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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.