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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 25

Words: 19

Average Length:  4.63

Lots of blues in today’s MMM, including a featured cross between a legendary blues guitar player/singer and a legendary blues singer, with some Southern rock blues, country blues, and blue-eyed soul added for good measure.

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 24

Words: 20

Average Length: 5.13

This week’s MMM may be a bit more challenging than usual.  I worked in a French composer many of you probably haven’t heard of, who wrote what I think is the most beautiful flute sonata of the 20th century.  In addition, I was forced into 6 Down, who’s a not-very-well-known rapper and thus gets a perhaps less-than-helpful alternative clue after the music-related one.

Here’s a link to the flute sonata, which is filled with sinuous, gorgeous lines and delightfully dissonant harmonies.

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 23

Words:  20

Average Length:  5.20

Some pop, metal, a Broadway show, reggae, Latin dance, and a religious instrument for your listening/solving pleasure.  Please enjoy!

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 22

Words:  24

Average Length:  4.67

White Rabbit (see clue for 8 Across) is perhaps the best psychedelic rock song ever.  Using imagery from Alice in Wonderland and a structure reminiscent of Ravel’s Bolero – including a mesmerizing drum part and a slow, steady crescendo – the song captures the spirit of late ‘60s San Francisco in a bit more than two minutes.  Here’s a link.

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 21

Words:  20

Average Length:  5.10

Two listening notes:  First, “The Weight” (clue for 1 Across).  I’m partial to songs that are filled with allusions and weird characters and seem like they mean something, even if that meaning is not apparent.  That’s why I’m a wholly commited Dylan fan; I know his songs express profound truths, even if I’m not sure what they are.  “The Weight” grabs me from the first line:  Nazareth and the terrific lyrical conceit of “feeling ‘bout half ___ dead.”  The original version by The Band remains my favorite – Robbie Robertson is a certified songwriting genius and Levon Helm and Richard Manuel are soulful singers – but some of the covers are terrific as well, including those by Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, and Weezer.

Second, “The Letter,” by 5 Across.  This is one of the best bubblegum pop songs ever. It rocks hard and hammers the imperative to “get back to my baby once more.”  Plus, it’s yet another song with a brilliant, bluesy Joe Cocker cover.

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I’M HAVING ISSUES UPLOADING AN ONLINE VERSION – IF I CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT’S WRONG I’LL AMEND THIS POST TO INCLUDE AN ONLINE LINK.

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 20

Words:  24

Average Length:  4.83

Despite my cluing it as an elementary school instrument, there is some wonderful classical music composed for 15 Across.  Here’s a link to Vivaldi’s [15 Across] Concerto in C (RV 443).  The first movement (Allegro) is full of virtuosic fireworks, the second movement (Largo) is hauntingly beautiful, and the third movement (Allegro Molto) is even more technically impressive than the first.  I hope you enjoy both the puzzle and the music!

Technical note: due to an oversight and laziness on my part, when you solve the puzzle online, print it, or open it in AcrossLite, the title will say 19, not 20. I promise it’s a brand-new puzzle.

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 19

Words:  24

Average Length:  4.67

By chance, this grid includes answers/clues related to two shows that, to virtually the entire Earth, are the height of musical theatre – but, to me, are fatally ill-conceived.  The first, 8 Across, has terrific music but an outrageous plot.  The second, Rent (see clue for 3 Down), has even better music but struck me as whiny.  Having said that, (1) Jonathan Larson was a genius, and his early death was tragic, and (2) I’ve never seen 3 Down, so it may be the whininess carries through from the original.

I will take every opportunity to mention The [16 Down] Empire in my puzzles.  They were (until their breakup in April 2022) a group of stellar Australian musicians who wrote infectious songs and played an exhilarating mix of rock, jazz, Latin, reggae, music hall, and any other musical genre you can think of.  If you don’t know them, start with their second album, “Two Shoes,“ which is in my top 5 most-played of all time.  You’re welcome.

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 18

Words:  16

Average Length:  5.00

I hope you enjoy this week’s MMM.  Starting with today’s grid, I plan to write a few totally subjective sentences about one or two entries in each MMM.  Here goes:

8 Across (ranked by Rolling Stone as the 243rd greatest song ever) is the most radical track on Revolver, which at the time was the most radical album in pop music history (and is Rolling Stone’s 11th greatest album ever).  It’s a bleak, beautiful song with a propulsive melody and wistful lyrics (mostly by Paul) and a terrific, jagged George Martin string arrangement. 

Revolver is my favorite Beatles album (Rubber Soul is second), but 8 Across is only my fourth favorite song on the album.  I generally prefer John’s songs to Paul’s, and two of his tunes on Revolver – She Said She Said and I’m Only Sleeping – take first and second.  Paul’s masterpiece, Here There and Everywhere, ranks third for me. 

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 17

Words:  19

Average Length:  4.63

Difficulty:  Medium-ish

This one has a bit more music theory than usual, but there should be enough gimmes to let any musical neophytes solve without too much resistance.  Enjoy!

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Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 16

Words: 18

Average Length: 5.00

Difficulty: Mezzo Forte

Well You Needn’t be concerned.  Even if you don’t solve this til Round Midnight, it’s Straight, No Chaser.  If you know all these tunes, 9 Across will drop right into the grid.  If you don’t, check them out!

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