Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Key Notes: Cactus Cuties

Poor Francis Scott Key . . . he's rarely called on as a clue for KEY.  You'd think that writing the The Star-Spangled Banner would get you into the crossword from time to time.

What is he -- chopped liver?  No. Just a guy with a short surname that has many cluing angles. Skeleton, car, house, major, minor, escape, delete, shift, spare . . . for starters. Nothing personal; just business.

It's kind of ironic that, in American crosswords, British composer Thomas ARNE gets recurring ink for "Rule, Britannia" and his opera "Artaxerxes."  Wha?  Yeah, "Artaxerxes."

Poor Francis Scott Key.  He gets no crossword respect and he has to listen to singers mangle his anthem.

The Star-Spangled Banner is a tough piece, but some singers have performed it beautifully -- like Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and . . .

. . . the Cactus Cuties.

In this rendition of the nation anthem, I was struck by the absence of sound. Every note is not embellished.  Their singing isn't American Idol-ized.  No double-wide vibratos. Nothing . . . except lovely phrasing, good pitch and the notes. I love it.

Kids, these days!  This'll make Francis Scott Key smile.

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