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(Photo credit: Point21Gigawatts)

Today’s a 70-word themeless, and I’m throwing some super-spicy clues at you. Just to let you know: I have almost no familiarity at all with 25-Across, but as part of being the random lucky winner of my “In the Name of the Father” contest, Jeffrey Harris picked it to be a Devil Cross answer. So if it’s a tough get, don’t blame me, blame him! All I did was agree to it and build the entire crossword from that entry. I mean, I obviously bear no responsibility in this situation whatsoever.

Other crossword news: Lollapuzzoola 8 is coming in two weeks! And yes, I will be there. So should you.

Non-crossword news: you see that picture above? On Thursday night I got to take participate in what was seriously the most epic choral concert ever. The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performed the live soundtrack of “The Fellowship of the Ring” — or as I call it, the Lord of the Sings. The audience went nuts at just about every opportunity: when the heroes battled orcs, when the late great Christopher Lee made his first appearance, when the adult and boy sopranos nailed their solos, and even when the orchestra played a simple, 10-second reprise of the main theme at the very beginning of the second act. There was even a costume contest where the winner would get a golden ring from Steven Singer Jewelers (this Gandalf won it). Aside from the awesomeness that was singing (okay, shouting) a Dwarvish war chant, my favorite moment had to have been when the audience erupted into simultaneous laughter and applause when Sean Bean uttered his now famous “One does not simply walk into Mordor” line. I doff my cap to you, Philadelphia meme generators.

I actually saw this same concert four years ago at the Ravinia Festival near Chicago, and I remember having a great time then too — but I don’t recall the audience being nearly as enthusiastic as this one. It helps that the “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack is already cool to begin with; I can’t imagine I’d have had gotten nearly the same joy from performing the live soundtrack to, say, “Batman Forever” ….. alright, maybe I would have, if the audience booed as often as they cheered on Thursday. But the whole experience made it clear to me that the live music had a special way of connecting the audience to the story. It’s one of the reasons I dig that choir big-time. Here’s hoping we do that show again next year.

Anyway, fun stuff. Enjoy today’s puzzle — there will be a new one on August 1.