Crosswords are hard to make  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in ,

I'm attempting to build a crossword puzzle. It's going very poorly. It's not that I didn't know that it would be tough, but I may have underestimated how difficult it is to just do. But if I ever get it going, I'll post it here.

I was hardly inspired by today's snoozer. Seven minutes, including one full minute of the Across Lite app being hung, and another minute where I was just talking to the leasing manager at the complex. The theme was trios: Three Men in a Tub, Three French Hens, Billy Goats Gruff, etc. I learned nothing and liked only a couple of answers: Lake TITICACA, MALARKEY, ROCS, RESPITES. I'm also no closer to making my own.

Looking into the clues for song ideas, I searched 'Emma' in my iTunes library and noticed Emmanuel Jal. Which reminded me that I had meant to post a song of his, off a collab album with Abdel Gadir Salim. Gadir Salim is a Sudanese Muslim, a classical oud player, and highly venerated in the North of Sudan. "Ceasefire" is Jal's first album; he is from the South, is Christian, and his music is urban contemporary. From

At approximately the age of seven (he doesn't know his exact date of birth) Emmanuel Jal was pressed into service with the Sudan People's Liberation Army. He fought with them for several years before leaving to join a rival rebel group closer to his home in the Upper Nile region. There he met and was eventually adopted by British aid worker Emma McCune, who smuggled him into Kenya with her. McCune died shortly thereafter, and Jal eventually returned to school, studying in both London and Kenya. A religious conversion led him to take up music as his vocation, and he now serves as the spokesman for the Campaign to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. On this album he is joined by singer, composer, and oud player Abdel Gadir Salim, a venerated master of northern Sudanese music and a prominent figure on the other side of the Christian/Muslim divide that has contributed in large part to the civil strife in Sudan. Their collaboration is symbolically moving, but is also musically fascinating; Salim's songs are steeped in both the urban and folk music of his region, whereas Jal is a rapper with roots in American and British hip-hop.
Jal's story mirrors much of the plot of Blood Diamond; while his is set in Sudan and Kenya in the east, Edward Zwick's film takes place in Sierra Leone, West Africa. I missed it during the film, but this cut off of "Ceasefire" is credited in the closing credits:


And this was my favorite song on the album:


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