This week's contestants are Peter and Mary-Bess Staffel from Bethany, West Virginia. This is an oddity: although I got both parts, it was touch-and-go that I would. I could tell the composer of the hidden song right away, but it took me a short while to "sing through" the song to get the title, but I did get it. It's well known, but might not be so for everyone. And the composer style was very guessable...but...it came down to two possibilities who overlap a bit. But I guessed right.
Aloha, from the archives. This week's contestant is Steven Buchtal from Honolulu, Hawaii. I think it's gettable. The song is nicely hidden, but well-known and becomes fairly recognizable. The composer style should be clear, because of the piece of music it's based on, though whether people know who wrote it is another matter...
From the archives. This week's contestant is Stacy Fahrion from Denver, Colorado. The hidden song was on the tip of my tongue, and I knew I knew it, but I just couldn't place it. And then I did. Some will likely get it far earlier than I did, because the tip of their is much clearer. As for the composer style, it's one of those styles I just don't know well enough and mix-and-match about four or five different people. So, I didn't get it.
From the archives. This week's contestant is Rainer Klaus of Madison, Alabama. The hidden song is hidden with good humor, but it's eventually guessable. The composer style was one that I thought I came close to, but I was wrong, and probably should have gotten it.
This week's contestant is Lessa Virnya from Syracuse, NY. The composer style came down to two people in my mind...and to my surprise and pleasure, I guessed it correctly. As for the hidden song, it too seemed to be between two songs, as far as I could make things out, and though both the contestant and host Fred Child couldn't get it...huzzah, I was right, again.
This week's contestant is Ray Lancaster from Columbia Hill, South Carolina. I got the hidden song pretty quickly, and then it becomes very clear. The composer style came down to two composers...and I guessed the wrong one. Actually, it turned out to be someone else entirely, though the same country as my guess. If that counts for anything, which it really doesn't.
From the archives, this week's contestant is Alan Fletcher, the president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival. I'm pretty certain that it is from the Piano Puzzler archive, though that didn't make any difference in my playing the game, since I didn't remember the answer. But the hidden song is breezingly easy, and guessable within a few notes. It's also one of the least-hidden songs that I've heard composer Bruce Adolph come up with. Shockingly, the contestant didn't get it. To his credit, he did guess the composer-style. I didn't -- and should have, though my guess was a composer whose style has a great many similarities with the right answer.
Starting off the New Year, this week's contestant is Kevin Shaw from Charlotte, North Carolina. I was pretty sure that I had the hidden song -- but I didn't. There were quite a few passages that overlap, but alas not enough. Which is why I was wrong. And the composer style is one that just isn't in my ballpark -- though my guess was the same as the contestant's, and he was told that he was close. But close or not, I don't think it's one I could likely have done. So, in the end, I was 0-for 2... Which means that with the new year ahead, there's nowhere to go but up!!
I thought I'd add a mid-week Piano Puzzler, since it's holiday time and all. The contestant here is Matthew Johnson from Chattanooga, Tennessee. This Puzzler is a bit of an oddity -- since I got the composer style, but not the song, and it's usually the other way around. And I felt annoyed at that, because it was clear where the hidden song was and sensed I should know it. I did at least guess it when played the second time around, though I'm not sure if composer Bruce Adolphe might have highlighted things a bit. It's defiitely a well-known song, but not a wildly-known one.
This week's contestant is Bob McCauley from Houston, Texas. The hidden song should be very easy to guess, though I'm happy to say that I got it within 2-3 notes. For the composer style, it was a toss-up for me among half a dozen people, and I didn't get it. But you have several to chose from, so you may have better luck. But it's still tough -- becuase the correct answer wasn't among my half dozen. Though he's well-known.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post and the Writers Guild of America. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.