2024 Puzzle 6: “Alter-Nation” Solution

This month’s MMMM challenged solvers to find a famous pop song. A number of solvers mentioned that they started down the path of looking for country names with letters altered and got nowhere. There’s only one country “altered” in the grid, and it happens five times, with a single letter inserted into the letters “USA.” These letters, in order, are P-A-R-T-Y, pointing to Miley Cyrus’s smash hit Party in the U.S.A., this month’s meta answer.







Meta Song:

I enlisted my Austin songwriting buddy Andrea Magee to do an Irish-inspired version of the song. The instrument she’s playing is called a bodhrán. Enjoy!


Selected Solver Comments:

Tiongua   Fantastic, thanks! These have been challenging, and fun to solve.

Tyler Hinman   Impossible for just a few minutes until it wasn’t.

HPetriJr   Takes me back to when my then-7-year-old daughter couldn’t get enough of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus!

technohumanistteacher   As happens so often, I struggled for over an hour yesterday, put it away until today, and found it in three minutes this morning.

Abide   Spent too much time on the “Alter” and not enough on the “Nation”

Googly   A month early!


Alternative Music Clues:

rachaar suggests cluing TEMPE as [Arizona home of the Gin Blossoms].

shirk suggests cluing AMES as [1960s crooner Ed].

GAB suggests cluing MUST as [“You ___ Love Me” (Jay-Z song)].

Tony_A suggests cluing BEBOP as [“___-a-Lula” (1956 song recorded by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps)].

Evan suggests cluing EMILE as [“What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?” singer Ford] and PUNS as [The cover bands AC/DShe and Dread Zeppelin, e.g.].

Evan, rachaar, and shirk all suggest cluing STIR as [“___ It Up” (Bob Marley and the Wailers classic)].



tylersyoung   50 stars.

Allan Patterson   My face got all (s)Miley when I solved it.

mrlampo   After solving this puzzle, I’m Cyrus-ly considering buying a PowerBall ticket.

Mikey G   These puzzles are Miley recommended!

strybner   Noddin’ my head like yeah… Solvin’ the meta like yeah…

BrainBoggler   Definitely put my hands up and nodded my head after solving this one!

Jennybean   Took a minute to see it but then it hit me like a Wrecking Ball!


Totals this month:

347 correct, 16 incorrect

Rating: 4.26 out of 5 stars

Difficulty: 2.83 out of 5

Monthly mug winner: Cheryl Beck from Lockport, NY

Thanks to Matt Gaffney for blogging the puzzle at Crossword Fiend, where you can rate the puzzle (thanks!) and/or leave a comment.

Thanks to Tamara Brenner for the graphic.

Thanks for playing and see you next month!