Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017, Olivia Mitra Framke


Ella Fitzgerald was a huge part of my musical upbringing, thanks to at least one older brother with an ear for vocalists. I was born more than 30 years after her debut performance, but the music she recorded on the Verve label (which was built around her) is as timeless as any I know. Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, Jerome Kern... the Great American Songbook. How can you go wrong? And the first album she recorded with LOUISARMSTRONG ("Ella and Louis," 1956) is quite possibly my favorite album. Period.

Ella, Louis, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, Buddy Rich... each one at the top of their game.

So you know where I stand on the subject. How did I feel about the puzzle? Well, I thought the theme was well done. I don't usually love a "connect-the-dots" feature, but the crown that appears when you follow the letters spelling out "queen of jazz" is symmetrical and attractive, and perfectly sits atop the central "LADY ELLA." And the four symmetrical long theme answers are all good. So thumbs up there.

The fill hits a few sour notes, as it were. I winced at ACETAL (96D: Perfumer's liquid), ENNUIS is an unfortunate plural, MISSEND (3D: Accidentally hit "reply all" on, say) is awkward, and the ISH/TUN/DESOTO/JAIME line isn't one to write home about, but the clue for ZINC (73D: Portion of a penny) was tricky, and OTOOLE (43D: Good name for an Irish carpenter?) was amusing. ... OK, so there wasn't a SACKFUL of bonus fill, but let's cut to another song, shall we?

See you tomorrow!

- Horace

p.s. Congratulations, Ms. Framke, on your debut!


  1. 23:11
    I also enjoyed the theme. I liked that I needed the nudge from the QUEEN OF JAZZ meta to get a few letters figured out in the tricky crossers.

    In particular, there were three tough crosses I was stuck on:

    That latter one I just had to take a guess at.

    Just as I was finishing the puzzle, my Spotify playlist started "West End Blues" which put a nice wrapper on it.

  2. Excellent Ella. Always worth listening to. I enjoyed the few extra musical bits as well, including MOTETS, ARIOSI, and FFF. I agree there were a few more than usual bits of UGLIness in the fill, and on the whole the puzzle played very fast for me.

  3. Untimed (on paper), but around 30:00, no slowdowns.
    I, too, liked the music-themed answers, the theme itself, and most of the fill. LUST and the Kama SUTRA were surprising, CABERNET is always nice, as is the AMALFI Coast and a shout out to SALLYS down there in the SE. It took a few crosses to get GORILLA.

    1. I almost mentioned SALLYS, because, of course, of mine and Frannie's mothers. :)

    2. Of course! And my grandmother (Babci). Although she was technically Salomea (if I've spelled that correctly), she always went by Sally.

  4. Hey there Horace, thanks for the review!!

    @Mike, I'm glad the circle phrase helped you get some of the trickier/dumber entries (I'm lookin' at you, Q of ET SEQ and Z of ZLOTY/ZTILES) as that was my hope... kind of like those letters had 3 crossers!

    Oh, and my original clue for SCALE was also musical ;) shame that was changed.