Categories
Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 6

Words:  16

Average Length:  5.5

Difficulty:  A gentle May breeze with one or two gusts

The seed for this one was 13 Across – to me, one of the greatest songs ever written.  It’s a Leonard Cohen classic, and it was covered (gorgeously of course) by Judy Collins.  You can listen to his version here, and hers here.

Check back on Sunday for a special Mothers’ Day Puzzle.

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 5

Words:  18

Average Length:  5

Difficulty:  Like Chick Corea’s Children’s Song #1

Don’t know the reference?  It’s a deceptively simple, hypnotic tune with an intriguing melody line and some tricky rhythms.  You can listen to it here.

After last week’s tribute to Coltrane’s Giant Steps, this grid leans classical.  Nothing is too obscure, however, except maybe 1 Across, which is why it has such a tortured clue.

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themed

Don’t Wine, They’re Only Puns

Words:  96 (17×17, a generous pour)

Average Length:  5.06

Difficulty:  Quite drinkable, though it may leave a punny aftertaste

Turns out I can enjoy wine even without doing very well in identifying different types

If, as Robert Louis Stevenson said, “wine is bottled poetry,” get ready for a big ol’ bucketful of doggerel.  Enjoy it in moderation or even to excess – just enjoy it!

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Midi Themed

Musical Midi: Naima That Tune

Words:  34 (8×14)

Average Length:  4.94

Difficulty:  If you know a bit about jazz, it’s like soloing on All Blues.  If not, it’s like soloing on the tune spelled out by the circled letters.

A further hint to the album in question. This is a famous spot in Northern Ireland

I played in a jazz trio for years, and even though I mostly listen to rock these days, I still put on a jazz classic every so often.  Last week I listened to the album that’s the subject of this puzzle for the first time in ages.  I’d forgotten how amazing and revolutionary it is.

I’d also forgotten how difficult the title track on the album is to play, let alone blow a coherent solo over.  I managed that feat once in my life:  one year in college, the great Mary Lou Williams was an artist-in-residence.  After our jazz band rehearsals, she’d hang around and play piano while some of us would take a crack at improving our improvisation.  (I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t realize at the time what a precious and rare opportunity this was.)

One night, she had us play and solo over the song in question.  I don’t remember how she did it, but she managed to get me out of my head (where I was frantically trying to anticipate the chord changes) and into the flow of the music.  It hasn’t happened again.

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themed

Middle Age(s) Humor

Words:  74

Average Length:  4.89

Difficulty:  Easier than being a serf, for sure

Vaguely medieval-looking scene along the Rhine in Germany

My puzzle blog just turned one year old!  Over the past 12 months I’ve posted 71 puzzles:  28 themeless, 34 themed, 3 “set list” puzzles, 3 “mostly musical minis,” 2 “goofy themeless,” and 1 Amy Schneider tribute midi.  People from 40 countries have downloaded puzzles.  Most importantly, I’ve had a blast constructing, and I hope you’ve enjoyed solving.

Today’s puzzle, miraculously, has no terrible musical puns.  Instead, it has terrible historical puns.  I’m that flexible!

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Mostly Musical Mini

Mostly Musical Mini 2

Words:  18 (7×7)

Average Length:  5.00

Difficulty:  Für Elise-like

Max hiding in front of our piano

I’m not sure whether these will become a regular mid-week addition, but here’s the second in a possibly extended series of musical minis.  This one is considerably easier than the one last week and features cameos from Ravel, two Bachs, the Andrews Sisters, Katy Perry, and the Grateful Dead, among others.

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themed

Musicians’ Side Hustles

Words:  74 (17×13)

Average Length:  4.95

Difficulty:  Somewhere between yacht rock and pop punk

Another Antarctica picture: crabeater seal with our non-yacht ship in the background

Surely, you thought (hoped), Jeff has run out of musical puns.  Um, no. This one bears some thematic resemblance to Rock of Aging (available here), but is less focused on decrepitude and more on just plain brand extension. Enjoy, share, and come back next Sunday!

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themed

Beware! The Ides March

Words:  78

Average:  4.78

Difficulty:  “All difficulties are easy when they are known”  (W. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure)

A bunch of 40 Across, out the window of a plane en route from Malta to Gatwick

Yesterday was 62 and sunny; now it’s 26 and snowing.  Such is mid-March in the DC area.  Mid-March on JeffsPuzzles features a climate-independent, Ides-themed puzzle, so lend me your ears, or at least your pencils/pens/phones/laptops/whatever, and let the Ides march.

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themed

The Low Road

Words:  73

Average Length:  4.88

Difficulty:  Not quite treacherous enough for the Ninth Circle

Sund, Norway, July 2017. Not Charon’s boat and not the Styx, but bleak nonetheless.

Somehow a underworld-themed puzzle seems particularly apt these days.

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themed

A Profusion of Penguins

Words: 78

Average Length: 4.79

Difficulty: For those with naturally gray/silver/white/nonexistent hair, like sliding down a snowy hill. For those without such badges of maturity, like trying to escape a leopard seal.

Adelie Penguin, Pleneau Island, Antarctica

Having just returned from Antarctica, I am compelled to post a penguin-related puzzle. This one definitely and unapologetically skews (Skuas?) old, but I come by that naturally. Antarctica was spectacular, at least until I and around 30 other passengers and crew on our expedition ship tested positive for COVID and spent a week quarantined in remotest Tierra Del Fuego. I’m happy to say I’m now home and healthy.

puz | pdf | solution

Apologies for the technical glitch with last Sunday’s puzzle (“Cupid Is As Cupid Does”) – there was only the most tenuous Internet service in the Drake Passage, and apparently the Dropbox links didn’t copy, which is why I reposted it from dry land on Tuesday.