Musical Play

New York Times, Sept. 19

When I was 12, nearly every adult in my life told me I would regret quitting piano lessons. I quit anyway; I was miserable at the keyboard, and stubborn to boot. Can’t say I have any regrets — I’m much more comfortable at this keyboard — though I did find myself red-faced at a “Nutcracker” performance when I recognized the music only as being from a Toyota commercial.

Luckily, today’s puzzle did not require me to name any classical tunes, only composers. The theme answers are common phrases made punny by inserting a composer’s name: “‘Carmen'” composer-turned-dam builder?” is BIZET AS A BEAVER (22 Across); “Embrace more than just a family of Baroque composers?” is THINK OUTSIDE THE BACHS (29 Across); “Romantic overindulgence in nocturnes and mazurkas?” is a CHOPIN SPREE (39 Across); “Singing a ‘Messiah’ piece too quickly?” is FLYING OFF THE HANDEL (55 Across); “Countrywide music celebration in Hungary?” is a NATIONAL LISZT PARTY (66 Across); “Part of a children’s game with the Father of the Symphony?” is HAYDN GO SEEK; “Grand nuptials whose only music was ‘Peer Gynt’?” is MY BIG FAT GRIEG WEDDING; and “Try to capture the Waltz King” is GRASP AT STRAUSS.

Ewwwwwwww Dept.: “It’s often carried around a gym” — ODOR (91 Down).

One-Hit Wonder Dept.: I would have bet money that “Who Let the Dogs Out?” was the one and only hit by BAHA (20 Across) Men. According to the clue, they apparently also do a song called “Move It Like This.”

Very Clever Puns Dept.: “How current events may happen?” (29 Down) is TIDALLY; “It helps you change the locks” (30 Down) is HAIR DYE.

Let’s Hope Not Dept.: “Mad person?” (54 Down) is EDITOR, which I hope refers to Mad Magazine and not my boss.

Not Just Any Queen Dept.: “Ohio city named for a queen” (81 Across) is MARIETTA. I’ve never heard of a Queen Marietta, so I looked it up … and turns out it was named for Marie Antoinette.

Questions or comments? Tweet me @crosswordkathy.

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