Thursday, September 10, 2020

Thursday, September 10, 2020, David J. Kahn

0:08:50 (F.W.W.S.H.B.A.E.) (Finished with what should have been an error)

Well, Dear Reader, I looked at Wikipedia for a while after finishing this, examining the dates of creation and first performance, but it seems like our little string of calendar-related puzzles has come to an end. The closest we can get is that BEETHOVEN's opus 86, the "Mass in C Major," was first performed on September 13, 1807. But this is not a Sunday puzzle, the grid does not actually contain any reference to that work, and 93rd anniversaries are not particularly celebration-worthy - three good reasons, I feel, for not waiting a few days to run it. 

Trimming FAT

Anywho, what we do have is Beethoven's three "named" SYMPHONIC works hidden in circles within longer entries, bracketed symmetrically by the beginning notes of his fifth symphony - GGG[EFLAT] and FFFD. I guessed "E" for the end of that first run, and although I do remember thinking that something was odd about 4D, I never went back to investigate it further before filling in every other square, at which point the proper half-step was added. I suppose it was nice of them to give it to me, but I also think that E is not E-Flat, and that the Fifth would not be the Fifth without that extra half step down.

I thought SPANISHTUTORIAL was a bit ad hoc, but needs must, I suppose. PUERTORICAN and SCHOOLRALLY were fine.

In the fill, I appreciated the little thing - "It's next to nada" (UNO), "It's next to nothing" (ONE), and the thematic tie-in "64-Down, to 62-Across" (EIN). BUNKERHILL (Historic Boston locale) was fun for this near-Bostonian, but I never like being reminded of ERASERHEAD. Sheesh!

I do, on the other hand, like being reminded of SASHAYing around to various BISTROS, but I thought there might have been a bit too much SEEDERS, PASSER, UNPILE, SLUE, LAM, XED, and ILIA for this to be the kind of truly outstanding tribute puzzle that the great composer deserves. 

- Horace


  1. Like your "trimming the FAT" image...and I liked this puzzle. Beethoven was born 350 years ago this year. Like you, I liked the Boston shout-out with BUNKER HILL, and the Motown (my hometown) shout-out in PISTONS. 'Course now I've got an earworm with the opening notes of the Fifth! :-)

  2. 5:11 - and I too fell into the same trap you did. I did not put the flat in, which is embarrassing for this music major! How I prided myself on knowing all the symphonic names, which gave a major step up (not musically) in finishing the puzzle. But pride goeth and all that.

  3. 20:49
    Like Horace and Colum before me, I only entered GGGE without bothering to check its veracity, but I got the happy pencil, so I figured it was OK, even though I didn't understand how DEED could work at 4D. I'll make a couple of notes on the above comments, though: 1) the Mass premiered 213 years ago, not 93, and 2) Beethoven was born 250 years ago this year, not 350. And like Colum, once I read the clue for PUERTORICAN, I immediately filled in all circles in that (and subsequently 39A and 48A). That helped a great deal with the puzzle, but my time was still over 20 minutes. Not BAD, but not that great. Mmmm...RYES.

  4. I too had DEED, didn't understand how that could be right, and well didn't really think about what key the fifth is in or anything like that. My aural skills were good enough to hum the tune and, after wrongly saying its a fourth the first time, then correct to third. But they weren't good enough to get into minor third versus major third.

    So "Finished with what should have been an error" for me too.