There are two non-thematic clues in this puzzle that I need to address, one of which is personal and one that I sincerely regret. I’ll start with the first. 98A: [Title for the late musician Bramwell Tovey] is MAESTRO. I mentioned Bramwell in this space last month after he passed away on July 12, but since I knew him personally, I wanted to pay him a little tribute in the crossword puzzle. I wrote more about his influence on me as a musician and as a friend which you can read on this Twitter thread here.
The second clue requires an apology. ANNA at 51D is index as [“Six Days Seven Nights” actress Heche]. While the clue is factually correct, it’s a particularly gruesome moment considering Heche’s tragic death on Friday. I had submitted the final draft of the puzzle a week before his car accident, but even though I couldn’t have predicted this would happen when I wrote the puzzle, I’m still sorry for that hint. Crossword puzzles are generally meant to be fun, quiet escapes from life’s troubles and tragedies, and I regret that this clue could have been a stark reminder of one of them, even unintentionally. I had read that the owner of the house that was destroyed in the accident and her pets are alive and physically safe, but the whole situation is very sad.
I hope you enjoy next week’s puzzle, and again, my apologies for the 51D clue. Thanks for reading.