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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Difficulty: Somewhere between yacht rock and pop punk
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!
Difficulty: “All difficulties are easy when they are known” (W. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure)
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.
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.
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.
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.