March 2009

Here is an attempt at something new – a cryptic crossword puzzle where the questions and answers are Carnatic music related. This would be mostly on word-play and all you may need is awareness of various Carnatic music related words (names, persons, terms, places, titles of popular songs etc.). You don’t necessarily need to have anything more than peripheral knowledge of these words. Actually, perhaps more importantly, awareness of how they can be spelt in transliterated format (which allows me some extra freedom in constructing cryptic clues 🙂 ) would be needed. Please check this page out for general hints and guidelines that may help you in tackling the questions.  I would like to give an heads up that you may have to rack your brains a bit for at least few of the clues 🙂 ! But I do hope that it keeps you engaged!

Actually, I have tried this in the form of word quiz long ago on the popular, but now defunct music forum. Many people found it interesting and engaging. A couple of my “quizzes” were even posted at Carnatica‘s website (and they are there even now). Even at that time, I had always wanted it to be a crossword puzzle but did not know how to do it. But now, here it is.   There are many software (standalone and web based) that allows for automatic generation of the puzzle. I used Crossword Forge. I do admit that the crossword grid below is not exactly the best looking one – but it was a peace of cake to create.  I simply typed in the clues and the answers and the software “automatically” generates the puzzle.  So at least for the first attempt, this should suffice!

Note: You can click on the puzzle image to view it in a separate page. You can then print that page and work on the puzzle.

Correction: The # of letters in the answer 5 Down should be 6 (i.e. as indicated in the the crossword grid) and not (7) as indicated in the clue. Thanks to Pradeep for pointing this out!

Carnatic Cryptic Crossword #

Again, please check this page out for general hints and guidelines that may help you in tackling the question. I will post the answers in a week or so. You can post your answers in the comment section below if you want (which also means you don’t want to look at the comment section prematurely!)

Update: See the solution here

In this blog entry, I write about something that is somewhat well known in carnatic music circles – although one would claim with various levels of knowledge and some confusion. It is about a raga called AbhEri (ābhēri), in particular with respect to the famous song nagumOmu ganalEni (nagumōmu ganalēni) by Thyagaraja.

Warning: This is long and technical, but I do try to spice it up with audio, and audio-visuals. At the least, you get to heard some wondeful music, and also a very rare recording.

Here is what you may get out of it:

  • If you believed that AbhEri as you hear today is just like any other run of the mill raga, or that nagumOmu ganalEni as you hear today is a fantastic tune that pretty much is how tyAgarAja must have composed, then you would change your view after this.
  • If you believed that AbhEri as you heard today is the “real” AbhEri, you would change your view.
  • If you believe that the raga of vINAbhEri (vīṇābhēri) by Diksitar is the raga in which nagumOmu was originally composed in, well you may change your view on that as well.
  • If you hear someone say “AbhEri with D1″ or “I love AbhEri, I mean the original one, the one with D1″ – then after reading this, you may ask “That is ambiguos. Which AbhEri do you exactly mean?”

Interested? Read on …


I am back. Can’t explain the reason for the hiatus – except of course the old demon laziness. In the big gap since the last post, I went to Chennai, enjoyed the music season, and company of family; came back to a nasty US Midwest winter; a continuing tumultuous economy; an opportunity to learn several wonderful songs.

But I am not going to blog on all that. Instead, I am going to subject the readers (whoever that still remain) to the outcome of yet another mad experiment. This one was sort of painful to carry out.  I could  see that it does not take long to reach the  limits of my “creative” talents  🙂

As before, try to guess the raga that served as the inspiration for the melody of this song.  The first one who gets it right gets a huge cheer from me, because that means that I didn’t mangle it to oblivion! But be forewarned, that this can be viewed a very derivative work of the melodic contour of the raga. Some serious CM enthusiasts may gasp at the blasphemy here – just for the choice of the raga 😉 !

If anyone is interested in the chords used, please let me know. You can play detective work on the title too, but if you can, please do so after you listen to it first please!

PS: Sorry for a lamo post after a while. I promise to post something more substantive in the carnatic arena in a little bit