“High Notes”

by Jessie Bullock & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3.5/5

No crossworld updates or cruciverbal musings this week! I’ve got a couple of new puzzle projects coming down the pike that I’m looking forward to sharing with everyone, so watch this space. But today? Just more hot fresh puzz. If you’re liking what you see around Rosswords, which turned 3 years old this week (!!!) or if you’ve got puzzle/user feedback, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below.

My thanks to Mike, Brandon, Ross, and Gaby for test solving this week’s puzzle! A few thoughts and spoilers on “High Notes” below.

it’s good to be the king

As I recall, Jessie did almost all of the fill on this puzzle, and I really like how it came out, especially considering the grid is pretty theme dense. There were a bunch of longer non-proper nouns that happened to lend themselves to some fun word play options (LOVE NOTES, MAIN SAIL GROCER), and for that I salute my collaborator in chief!

Okay, so, it’s a trivia puzzle. But this stuff is rich, if you ask me. I had a grand old time reading up on Honorific Nicknames in Pop Music to build out this theme set. I was not familiar with KING OF CALYPSO as a “title” for Mssr. Belafonte, and of course solvers of a certain age will presumably launch of war of succession on behalf of Justin Timberlake as the One True PRINCE OF POP.

Of course, part of the trick here was finding four different Unimpeachably Great artists with four different __ of __ honorifics across four different genres. And, because I went with MUSIC ROYALTIES as a revealer, I had to pass on answers like “Godmother/Godfather of Soul” (Erykah Badu/James Brown) which used titles that weren’t “royalty” per se.

Happy solving, friends!


9 thoughts on ““High Notes”

  1. Good morning and thanks for another lovely Sunday diversion. My favorite clues were 29A and 59A, very clever. As a technical matter re 46A, according to my venture capitalist wife would say that angel investors aren’t really VCs – VCs are people whose job is to evaluate start-up investments, whereas angels are rich guys/gals who put their money into new companies as more of a hobby or side-hustle. But whatever, no reason to dance the angel on that pinhead. I was all set to make a similarly trivial point about 20A OVAL, because I always thought that an oval meant egg-shaped, with only one axis of symmetry, whereas ellipse is the word for biaxially-symmetric things like a zero – but the web informs me that the word oval can include that meaning as well. TIL! In the royalty vein I am sure the Dire Straits would remind you that they are the Sultans of Swing…

    • Welcome back, Rich! I’m always glad to have the rough edges sanded down by The Crowd, and I guess I take a perverse sort of pride in not having previously been privy to the distinction you’ve drawn 🙂 Dipping into the Dire Straits discography now…

  2. I always enjoy your puzzles, Ross and it’s nice to see Jessie as your collaborator. Thanks for the Sunday solve!

  3. Reminds me of Knight-Mare Hare, wherein Bugs Bunny challenges a knight of the realm: “I bet you know a lot of my friends. Ooh! Like, uh, Duke of Ellington, Count of Basie, Earl of Hines, Cab of Calloway, Satchmo of Armstrong.”

  4. I chuckled the most at 9D and 59A. Nice job, Jessie and Ross! Thanks for providing a much needed distraction.

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