Jan 12, 2009

Notes from Constructor John Underwood

Opera has always been one of my passions, ever since my sophomore year at UNC when I took an opera appreciation course. Then living in New York at various times gave me the opportunity to see so many of the great singers at the Met: Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Pavorotti, Domingo, Tebaldi, Price - though I never saw Callas, just missed her! It truly was a golden age of singing. So I was delighted to see that the OPERA was published today.

Thankfully the editor wasn't so ruthless with his changes this time, except I have to agree with one of your readers who said the theme clues were bland. I didn't like just clueing them according to the composer. Here are my original definitions:

10A: LULU: Streetwalker is murdered by Jack the Ripper (Alban Berg)

20A: FAUST: Scholar makes pact with the devil (Gounod)

25A: CARMEN: Gypsy is stabbed by rejected lover (Bizet)

41A: MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Japanese girl marries US Navy officer (Puccini)

63A: NORMA: Druid priestess loves Roman solder (Bellini)

71A: AIDA: Ethiopian slave betrays Egyptian lover (Verdi)

Though perhaps a little awkward and probably too long.

Also, for 52D OPERA, I had: Subject of this puzzle.

John Underwood


C.C. Burnikel said...

Dennis et al,
I really like Underwood's original clues, esp FAUST, so lively and colorful. Theoretically, Williams made a mistake, as OPERA should not be part of the clue if it's an answer in the grid.

John Underwood,
Thank you so much for allowing me to publish your notes. I hope others can have a glimpse of your creative mind.

WM said...

Mr. Underwood,
Thank you for the insight into your thought process. Your original clues were ever so much better and much more descriptive. Their use would have made a creative puzzle even better. I had a very good time with this today.

C.C. Thank you very much for this.

Anonymous said...

As a classical music lover acquainted with some operas (nowhere near your knowledge) I very much enjoyed this puzzle. When stuck, I referred to our copy of The Penguin Guide. Am in agreement that your original cluing was more fun and entertaining. Who says crossword clues must be short and cryptic?! Am jealous of your concert history, as I've only heard most of those artists on recordings. Thanks for posting your thoughts.

lois said...

Thank you Mr. Underwood for sharing. Your clues are so much more interesting and informative. It's a shame they had to be changed, but it was still a well done, fun puzzle with a great theme. Like anon 1:18, I envy you and your experiences. Thanks again for joining us. I hope we hear from you again sometime.

NYTAnonimo said...

An education-thank you!


Clear Ayes said...

How thoughtful of John Underwood to take the time to post his original clues. Anyone who thinks opera is boring would have second thoughts after reading his clues! It's too bad the editor doesn''t seem to be much of an opera fan. I hope we see another Underwood puzzle soon.

g8rmomx2 said...

Hi c.c. and all:

Mr. Underwood: Thanks for sharing with us and for your original and creative clues. Very innovative!