There are two non-theme clues in this puzzle that I need to address, one of which is personal and the other of which is one that I sincerely regret. I’ll start with the former. 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 small homage in the crossword. I wrote more about his influence on me as both a musician and as a friend that you can read at this Twitter thread here.
The second clue requires an apology. ANNE at 51D is clued as [“Six Days Seven Nights” actress Heche]. Although the clue is factually correct, it’s especially horrible timing given Heche’s tragic death on Friday. I had submitted the final draft of the puzzle a week before her car crash, but even though I couldn’t have predicted this would happen when I wrote the puzzle, I am still sorry about that clue. Crosswords are generally supposed to be fun and leisurely escapes from the troubles and tragedies of life, and I regret that this clue may have been a brutal reminder of one of them, even if unintentionally. I had read that the owner of the home that was destroyed in the accident and her pets are alive and physically unharmed, but the whole situation is very sad.
I hope you will enjoy next week’s puzzle, and again, my apologies for the 51D clue. Thanks for reading.