Lowest broadcast TV channel / WED 4-11-18 / One of 14 lands neighboring China / Old AT&T symbol

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Constructor: Keiran King

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: search for words that punfully make up the names of composers why don't you —

Theme answers:
  • "BARBER OF SEVILLE" (15A: Classic work by 16-, 31- and 51-Down, so to speak?) (ROWE / SCENE / KNEE)
  • "CANON IN D" (24A: Classic work by 11-, 9- and 8-Down, so to speak?) (PACK / ELLE / BELL)
  • NOCTURNE (39A: Classic work by 50- and 23-Down, so to speak?) (SHOW / PAN) 
  • "MOONLIGHT SONATA" (52A: Classic work by 45-, 35- and 28-Down, so to speak?) (BATE / HOE / VENN)
Word of the Day: CANON IN D —
Pachelbel's Canon is the common name for a canon by the German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel in his Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo (German: Kanon und Gigue für 3 Violinen mit Generalbaß) (PWC 37, T. 337, PC 358), sometimes referred to as Canon and Gigue in D or simply Canon in D. Neither the date nor the circumstances of its composition are known (suggested dates range from 1680 to 1706), and the oldest surviving manuscript copy of the piece dates from the 19th century.
Pachelbel's Canon, like his other works, although popular during his lifetime, soon went out of style, and remained in obscurity for centuries. A 1968 arrangement and recording of it by the Jean-François Paillard chamber orchestra gained popularity over the next decade, and in the 1970s the piece began to be recorded by many ensembles; by the early 1980s its presence as background music was deemed inescapable.[1]From the 1970s to the early 2000s, elements of the piece, especially its chord progression, were used in a variety of pop songs. Since the 1980s, it has also been used frequently in weddings and funeral ceremonies in the Western world. (wikipedia)

• • •

Oh, so *that's* why I had to endure the ridiculous BATE. OK got it thanks. I mean, the word is ABATE, but yeah, thanks.

[23A: What makes ale pale?] (PEE)

So many issues. From a solving standpoint, the idea that I want to look around to other answers in the grid ELEVEN times ... to find answers that I Haven't Even Filled In Yet ... I don't see how anyone thought that was a plausible let alone pleasurable activity. The only way I solved this was by taking ever themer as just [Famous music thingie] and getting each one from crosses. This proved semi-brutal when I tried to get the IND part of CANONIND because I thought maybe CANON was the front end of some work I'd not heard of, like, er, CANONADE or some such (?). Also I thought the [Big "G" for Google, e.g.] (25A) was a LOGO, not an ICON. Also, I (swear to god I) confused Giza with Pisa and wrote in ARNO at 26D: It flows past Giza (NILE). Also forgot that DAYS Inn exists (27D: ___ Inn). I sincerely can't believe that anyone solved this puzzle as it appears to want to be solved, i.e. where you actually look at all those Downs and figure out the pun and *then* write in the work title. Cross-references are death, and 11 are 11 deaths. Also, the puns are super-weak. Well, PACK ELLE BELL is, anyway. Maybe if you're British that vowel sound in "PACK" is right, but this is an American puzzle so nope. Lastly, where the theme is concerned, a single NOCTURNE is not in any way at all parallel to the other works, which are complete and famous in their own right, not just one of a set of works. Chopin wrote a bunch of NOCTURNEs. You can't just have one sitting there all by its lonesome. It would the equivalent of having just SONATA for the Beethoven one. No no no. How do people not see this? This seems elementary.

31D: "And ... ___!" (director's cry)] (SCENE)

And then the fill, I mean, it's fine, but the grid is necessarily choppy as heck (kind of a demanding theme—getting all those pun parts in there can't have been easy). Nothing bothered me much about the fill. But I do think this puzzle has a king-size bad idea in the cluing department. Truly, sincerely, one of the worst clue progressions I have ever seen: 35D: Tool for tilling (HOE)—that one's fine. But to follow it with 37D: Tool for telling? (QUILL)!?!? Whaaaaat is that? I needed every single cross to get QUILL and still had to ask a friend after I was done what it meant. I thought maybe William Tell (?) was involved. But no, apparently (and I'm not entirely sure), you "tell" people things ... in writing ... with your QUILL? ... because you live in the 18th century? I've never been a huge fan of the clue progression, since I solve like a reasonable person, i.e. *not* by reading the clues in order, and so the whole "effect" is often lost on me; also, the "progression" is often tortured. But this one ... this one makes "torture" sound nice. [Tool for telling?] Man, that is an epic bad call.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. what is with the "lands" in 55A: One of 14 lands neighboring China (LAOS)???? Are there 14 LAOSes neighboring China? 'Cause that is what the clue appears to be suggesting. [China neighbor] = look how easy that was. Or, if you must be absurdly verbose, [One of 14 countries neighboring China]. "Lands," my god ... I need to tell the world how bad this clue is. Fetch me my telling QUILL!

P.P.S. Someone tried to convince me that in that QUILL clue, "telling" referred to the thing that Ebeneezer Scrooge did, because he ran a "counting house" and so "telling" is supposed to refer to the verrrrry last definition of "tell" (2.4), here:

LOL OK, sure. Brilliant. The problem is that definition 1.1 is "communicate information, facts, or news to someone in spoken or written words." So whatever your little intended archaic wordplay joke was here, the ordinary definition of "tell" is kinda standing in your way. In fact, I'm not at all convinced that this "count" definition was the intended one. Feels like something the clue's lawyer dug up to try to excuse its behavior. "Your honor, if I may beg the indulgence of the court..." [GAVEL SOUNDS] [dramatic pause] "You may not."

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


abalani500 12:09 AM  

Well, I’m never ordering pale ale again...

Anonymous 12:10 AM  

The only time I think a director says "and scene" is during an audition?

Tom 12:16 AM  

No fun at all. Solved faster than average, paid no attention (well maybe a little) to the theme clues, didn’t believe “pee” when I put it in. GAH. crappy Wodin’s Day puzzle.

John Child 12:26 AM  

Oh @Rex. Sigh. I waited with BATEd breath to see what you had to say but didn't expect a PAN. A remarkable and creative idea that I solved as a themeless, so the conceit didn't quite work for me, but wow! And a debut too - many congratulations Mr. King. (No Facebook balloons or confetti here, alas.)

The constructor notes discussed his theme clue idea - {The sounds of 16-, 31- and 51-Down?} for example. Better that way I think because there's more incentive to do the cross-reference answers to find out what the clue means. But I just solved in normal sequence to find, for example BARB and then filled in the answer. Nice, easy themeless: David Steinberg is doing this at http://www.puzzlesociety.com/the-puzzle-society-crossword. Free trial, fun easy puzzles.

John Child 12:28 AM  

And, let me add, remarkably clean fill for so many constraints. Something like 80 squares of theme material!

Unknown 12:41 AM  

Adding the letter P to the word ale makes it “pale.” But yeah - reading it as “pee” makes ale more pale in color? that is some seriously racy stuff!

John Ciolfi 12:46 AM  

Perhaps it's just me, but I thought the theme answers were fairly impressive, simply due to the fact that adding the appropriate clues to make each answer work could not have been easy.

(Also, check out "Canon" by Zox. It's a ska version of Pachalbel's Canon in D - unique, and definitely worth a listen.)

Moly Shu 12:50 AM  

Yea, bad. Compounded by classical music. Double bad. PACKELLEBELL who?

Eric J 12:52 AM  

Pretty easy puzzle with a fucking stupid theme. I actually had QUILT for 37d, cuz, you know, ball point pens and such.

Jill McCourt 12:52 AM  

All I hear in my head is David Cross' Tobias saying, "And... Scene."

Graham 1:05 AM  

SCENE is what rehearsing (mostly stage) actors say to close an improv or scene fragment study ... more or less to let the audience or scene partners know the action is over, time to move on to the next exercise.

JOHN X 1:05 AM  

This was a great puzzle!

Rex, old sport, as soon as I saw the first across theme clue I went and solved all the down theme clues and then figured out the across theme answers. I did it just like the constructor probably intended and I had a grand old time doing it.

And NOCTURNE (singular) and SHOW PAN go together like beans and cornbread. Val Kilmer should get a Lifetime Achievement Oscar just for playing Doc Holliday in "Tombstone" (1993):

Doc Holliday is drunkenly playing a somber piece on the saloon piano
Billy Clanton: Is that "Old Dog Trey? Sounds like "Old Dog Trey."
Doc Holliday: [annoyed] Pardon?
Billy: Stephen Foster. Oh, Susannah, Camptown Races. Stephen stinkin' Foster!
Doc: Well, this happens to be a nocturne.
Billy: A which?
Doc: A nocturne! You know, Frederic f***ing Chopin.

BATE was a bit of a stretch there, and SCENE makes absolutely no sense in this context, but other than that it was all pretty good. CANONIND and PACK ELLE BELL probably should have been difficult, but for some odd reason I just read about that piece just recently. I remember it from the 1980's when movies tried to sound "classy" in post-1970's America, although I just learned now that it had only recently been resurrected at that time. It truly is classical "muzak" and I kind of hate it.

Anyway, this was a fun puzzle. A good Wednesday.

andy 1:05 AM  

The back and forth was easier online because the other clues were highlighted so they stood out.

Being the Philistine that I am, I had never heard of Canon in D, but I enjoyed it.

And who says "Gah?" A Scrabble word perhaps. But I have never in my lifetime heard a single person utter that word.

Clark 1:06 AM  

This puzzle was a blast, which is not how I usually feel about a Wednesday puzzle! These composers and pieces (or, in one case, this form) are right up my alley, so I knew what the downs had to be before I read the clues. I guess if you don't like puns those downs would be annoying, but the fact that the sounds weren't the perfect equivalent of the names made it that much more interesting.

Harryp 1:15 AM  

Very easy fill, but Music Duff that I am, I had to Google Pachebel's Canon. Listened to it on Utube, but didn't remember ever hearing of it before. Otherwise an OK Wednesday.

puzzlehoarder 1:16 AM  

I flew through this in Monday time and got the theme after solving. One glance at that 15A clue and I was done wasting my time on such nonsense. I did such a good job of avoiding the theme I didn't realize that CANONIND was even in the puzzle until I'd finished. That was a good thing as that work and it's composer we're unknown to me. From my glance at the 15A clue I knew the theme concerned classical music and the other more famous works we're easy to recognize from the crosses that were flying in. Completing them without wasting time on the clues sped up the solving time and compensated for any short comings I had with the fill.

I appreciate the work that went into this puzzle. It explains the presence of the ugly BATE. Still, if you can use that word in place of aBATE you have to be a master aBATEr. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just kind of quick pointless like this puzzle.

jae 1:22 AM  

Easy and what @Rex said...but maybe I’m just getting lazier as well as older.

Larry Gilstrap 1:22 AM  

Often a puzzle is completed with no clue that a theme even exists. Remember yesterday? Today we get cross referencing and something resembling puns and oh brother! I've had more than a few classical music phases and I admire those who are more committed than I have been, so have at it! Is SHOW PAN's NOCTURNE that much of an outlier?

I find it thrilling when a bunch of actors are standing around and the director cries, "And SCENE..." Love the roar of the grease paint and the smell of the crowd. Sure, it was only community theater, but it changed my life and my place in this town. After two years, I still get compliments, mostly because of the generosity of the rest of the cast.

No clue why QUILL is clued as a Tool for telling. Discuss.

Most of my life, I had no idea that MISLED was the past tense of mislead. I invented a verb that was something like "mizzled," with all its forms. He's a crook and a "mizzler." I'm gonna "mizzle" me some ill gotten gains.

Waiting with BATEd breath for your spin on the whole deal. Soon to be ABED.

Anoa Bob 2:00 AM  

Enjoyable solve and I admire where this one is going with the music and the syllabical* quasihomophonic stuff, but thought that there were a couple of glitches. The NOCTURNE issue was a big, big one. Another was the random, I think, order of the quasihomophonic syllables. Rather than being in numerical or positional sequence, they seem to jump around.

These two issues kind of put this one into a wobbly precessional spin for me.

Since there's already a lot of jumping around, why not clue 24D CHASE and 31D SCENE together?

And where is MOATS ART?

*In the NYT online today was the Science section story lead-in "Climate Change Denialists...." So if they can do that, I'm going with syllabical instead of syllabic.

John Hoffman 2:01 AM  

I like the idea of using clues for a phonetic description. It’s different, for sure. But this just didn’t work very well. I don’t know if it would ever work very well. Superduper easy for Wednesday. I did have a good laugh at PEE for pale Ale!

Deej 2:14 AM  

I think directors of plays say, “and scene,” because it makes no sense to say “cut.” This would only be during rehearsals, of course.

Cristi 2:19 AM  

Laugh out loud closer—fetch it hither anon!

Kell 2:59 AM  

I liked it! Maybe just because I'm into classical music. Went crazy fast because I generally got the whole theme answer + the composer bits off of a few letters. Got "CANONIND" and PACK ELLE BELLE off of "PACK," the whole Beethoven one off of an M and an H in MOONLIGHTSONATA, etc. etc. That Quill clue is not good. I do see what you mean about having to look up the cross references, but I suppose I was aided by solving online, where the other parts are automatically highlighted. I thought the fill was remarkably clean.

TomAz 3:02 AM  

I finished this in close to record Wednesday time, and I have no idea why that is. I couldn't suss the theme clues out til I was done, but I filled in the various musical works baaed on their crosses. I knew there was a Thing going on, but figuring out that Thing would have just slowed me down.

the QUILL clue is absurd. I know VICAR in the Episcopal, rather than RC sense, so that delayed me approximately 1.2 seconds.


Aketi 3:10 AM  

I wasn’t really paying that much attention to the theme answers last night and just filled it all in without really understandining what PACK ELLE BELL had to do with CANON IND. I had a nano second of the thought that Tac-el Bell was really quite a stretch and what could that possibly have to do with the state of Indiana? And promptly fell asleep not even looking at the oh so obvious SHOW PAN and BATE HOE VAN.

Amazing what even a little sleep will do for the brain.

I had hoped, however, that the answer to the pale ale clue was a bad dream, but no it’s still there in the not yet quite light of a dawning day, Why?

chefwen 3:24 AM  

Like @puzzlehoarder solved as a rhemeless then went back to “play the game”. I can never remember who wrote what, you sang what, which band played that, it was quite a lot of fun piecing it all together.

Made the same error as Rex with logo before icon and my sound of exasperation was Grr and my HWY was a rte, so I had a little cleaning up to do. Overall fun puzzle that I really enjoyed doing.

Mark 3:48 AM  

I thought the puzzle was great

sanfranman59 4:04 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:52 4:18 1.13 80.8% Challenging
Tue 4:25 5:37 0.79 7.3% Easy
Wed 4:46 6:00 0.79 14.6% Easy

I zipped through this and didn't bother with the cross-referenced composers until after I was done. Pretty impressive debut effort if you ask me. But I felt sure that Rex would pan it because cross-referencing slows a speed-solver down ... though that wasn't true for me in this case. Nor was it apparently true for him. Not every puzzle has to be geared to the enjoyment of the speed-solver. Lots of people are in no big hurry to get through the puzzle.

I did lol at Rex's post and I agree with him that the clue for QUILL is insane. Also, NOCTURNE is inconsistent with the other themers and is not "a classic work" by Chopin. He wrote many classic NOCTURNEs (21, according to Wikipedia). I'd still give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Loren Muse Smith 4:09 AM  

What a great idea. Sure, cross-referencing is cumbersome, but when I got BARBER OF SEVILLE, I just figured that the cross-referenced downs would be some kind of Mozart deal. And there, guys, is an example of why I feel dumb here a lot. In my head, it’s BARBER OF SEVILLE and the barber’s name is Figaro, and Figaro is all Mozart, baby.

Anyway, I got the four musical works and frowned like everyone else at NOCTURNE, the outlier. But I just frowned; it didn’t ruin my day. When I was done, I went back and sounded out all the composers, very pleased the whole time.

Since my Sacred Puzzle Time involves sussing out the theme, savoring the idea, pondering, playing, thinking, I got a real kick out of this. Obviously your mileage may vary; okay, it absolutely varies. But I’m with @Mark – I thought the puzzle was great.

BATE was the first word I wrote in my margin. But rather than get upset, I just added it to the bone/debone, ravel/unravel, loose/unloose, privation/deprivation, flammable/inflammable list. Cool.

Liked ECONO Lodge and DAYS Inn. I always try to get my husband make a hotel reservation for me if I’m traveling because he’s not as tight with money. His reservation means room service and a robe that makes me feel fancy and rich. My reservation means a linoleum floor and car lights shining in through the thin curtain every couple of hours.

Products you don’t want to see:
Econochute – the thrifty way to sky dive
Econotank – money-saving scuba gear
Econoladder – make sure 911 is on speed dial
Econobrakes – you do the math

Pluralizable thing – NOUN. Pretty soon, in a few decades, editors are gonna have to allow an apostrophe before that S. It’s a force bigger than we are, and not just in America. If the whole infer-can-mean-imply deal made you mad, this prediction should absolutely ruin your day. Heck, pay attention here, and you’ll see someone pluralize a noun with an apostrophe every day, sometimes multiple times a day.

@Anoa Bob - "moats art" - good one. How 'bout a guy in Jamaica (work with me here) who was made a piece of art by spraying a boulder with bug repellent.

What the heck is THAT?
Rock, mon, in Off.

Keiran – I really liked this idea and enjoyed the whole process, start to finish. Well done.

Thomaso808 5:19 AM  

Really liked it. It was different, and as @M&A says, different is good. I especially like that it was a debut constructor trying something out. Well done!

Folks who have commented already about not knowing Canon In D, you people need to get some music edumacation! This is the ultimate wedding tune for the last 30 years, featured big time in “Father of the Bride” and most recently a riff in Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”, which is guaranteed to be in almost every wedding ceremony or reception in the next 10 years. I have a daughter getting married in 25 days and I have not discussed it with her, but I will eat my boutonnière if some version of Canon in D does not get played that day!

Conrad 5:25 AM  

I hate Pachelbel's Canon in D. Not because it's bad music but because years ago when I was the only employee supporting our backup software I spent innumerable hours on hold, stressed out due to a problem, listening to the vendor's hold music, the Canon in D. My brain associates that piece with anxious waiting. To this day if I hear it at a wedding the hair on the back of my neck stands up. If you're familiar with the work (or even if you're not), take a look at this "Pachelbel Rant": https://youtu.be/JdxkVQy7QLM

'merican in Paris 5:50 AM  

I RELY liked this one, too. Played fast, and after I saw the conceit, I didn't mind the cross-references. The rest of the puzzle was pretty clean and the clues easy (or at least in my wheelhouse). My DNF was because I had no idea which TV channel Conan (who he or she?) calls home, and so inserted cBS. That made the "Lowest level of Little League" (44D) cBALL, but that made sufficient sense to me. I know what TBALL is, but as a way to play baseball, not a Little League category.

I, too, held off on entering that last "E" in "PEE", but then got the joke. Perhaps because of that, when I got to 42A ("Where a comb may be found"), I entered "cock" (as in rooster). Was disappointed to have to change that one to HIVE.

Loved also the little joke at 7A ("Not up") and 7D ("Up"), and the resulting answers, ABED and ARISEN.

Agree that BATE and its cross, DELE, should have been fixed before publishing. Or at least the clue for 56A should have have included ", ... for short".

BarbieBarbie 6:16 AM  

@AnoaBob, I guess a denialist would be someone who studies the art or science of deniestry. Open wide!

I thought this one was great. It doesn’t matter how I solved; the clues are shown together, and it’s hard to avoid seeing patterns in them when they are there, so I got a chuckle out of tilling/tilling/telling. And the composer-puns? Laugh-out--loud silly, which is perfect. Lots to admire in this puzzle.

@Conrad, I was planning to include the Pachelbel Rant link, but you got there first. “I’ll see you in hell, Pachelbel...” I always think of that when people get all soft-eyed over Freebird.

Lewis 6:38 AM  

It's an amazing construction feat, cleanly filling a grid with so much theme (45% of the fill, according to the constructor). And the theme is remarkably clever -- huge props for that. But how was the solve? That, to me, is always the important question.

For me, and for others, I see, as I read the comments, it was fast. Squares just kept filling in. I solved it as a themeless because words kept flying in, then afterward figured out the theme to a big "Wow!". I think a theme this cool deserved tougher cluing, which might have forced the solver to USE the theme to help solve -- and, IMO, it would have been a richer, more pleasurable, and satisfying solving experience. A memorable wow, through and through. I believe the theme is that good. That said, I respect Will's call to make the cluing easy since there was all that jumping around the grid to get the composers' names, and there is certainly an argument for that.

Lots of things did catch my eye. A rhyming thing: QUILL/SEVILLE, ROWE/SHOW /HOE, INHALE/SURVEIL, DELE/EEL, KNEE/PEE/SIE. An initialism thing: IMHO, CIA, NGO, TBS, IRS. A contradictory cross: ACTALONE/PACK. That BATE did stand out. If it could have been BAIT (as Jeff Chen points out) it would have been improved, or perhaps BAY TOE VENN. But that's a minor nit when considering the impressive theme and execution.

KK, I say "More!" and "Encore!" -- this is a terrific debut!

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

Fun avatar :D

FLAC 7:11 AM  

Gee, Rex, tell us how you really feel.

You know, a critic who can’t get outside his own frame of reference is not a critic; he’s a monomaniac. This was an amazing puzzle, despite its deviation from the “conventional,” and your inability to see that worries me.

Open your mind.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

Theme is brilliant, obviously. Fun to solve and I’ll bet a bear to create. I loved it and am mildly surprised at Rex's review.

Clue for EEL is very odd. I’m sure a barracuda would take the occasional eel if presented an opportunity, but EELs would be way down on the list of common barracuda prey.

Much odder is the clue for NOUN, not all of which are pluralizable (e.g. courage, fun).

RJ 7:19 AM  

Very easy Wednesday that timed like a Monday for me. As usual, solved as a themeless then checked after. I’ve become a solver that ignores the themes unless I can’t. I’m sure there’s a VENN diagram out there somewhere of xword puzzle solvers and their professions, likes, and styles. And puns. It must include whether or not one enjoys puns LOL.

Thanks so much @Conrad (5:25 am) for the “"Pachelbel Rant": https://youtu.be/JdxkVQy7QLM. Made me laugh out loud – always a good way to start the day

Not crazy about QUILL but QUEST made it easy. I actually know one person who says “GAH” when she’s frustrated. It still makes me chuckle. Got sidelined by entering RTE instead of HWY and COCK instead of HIVE for where combs are found.

RavTom 7:30 AM  

I was a bit surprised that our fearless leader began his rant with an objection to BATE. Where do you think “bated breath” comes from?

@Thomaso808: I’d add that Pachelbel’s Canon in D made its splash with the general public (including me) when it was used as the theme in the 1980 Oscar winner “Ordinary People.”

@LMS: Your prediction about apostrophes isn’t happy tiding’s.

kitshef 7:31 AM  

@lms - peel/unpeel

Darren Woods 7:49 AM  

I guess since I am a classical musician, I loved it. Got Rowe and Scene (and as an actor and singer a director does say, “And Scene”) and whipped through the rest of the puzzle. Yes, Pachebell is a stretch, but once you got the theme, if you know classical music, it was pretty easy. Congrats to the constructor. I agree with quill, but it was the first thing that popped into my mind when I got Quest so I wrote it in and well - there it was.

Birchbark 7:49 AM  

I wanted a Little Rascals theme on getting BARBER OF SEVILLE. Alfalfa's breaking-voice rendition remains one of the great ARIAs of the 20th century.

@Larry Gilstrap -- the "roar of the grease paint" is like a koan.

@kitshef, there's structural efficiency in barracudas eating eels. Is that a green heron in your avatar?

SJ Austin 7:53 AM  

Doing the puzzle online is not my favorite way to do it, but it definitely helps with cross-referenced themers like these, because the web app highlights the related clues. If I had printed it, it'd have been harder to make sense of the them.

Despite noticing a few clunky clues, I enjoyed this one just fine and ended up with a big Wednesday PR (at least of the ones I've done online).

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

The “Pach” in Pachelbel rhymes with the American “pack.” Look it up!

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Actually ELLE is more of a problem.

QuasiMojo 8:22 AM  

I LOL'ed while doing this puzzle. I thought it was great fun. I am sort of shocked by the venom in OFL's rant today.

"And SCENE" has been used before in the NYT, and not that long ago, and no one complained then. It's a theater term. I love how the tweeting peanut gallery you posted take such umbrage at things outside of their wheelhouse. Grow a pair, guys.

QUILL seemed so obvious to me. What is hard to grok about "telling"? A writer tells stories. A quill is a longstanding tool of writers, perhaps more symbolic nowadays than back when. But it is not a stretch by any measure.

@LMS, there is a third play in the Figaro trilogy that was also made into an opera. "La mère coupable" which was made into an opera by Darius Milhaud. I would add "nude/denuded" to your list of words that seem like opposites.

Like mon ami in Paris, I had a DNF at the very end because I don't know anything about the lower echelons of Little League and have no idea what channel "Conan" is on. I had CBS as well. If I had done this on paper, I would never have known I was wrong since C-Ball made perfect sense.

My main quibble today is VINOS. The clue is Italian wines which would be "vini" although most people would say bottles of wine, or use "vino" to mean wine in general.

As for MISLED, I had a friend many years ago, sadly no longer with us, who always pronounced that word "MYzulled" -- we all used to laugh out loud when he made the mistake. But he couldn't shake it having first learned the word by reading, never having heard it spoken.

Jeff from CT 8:26 AM  

I said that too, but it’s the letter p, right?

Two Ponies 8:31 AM  

Some of the themers were such a stretch for me that I had to write them out to understand. Even then it wasn't that much fun.
However, I do love classical music and any puzzle that draws attention to it is fine with me.
Pee just made me think of "paying the rent" for my ale.
I'm with @ kitshef about the eel clue. I caught a barracuda once but before I could reel him in his buddies turned on him leaving me with just a head on my line. So prey for barracuda, in my mind, will always be barracuda!
Also, I am tired of constructors trying to invent new ways to clue old crosswordese words.
Lowest broadcast channel? CNN, of course.

Doug 8:34 AM  

Well, Rex, a lot of your gripes are spot on today. But... but...for QUILL? Come on, this was not the worst of clues, and in fact it's rather clever. You don't have to be that old to know that's how writing was done before pens and typewriters. And I'll add if I might, I know punk rockers who know and respect Pachelbel's Canon. So it surprises me that you've never been acquainted with all the ways to get something down on paper.

mmorgan 8:38 AM  

I don't really disagree with Rex's specific criticisms, but I still thought this was really cute!


kitshef 8:40 AM  

@Birchbark - rufescent tiger heron

michiganman 8:41 AM  

I thought Tool for Telling-QUILL was clever. I suppose much younger people have not heard of a quill pen. A writer uses some form of instrument to tell a story. Could be a BIC, a quill, or an I-Pad.

Pretentious Music Critic 9:13 AM  

It's POCK ELLE BELL, not "PACK ELLE BELL," at the very least. Pachelbel rhymes with Taco Bell.

I agree with Rex that NOCTURNE is a sore thumb outlier, with the Canon (and Gigue) In D following close behind. I would also submit that BARBEROFSEVILLE is an outlier as CANONIND and MOONLIGHTSONATA, while they are now the names of those works, neither composer gave them those names. Pachelbel's work is actually called "Canon and Gigue in D," and it has only become the "name" we know and love because it was a Canon (a musical form) that happened to be in D and is pretty much the only thing he's widely known for. It is no more a name than if Chopin had a famous NOCTURNE in D...which he doesn't.

So you have an actual opera named, "BARBEROFSEVILLE," a musical form that has come to be the name for a "CANONIND," a generic piano piece of which Chopin wrote many, "NOCTURNE," and a posthumously named Sonata no. 14 "The MOONLIGHT," by Beethoven.

All of that said, and minus the PACK part of Pachelbel, I thought it was clever.

JB 9:16 AM  

Think it's more of an improv thing...

Nate 9:22 AM  

I'll put my hand up here... I am thoroughly ignorant of classical musical. I enjoy it and usually queue up a Spotify playlist of Romantic-era piano when I'm trying to relax at work, but I'd be atrocious at "Name That Tune - Classical Music Edition." In other words, I didn't know a single themer and did not understand a single pun. I've HEARD of BARBER OF SEVILLE and MOONLIGHT SONATA, but the composer? Not a clue.

So you'd think this would be a tough puzzle for me. Not so. I finished it in near-record Wednesday time, without the help of a single theme answer. It was that easy.

BATE and PEE both made me cringe. That's all I have to say about this puzzle.

Nancy 9:26 AM  

52 comments already?! Wow! Guess no one else spent any time cross-referencing all those punny composer combos, either. If they had, there wouldn't be 52 comments until the summer of 2025. A pain in the you-know-where. But I bet the constructor had a lot of fun with it, and I know it took a lot of work and thought. So there's that. As for me, lazy bum that I am, I solved it as a themeless -- and it took no time at all. It was perfectly pleasant and I didn't have to work too hard.

Carola 9:40 AM  

I loved it. I thought the theme was very clever, combining the "seriousness" of classical music with zany composer puns - SHOW PAN made me laugh. And I liked the lovely close-of-the-day pair NOCTURNE and MOONLIGHT SONATA.
Ex-teacher that I am, I always follow directions, so I did look at those Downs for the composers and then filled in the titles - the theme definitely helped speed the solve. However, I DNF. I didn't know Mike of "Dirty Jobs" so wrote in ROss to go with SCENE and KNEE, then "corrected" it to ROsE, never checking the incorrect cross - TsO looked okay, given the famous General.


Jenskis70 9:41 AM  

Liked it!

Sir Hillary 9:42 AM  

I agree that some of the clues are ridiculous, but at least this felt different. Nice work!

I am such a philistine, I can't pronounce the Canon dude's name right. To me, it's always PAL-CUB-ELLE. Kind of like Dubya and "nucular".

The best part of my solve was that I got the ROWE-SCENE-KNEE piece first, then spent the rest of the time remembering the awesome Looney Tunes short "The Rabbit of Seville".
Ooh wait'll I get that wabbit!
What would you want with a wabbit?
Can't you see that I'm much swee-ter?
I'm your little señori-ter.
You are my kind of guy.
Let me straighten your tie.
And I will dance for you.
[snip snip snip snip snip, snip snip snip snip snip, snip snip snip snip snip]

Jenskis70 9:43 AM  

I’m Referring to Canon by Zox.

Mohair Sam 9:45 AM  

Whenever I really really like a puzzle @Lewis says every word I'm thinking before I wake up. And I really really liked this one.

We finished it as an easy themeless and then went back to find the theme and enjoyed the aha moment. QUILL was fine by us. And we too are always in the "different is good" camp.

Thanks to Rex (back in grouch mode) for linking Pachelbel's CANON.

@Conrad (5:25) - Thanks for the link - really funny. Up 'til now, I've always enjoyed CANON IN D, henceforth I'll start laughing whenever I hear it.

@Lauren - "Rock-mon-in-Off"? Aaaargh! Loved it.

Awesome debut Keiran King, keep 'em coming.

Brian Miles 9:52 AM  

I solved the theme in the intended way and enjoyed it. Very fast for me. Surprised so many didn't care for it.

Nancy 10:01 AM  

Oh. As in "telling" a story. I didn't get the QUILL clue either, and I really dislike it now that I know what it means. "Telling", to me, just screams out oral communication, not written. There are so many equally tricky (but fairer) ways to clue this instead: "All the Founding Fathers used one". "Feathers on an old desk". "One needed for the Declaration of Independence." And, on a different note: "This may be shot at you in the woods."

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Echoing the folks who've rightly noted Rex is simply wrong about the Pachebel pronunciation.

Also, scene is used all the time by directors in the theater. All the time. Since there's no film, there's nothing to cut.

Regarding nocturne. Wow!Just wow! In my onion, Rex went out of his way to find a criticism. It's unjust and silly. Why on earth is a single nocturne not Chopin's nocturnes fall well within the theme.

Quill is brilliant for precisely the reason Rex points out. Both tell and quill are superannuated terms. It's really really clever.

So was this puzzle. A tour de force of construction. I've done some puzzles by OFL. Many are good, but I've never seen one as good as today's. Methinks Michael is jealous.

Stanley Hudson 10:10 AM  

What @Nate said.

Prof 10:11 AM  

To say nothing of 11A and 23A in the same puzzle. I didn't realize the Wednesday puzzle was pitched to 8-year-olds.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Oh, come now girl. Even a city slicker should know a porcupine doesn't throw his quills.

Nancy 10:19 AM  

Anon 10:12 -- He doesn't?

GILL I. 10:24 AM  

Hand up for thinking this was quite clever. I've not seen anything like it before and we're always screaming about wanting something fresh. To me, this fit the bill - and cleverly.
@Puzzlehoarder...I was going to say that you probably have heard CANON IN D. Maybe a million times. Although popular at weddings, it's also used for funeral processions. Actually, all of these except, maybe, BARBER OF SEVILLE, could be used at a funeral.
I, too, hate jumping around but this one didn't bother. I actually finished first then went and put the ROWE SCEE KNEE PACK ELLE BELL SHOW PAN BATE HOE VENN together. I wanted Taco Bell.
@Sir Hillayr...Thanks for the morning laugh.
Pop Tops..."Oh Lord, Why Lord."

mathgent 10:27 AM  

Good puzzle. I learned CANONIND which, from the comments, is quite well known. Also, embarrassed to say, didn't know that Beethoven composed MOONLIGHTSONATA.

@mmorgan (8:38): Thanks for the additional composers.

@ two ponies (8:31): Good CNN joke.

@ Larry Gilstrap (1:22): I never said "mizzled" out loud, but I would say it to myself as I read it. That went on for a long time.

As I started to read Lewis (6:38), I got excited because I thought that he going to say something negative about a puzzle. He flirted with the idea but then ended by blanketing it with praise.

Kimberly 10:27 AM  

As a pianist I can’t hate this as Rex does, but I take slight issue with the implied pronunciation of Pachabel, and I find it odd that three of the themes are single pieces of music for piano and one is an entire opera. Seems sloppy.

Birchbark 10:29 AM  

@kitshef (8:40): Wow, talk about a tiger in the grass. If I we're an EEL, I'd steer clear of that guy's Marsh.

Z 10:32 AM  

I’m usually more Team Rex, but today I’m Team Muse and Team Child. Didn’t look for the composers until post solve, so the cross-referencing didn’t bother me. I’d love to say that I did this to help speed my solve, but candidly, knowing the composers would not have helped me one whit so I didn’t bother. I mean, I know the composers and I know the works, but I wouldn’t know who went with which.

Pachebel Rant


and the California Guitar Trio doing Bach

5:15 just because I love Ethel.

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:34 AM  

I sincerely can't believe that anyone solved this puzzle as it appears to want to be solved, i.e. where you actually look at all those Downs and figure out the pun and *then* write in the work title.

Hi Rex. That's how I filled Rossini (SCENE). You may still choose not to believe me.

I'm impressed by puzzles that have a very constrained grid but somehow make it work. This one was one of my fastest Wednesdays, and there wasn't much groan-inducing fill. I think the casual tone in clue writing helped this puzzle a lot. I'm pretty sure the Pale Ale clue made some people spit out their coffee, but it was a price worth paying IMHO.

This is not the best Wednesday puzzle ever, but I definitely don't think it deserves such negativity. A nice idea -apparently dumbed down a bit by Will Shortz- and a fair execution. I liked it. The themes this week have all been solid.

GRADE: B+, 3.7 stars.

Austin Robison 10:35 AM  

I agree with several of the criticisms about the cluing, but not everyone doing the puzzle is an expert who has been doing crosswords for 20 years. Some of us have to work methodically through all the clues and cross references to have any chance at finishing. Maybe Rex can solve this as a themeless, but I had to uncover the composers to get through it, and enjoyed the aha moment of doing so.

I generally enjoy reading what Rex has to say about the puzzles, but didn't really like being told that 2 things I need to do to get through the puzzle are not the way "reasonable people" solve.

Masked and Anonymous 10:36 AM  

As @Thomaso808 said I say: Different Is Good.
And ale can make yer PEE less pale.

Great fill, for a debut meat puz with this much theme material. The constructioneer must have spent many a nanosecond, gettin all these planets to align. staff weeject pick: HWY. By RODE, WERE, and CURS.

GAH. har
GAH/HWY. har+

Fairly eazy-E solvequest, other than that M&A don't know Opera. At all. Fortunately, have heard of BARBEROFSEVILLE, thanx probably mostly to Looney Tunes cartoons. And have heard of ROWE-SCENE-KNEE (sp?) from other xwords. PACK-ELLE-BELL + CANONIND made actually no sense to m&e, tho.
Not the puz's fault; M&A just kinda went more of the Rockabilly route thru life. Now, if one of the themers had just been ROCKETINMYPOCKET … coulda been a contender.

Congratz, Mr. King. Real good job, dude.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

yo! @RP! Get yer Anagrams, here: (major biter, tho)

Amelia 10:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheerio 11:07 AM  

Loved the theme. Nice puzzle!

I had the thought about the G being a logo, not an icon, but I suppose that icons for Google apps often involve G's.


GHarris 11:07 AM  

All the wisdom and puns have already been shed so I will merely add that ,for me, it was an easy and fun solve and an even bigger kick sussing out the composers. Must say I was taken somewhat aback before putting in that pee.

Charles Flaster 11:16 AM  

Enjoyed this debut and would like to see many more.
Cluing for PEE was hilarious—quite a visual.
Thanks KK

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Um.... Yeah improve actors and comedians do use scene. So do directors. what makes you think that because its used in improve, it's not used by stage directors (obviously in rehearsal)?

Joseph Michael 11:19 AM  

Count me among those who enjoyed this Keiran King debut. BATE and GAH are small prices to pay for a clever theme with nearly 50% theme density and surprisingly little drek.

I solved it first as a themeless and then went back to track the syllables of the composer name puns. This was a fun process since I'm not focused on how many minutes and seconds are ticking away during a solve.

THANKS, Keiran, for a great start to this Wednesday.

old timer 11:20 AM  

I liked the puzzle a lot. But I also agree with the many nits OFLs picked.

@Quasi, one of my daughters pronounced MISLED as "mizzled" and she never lived it down. I bet her son, who is 6 and an excellent reader, will be warned about that particular mistake.

Mark N 11:25 AM  

I thought this one was splendid! The fill was so easy that I do strongly think the intention was just to invite solvers to go back and see that, yes, the cross-references sound out the composers. *I* was impressed, anyway!

Bryan Kuhler 11:28 AM  

I loved the theme and had fun with this puzzle. Even with a limited knowledge of classical music, I had no problem solving the theme answers. I do agree that a few of the clues/answers were a little odd and not what I expected. But hats off to Kieran King for the ingenuity it it took to construct this one. Oh and ALE is made pale by the addition of the letter P, nothing more. Good grief.

Malcolm Gibson 11:36 AM  

Well said.

Banana Diaquiri 11:49 AM  

I solve like a reasonable person, i.e. *not* by reading the clues in order

Now just a damn minute!!! I am a reasonable person, and I do, in fact read the clues in order. First run through is Across then Down, picking out the PPP gimmes. Then, and only then, looking for the deepest completions and such. Saves loads of corrections. So there.

FrankStein 11:56 AM  

I would imagine “The Canterbury Tales” were written by Chaucer with a quill pen. No problem there.

Citizen Dain 11:58 AM  

Regarding the complaints in the post:

1) The tweet about 31D/directors is off the mark. Sure, a film director would never say, "And... SCENE!" But "directors" also direct plays. This is a "cry" for a theater director, not a film director. Nothing wrong with that clue.

2) With 14 "lands" instead of countries, are they trying not to wade into controversy by deciding whether Taiwan is its own country or not, or something like that?

Roo Monster 12:01 PM  

Hey All !
Agree with the nice construction feat. Agree with liking the composer names split into like-sounded things. Not a big Classic music listener, but have heard of these themers/songs/overtures/whatevers. :-)

J and X away from a pangram.

@LMS, how about thaw/unthaw? Technically, unthaw would be "freeze again", no? Hey, maw, y'all wanna unthaw's that piece of venison? Har. (Rogue apostrophe just for you!)

THANKS for the PEE funny!


jb129 12:08 PM  

I agree with Rex - looking back & forth NUMEROUS time was not pleasurable. Pee was in poor taste - luckily I don't drink pale ale.

jberg 12:08 PM  

I loved it, and I di duse the theme in solving. But I didn't solve the pun clues and then get the work, but did it the other way around. It was MOONLIGHT SONATA that made me change wAnE to BATE, for example. For me, the fun was in getting all the theme bits -- something to relish and savor, rather than to speed through.

But @Rex is right about PACK; should be POCK. That's how I say it, and how the guy in the rant said it, too. Rhymes with another German composer with that ACH sound.

So this one definitely did not make me want to say GAH. Or BAH. or PAH, either.

@Loren, I had a hard time with your avatar because I thought that was a cup of coffee. Finally figured it out, though -- nice!

jb129 12:08 PM  

And Quill was awful.


Well I stand corrected for my earlier comment on SCENE not making any sense. I work in the film industry and it never dawned on me that play directors actually say anything, but I guess they do.

EdFromHackensack 12:37 PM  

I play George Winston's version of the Canon on the piano. He does it in C. Fun to play, people like it.
Put in Hair instead of HIVE and that tripped me up a bit. finished no errors. Kind of easy but the QUILL clue was bad. GAH? never heard of it and had BAnE at first. But kind of a fun romp all in all

Dick Swart 12:53 PM  

This was fun to solve first and then go back to sound out the phonetic downs.

The musical fillins are well known as are the composers so the puzzle was hardly difficult ... just fun.

Except for Pale Ale.

Tom Rowe 1:07 PM  

Well, it was fun for me. I got Barber of Seville off of 3 or 4 downs without even figuring out the theme, and that told me the theme without the gimmick, and the other three pieces just fell in with minimum crosses. Sometimes it pays to be a classical music fan. I did go back after filling in moonlight sonata and the grid filled to check out the theme, and said "Oh. Meh."

Bagelboy 1:13 PM  

I ignored the cross references, and just solved knowing the long answers were classical music related. Ended up with a record Wednesday time.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

Easy, yes. Fast, for me, no. I spent a lot of time checking the crosses at _ANONIND and the crosses of those crosses (CIA,check, HOLY, check, ZONES, check so it has to be DAYS Inn but NIND?) When I finally got CHASE at 24D, the CANON IN D light bulb finally went on.

Symmetrical inkblot splashes from my QUILL tell the story of my BaBA attempt at 2D and my ABATE in at 44D, just one column over from where BATE belonged. TBALL eventually filled in, just as POOH pooh-poohed BaBA so a clean solve today; my hero's QUEST was successful.

I thought this was clever and worth the trouble of hunting down the cross-referenced downs and writing them on my paper's margin (though I misspelled 24A's composer as Pacelbel at first.) Thanks and congratulations on the debut, Keiran King.

mathgent 1:20 PM  

@Banana Daquiri (11:49): That's exactly how I attack a crossword. The reason, I think, is that my skill as a solver is inferring a word after seeing a letter or two in the space rather than analyzing the clue. Often, the word will come to me first and I will then confirm that it fits the clue.

I'm pretty sure that this is not a good strategy for scoring a fast time, however.

pabloinnh 1:46 PM  

I bet those of you who think you haven't heard Pachelbel's Canon in D would recognize the piece if you heard the first eight notes, which are repeated, well, until the end.
I was singing with a group that did a choral (and comic) version of this. The basses led off and kept up the opening and monotonous motif and by the end were reading newspapers while they sang. As a finale everybody throws their music in the air and walks away in disgust.

clayplay 2:14 PM  

I questioned sonata which I got quickly because it was so different than Barber of Seville. Quickly realized it was right though.

As a cellist I have to agree that the Pachelbel Canon is the most boring piece I have ever played (this puzzle brought back the nightmare), but Ravel's Bolero is a close second. Thanks for the link https://youtu.be/JdxkVQy7QLM.

'merican in Paris 2:17 PM  

BTW, I was expecting that one of the links in OFL's (that's a posessive, not a plural) write-up would be to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I mean, there it is, almost front and center: QUEST.

tea73 2:22 PM  

Found the puzzle easy - and got all the musical piece names - though like Rex - was mystified by CANON IND. I can't believe I didn't see it as the parent of a kid who played violin I had to hear mediocre versions of it regularly. He discovered the Pachabel Rant many eons ago. Glad it's been linked. Priceless!

For some reason I couldn't make any of the composer names work because I kept reading them in the wrong order. I had ? VENN HOE and was thinking Ivanhoe? Why? The puzzle was easy enough I didn't need their help.

Kathleen Ruttum 2:34 PM  

Did anyone else think 17d could be a way out there Harry Potter reference. Remember ‘Rita Skeeter’, brilliantly played by actress Miranda Richardson, had that quill she used to tell her stories. I don’t know, that’s just what popped into my head. Love your blog, read it every day!

kitshef 3:07 PM  

@Nancy 10:19 - no, they really don't shoot their quills. You are not alone in thinking that, though.

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Can someone please explain to me 15 Down "___ relief"???? Bas?? What am I missing here?

Anonymous 3:44 PM  

Thank you, Bryan.

Jackie 4:36 PM  

@Anonymous 3:30 PM
A bad-relief is a “kind of sculpture in which shapes are carved so that they are only slightly higher than the flat background.”

gloriosky 5:08 PM  

Thought this was easy and a little weird. But I LOVED Rex's write up - gave me lots of laughs and made it all worthwhile. Rex, why the angry rants, when you can be so funny and entertaining, and still make your point? More please. Do it again.

Anonymous 5:49 PM  

@Jackie :

but it's not baD, it's baS (the s is the first letter of SKA).

Still so confused! Rex, help!

Joe Dipinto 6:17 PM  

@pabloinnh & @clayplay -- the Pachelbel Canon is definitely a snoozefest. Didn't it figure prominently in some movie -- maybe "The Deer Hunter", or something from that era?

Anyway, I enjoyed this immensely, nocturne noctwithstanding. Once I had BARBER OF SEVILLE and ROWE in place I grokked the gimmick and went around the grid filling in the other "composers" and their pieces. And NOCTURNE wasn't really so bad. Especially when you consider that there was a clue/answer from *that movie* in the grid (which will always be the worst thing about any puzzle, imo).

A Stephen Sondheim lyric from a show that has the same title as a piece by MOATS ART:

The sun won't set
It's fruitless to hope or to fret
It's dark as it's going to get
The hands on the clock turn
But don't sing a nocturne
Just yet

David in CA 6:46 PM  

OH hurray - the aliens returned Rex to us. Pretty much every criticism he has was a source of fun for me (and obviously lots of others here to). I guessed QUILL from the UI and was happy it was right. The puns were wonderful groaners as puns should be. I too had teh cBALL DNF, so that corner was less than satisfactory, but that was it.

It seems that the people like Rex to whom speed-solving is the be-all end-all just don't get that a large number of solvers don't mind things that slow one down, like clever cross-references in this puzzle.

@amelia from yesterday - As I and others said, we did get yesterday's puzzle's theme. Why did you continue to go on saying that is impossible? Do you think Rex was the only person capable of getting it? Boggles the mind.
@LMS : Did I get the apostrophes right there? Sure doesn't look like it.

Two Ponies 6:49 PM  

@ Z, Thanks for the link to Pachebel Rant. That is one of the funniest things I've seen in ages.

Joe Dipinto 7:08 PM  

@Anonymous 5:49 - the definition Jackie posted is of a bas-relief (probably an autocorrect mishap changed it to "bad"). You can look it up.

@Z early this morning re yesterday -- yes I know some people didn't see the theme, that's why I said "pretty much everyone", but @Amelia was insisting that *no one* saw it.

rosebud 7:50 PM  

Just imagine all the YouTube hits today for these glorious classics...

Aketi 8:46 PM  

@conrad, great link. Now I will never forget PACK ELLE BELL and CANON IN D

Z 11:15 PM  

@Joe DiPinto - Maybe I could have been clearer. @Amelia seemed to be saying no one looked, I looked and failed. And it is @Amelia who seems to not have read the comments.

mmorgan 11:23 PM  

This one came to me late: SHOW+STOW+COVE+ITCH.

David 2:06 AM  

I found this super easy. All the referenced works are not only famous, they're super famous. Pachelbel's Canon is a special hell for every 'cellist on Earth, playing the same 8 notes 52 times in a row. It's played at every wedding. Whether we're playing it or just being subjected to it we cringe and run away. And "bate" means to blunt or to lower, among other things.

Arhoolie 11:47 AM  

This is one of my favorite puzzles of recent days, so sad to see it panned. Maybe it's because I just use the keyboard exclusively, tabbing through the clues in order; it's only on the 2nd pass through the clues that the theme starts to come together, and I really enjoyed the puns, even though they came together after the fact. If it was harder, I may have gotten grumpy, but it felt like a fresh and joyful breeze ran through this one compared to the other stuff we've been getting recently..

Anonymous 11:11 PM  

poop farts

MaharajaMack 11:42 PM  


thefogman 7:58 AM  

Rossini, Pachelbel, Chopin and Beethoven.
Four great composers. And what are they doing now?

It pains me to pan this puzzle but here goes...
23D should be replaced by: French bread (PAIN) as the N in Chopin is silent.
Other than that minor imperfection, it was clever and fun to solve. Certainly not one to be POOH POOHed.
Bonus. I had a good chuckle at 23A: What makes ale pale? (PEE)
Nicely done Keiran King!

thefogman 8:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
spacecraft 10:15 AM  

Only two thoughts about the clues: 1) 23-across: God, I hope not! 2) 29-down: IAGO? That's really the name of Aladdin's parrot? Wait, Aladdin had a parrot? So, the whole Arabian Nights thing predates Shakespeare--you're saying the Bard actually STOLE something?

I misremembered Mike as Lowe instead of ROWE, so for a while 15-across was inscrutable: BARBEL of something? But as I continued solving--and thanks be to the constructor/editor that the clues were mostly easy--BARBEROFSEVILLE soon became obvious. That made Mike be ROWE, as he was born (KNEE?) to be, and since I knew Rossini did the B. of S., the jig was pretty much ARISEN early on.

Except for that slight glitch, I found this easy, and very clever to pull off. The "11 deaths" didn't bother me in the least. Working downs took care of the themers, and I just went back at the end to check out all the "so-to-say"s.

A puzzle with plenty of ZIP, and despite the considerable density, not much crapola. DOD is, of course, ELLE McPherson. Birdie.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Enjoyed it. Being weak on classical music, figuring out composers and works was pleasant challenge.
Could have been "What pale ale makes."

Burma Shave 10:38 AM  


At the bishop’ KNEEs he SURVEILs what’s ARISEN,
and for his LIFE, the VICAR’s HOLY QUEST can’t wait –
he’ll ACTALONE on his NOCTURNE mission,
and THANKS to MOONLIGHT, watch his master BATE.


Diana,LIW 12:46 PM  

We're making beautiful music together today. Unlike yesterday, when Mr. W. was treated like a Macy's T-day balloon, pumped full of gas, and then required, post-"col", to "let 'er rip" like a human-sized, live kazoo. Sounded beautiful only 'cause it so eased his pain.

today - we dine

and today - puzzle wasn't so hard. High School Band and Orchestra once again came in handy for musical knowledge - thanks again, Mr. Forte. (Yes, the band director's real name.) Only hard part of the puzzle for me, as usual, was anything TV oriented - right, I should know the channels. And game show hosts. (Was it a game show? Other?)

Scampi linguini - here we come.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting with the Kazoo Orchestra

rondo 12:58 PM  

No wonder I don’t like pale ale. Got a big chuckle there. Kinda had a big open space in the middle so the first one I got was BATE-HOE-VENN. “Har”, I says. The funny business actually helped me get CANONID.

I see someone beat me to MOATS-ART, but couldn’t we get some Water Music from HIDE-INN? Not classical but what about Paul MACK-ART-KNEE? There must be hundreds of possibilities.

Sure I smoked, but I didn’t INHALE. Love hearing that one.

At the height (6’-1”, har) of her career, yeah baby ELLE MacPherson was simply known as “The Body” in modeling CIRCles.

Fun concept. THANKS Mr. King

leftcoastTAM 2:19 PM  

Nice theme and execution, but very easy, maybe too easy.

BOBA unknown but forced by crosses. Wasn't sure of the T in TBALL and its crossing with TBS, but knew that Conan's show is not on one of the major late-night networks.

As for the Little League's "lowest level", what could be lower than T-BALL?

Looking for more challenge tomorrow.

rainforest 3:00 PM  

I have trouble understanding why anyone would NOT like this puzzle. Kind of raises the bar for Wednesday methinks.

BARBER OF SEVILLE gave the game up early. of course, but not if you thought it was by Verdi, like I did. Yes, I followed the cross-references while solving because (a) I don't time myself, and (b) I like to get into the "spirit" of the puzzle.

No problem with BATE or QUILL, but I had a misadventure at 58A where I initially had "rte". Soon, I saw that 50D was SH_T for something that "must go on". Well, "SH_T happens" is a common expression, and we already had PEE, I thought, but luckily LAOS saved the day, and HWY was obvious, as was SHOW. Phew.

Really enjoyed the whole process today.

strayling 7:21 PM  

Or even, "What ale makes pale".

rondo 8:36 PM  

good one

thefogman 10:57 PM  

I.P.A. = I Pee After

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