, say as a [Band that performed the soundtrack to 2006’s “Stranger Than Fiction”]. Pete and Brent both also suggested a musical clue for SPOON: [“The Underdog” Band].
A total of 79 solvers found the hidden trio in the puzzle. Average user ratings this month were 3.80 stars out of 5, with a difficulty rating of 3.08 out of 5 (about average). This month’s randomly selected winner of an MMMM coffee mug is noted constructor Jeffrey Harris from Columbus, GA, who coincidentally guest-authored this past week’s entertaining MGWCC.
Thanks for playing and see you next month!