Puzzle #5: Working for the Weak End
This puzzle has a letter change theme of the E-to-A variety. In an attempt to make it as elegant as possible, I further confined myself to 4-letter words with the form of _EA_. I also made sure to balance the front- and back-ness of the affected word in each theme answer, landing at 3 fronts (DEAR, HEAL, and FEAT) and 2 backs (MEAT and PEAL).
There was initially no theme answer in the center of the grid, but the theme square count was a little thin without it at 38. The normal range is 40 to 60. The grid is also a little more closed off than I prefer, but this helps to maintain a squeaky-clean fill. AORTA and UNLIT are probably my least favorite entries in the grid.