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Puzzle #20: Musical Comedy

This puzzle grew out of my love for musical theatre, which is still a big part of my non-puzzle life. It was fun to come up with theme answers, and I tried to balance the male/female ratio, as well as the first/last name ratio. Punning is tricky in crosswords, because it’s easy to make it to seem like you’re just doing an add-a-letter or change a letter theme. MIDLER was the seed, and I have a bunch of leftovers that I’ll hold on to for safekeeping.

The DILEMMAS corner had very few options, which was a minor dilemma. 54A and its ilk are invading puzzles at an alarming rate, and if you can’t beat ’em… I had fun writing the clues for EMPTY, PANIC, and OVEN.

If you’re a fan of musical comedy and you don’t know this song from “Something Rotten,” you are in for a treat. Set in Shakespeare’s day, a soothsayer is telling Nick Bottom what the next big thing in theatre will be.

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