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LAT Tue. 3/23 Merle Baker



Heavy metal    IRON [I seem to remember a rock group called Iron Maiden.]
Base melody    TAPS

Big finish, and what the first words of the answers to starred clues can be    GRANDFINALE [The word GRAND can be, but that's only part of the grid entry; GRANDFINALE cannot be, for example, a modifier of SLAM.  What the theme entry means to say is that the first word of this answer can be the first word of the answers to the starred clues: GRAND + SLAM, etc.]

Eric Maddy:
You're taking GRANDFINALE wayyyyy too literally.
The first words of the starred answers can be FINALEs to phrases starting with GRAND -- thus GRAND FINALE.


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