Musical syllable singing system / THU 1-27-11 / Screen swinger Ron / Rice with three rings / Tickle Me Elmo manufacturer
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Constructor: Patrick Blindauer
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: J to CH — Change "J" to "CH" in familiar two-word phrases where second word starts with "J-" — wackiness ensues
Word of the Day: SOLFA (24A: Musical syllable singing system) —
In music, solfège (French pronunciation: [sɔl.fɛʒ], also called solfeggio, sol-fa, solfa or tonic sol-fa) is a pedagogical solmization technique for the teaching of sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable, called a solfège syllable (or "sol-fa syllable"). The seven syllables commonly used for this practice in English-speaking countries are: do (or doh in tonic sol-fa), re, mi, fa, sol (so in tonic sol-fa), la, and ti/si, which may be heard in "Do-Re-Mi" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's score for The Sound of Music, as well as the Robert Maxwell song, "Solfeggio". In other languages, si is used (see below) for the seventh scale tone, while its earlier use in English continues in many areas. (wikipedia)
Theme is simple, but resulting theme answers (and clues) are funny, so I approve. With only four theme answers (I say "only" only because it's Mr. Blindauer, who can cram 'em in), I'm surprised there was as much lackluster short fill as there was; you know, your EEKs and OERs and MMMs and ENCYCs and YSERs and INITs and ESTOs and INTLs and ORTOs and ESSEs ... none of which is terrible on its own, but which in aggregate felt a little sub-Blindauer. A couple of right jabs for the pop culture haters today in LUPE and KATIE (I read all those damned books and don't remember KATIE, 52D: ___ Bell, witch who was a fellow student of Harry Potter at Hogwarts). I was luckier with LUPE (31A: Hip-hop's ___ Fiasco). I own an album of his and (no joke) I had this song in my head as I was solving the puzzle this morning, even before I hit the LUPE clue (Kanye West, featuring LUPE Fiasco):
- 17A: Mean, illegal wrestling hold? (DIRTY CHOKE)
- 34A: Standard tobacco wad? (ORTHODOX CHEW) — I had "ORDINARY CHAW" at first ... ?
- 43A: Woo President Arthur? (COURT CHESTER)
- 63A: Fat fool? (BROAD CHUMP)
- 15A: One of a literary trio (ATHOS) — of "The Three Musketeers"; I'm currently reading Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" and *loving* it.
- 51A: Where Panasonic and Sanyo are headquartered (OSAKA) — i.e."Japanese city" ... not too hard to figure out.
- 60A: Noted earthquake locale (BAY AREA) — well that's true. Also, Jerry RICE played in the BAY AREA.
- 9D: River that begins in Nord (YSER) — Back-to-back YSER days. Who knows what we'll learn about the YSER tomorrow ...
- 13D: Screen swinger Ron (ELY) — anyone else want "JEREMY?" Anyone? No? OK.
- 61D: "Don't you forget about me" ("AHEM") — what an odd, interesting clue for "AHEM." The clue makes me (and every suburban kid my age) think of only one thing:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
P.S. a message from today's constructor, Patrick Blindauer:
"I've also got a crossword contest going at my website, patrickblindauer.com/shop.html,
which has actually being extended until March 1. The winner of the big prize is still being drawn on Feb. 1, but I'm releasing a bonus puzzle at the same time and every correct meta-answer I get before March 1 will get a free copy of one of my puzzle books."