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Encore the Third

Yes, Gentle Readers, it is time once again for Online Encore, the game where Bragging Units are awarded for the ability to come up with lyrics containing words chosen by YHB. This time… there’s a twist!

If you played the first time or the second time this Tohu Bohu went in for Onlin Encore, you know how it goes. Or if you were there when Jed invented it, of course. In that note, my Gracious Host suggested a theme version, with a set of words that are all place names, or all people names, or all math/science terms, or all verbs. Or a set of songs that are all Christmas songs, or all musicals, or all songs by the same person or people. And so on. YHB decided to do a theme this time, so I have changed the scoring.

Scoring: GRs get two Bragging Units for every song that contains a word from my list, up to three songs for a total of six BUs per song, or 75 total available BUs. In addition, I will award 25 BUs to the GR who first guesses the theme. That’s one hundred Bragging Units, ladies and gentlemen, and that’s a lot of bragging.

MFQ: I will not post whether the song GRs have come up with is the song I had in mind for my theme. That would make it too easy. If y’all seem to be stuck, I will cough up that information as a hint, if you like. YHB encourages discussion of thematic possibilities, but I think I would like Official Guesses to be emailed to YHB rather than posted publicly, so no very clever person will ruin the fun for everyone else. Please post that you are sending an Official Guess, though—I don’t check the vardibidian at Jed’s domain (dot org) email account all that frequently, and see comments here through another interface. Should we restrict it to one Official Guess per GR per Day? Or, alternately, would y’all prefer to work together on the Theme and share the BUs, andso such a restriction would be detrimental? For now, let’s stick with one a day.

Oh, and no reference materials, please.

The List

  • Advanced
  • Belching
  • Cruelty Matt gets two points (and the second song in the theme) for “No Place Like London”
  • Daffodils Stephen gets two points for a campfire song
  • Excursions
  • Festival Jed gets two points for “Welcome”
  • Gaudy Stephen gets two points for “Comedy Tonight” from Funny Thing; this was the first guess of a song from my list!
  • Hyphenated
  • Intervenes Jacob gets two for “Send the Marines”
  • Jasmine
  • Kerosene Chaos gets two for a whole album called “Kerosene Hat”
  • Lilies Stephen gets two for “White Coral Bells” and Melissa R. gets two for “East Virginia”
  • Menial
  • Nouveau
  • Optical
  • Population Jed gets two for “Too Many Babies” or else he gets too for “Two Many Babies”
  • Quips
  • Revolving Matt gets two for “The Universe Song” and Jed gets two for “Sociable Amoeba” (although the rhyme seems to be dissolving, not evolving)
  • Striped Jacob and his choir get two for “Pinecones and Holly Berries”
  • Tranquil
  • Ukeleles
  • Vienna Jacob gets two for “Alma”
  • Wimple Stephen gets two for “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria”
  • Yap
  • Zinger

I have, as you see, dispensed with X. If some Gentle Reader can come up with an X that fits the theme, an extra five BUs. If some Gentle Reader can come up with an entirely new atoz that fits the theme, I will award another fifty BUs, but only if no reference material is used. Your Humble Blogger used reference material extensively—the holdings of two libraries in addition to the internet. But it was my idea, so there.

As an MFQ-related note, I have to admit that I have no idea at all whether this is easy, impossible, boring, fun, exasperating or baffling. I would think that coming up with some songs with most of the words would be easy, but coming up with all the songs should be a bit difficult. And I suspect that either somebody will glance at the words and say that’s all songs that were recorded in 1954, isn’t it (except with the actual theme, which that isn’t) or all y’all will never get close. But we’ll see, won’t we? Together?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Stephen sang this; I'm typing it:

I like the flowers, I like the daffodils...

Underneath her wimple she has curlers in her hair. "How do you solve a problem like Maria", Sound of Music.

White coral bells upon a slender stalk,
Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk.

Also, if we can collaborate with other players, we are this close to having another song for lilies.

collaboration is encouraged. -V.

All righty then:

Beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly
(Something) the death march as you carry me along
And (words we don't recall about putting lilies somewhere or carrying them or something traditional)

Hm, I think the rest of that song, at least as I remember it, is:

(something something) the last post and chorus,
As the band plays "The Flower of the Forest".

...which does not in fact explicitly involve lilies.

No, no, not that one.

This chorus has several variants depending on the song it's stuck in.

One of them has something along the lines of

And on my breast won't you lay some white lilies
So you won't smell me as you march along.

More: The song we're thinking of isn't "No Man's Land" (about Willie MacBride), but is "When I was on Horseback".

Excellent! You have reminded me of Joan Baez singing an Appalachian folk song called "East Virginia" that includes:

Her hair it was of a bright sun color,
and her lips of a ruby red.
On her breast she wore white lilies,
and there I long to lay my head.

And to think, just this afternoon I expected not to find anything for these.

Note to all GRs: we are experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by.


Kerosene: Isn't this in "You're the Top"? In which case the line would be "you're kerosene," but I don't remember the words before it, and would only be guessing if I said the words after it were "you're the top."

Lilies: I thought of "White Coral Bells," but I see Stephen beat me to it.

As for "Beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly / (Something) the death march as you carry me along," the something is "play," iIrc. It's from the song that I know as "Streets of Laredo," but as Nao noted there are zillions of variants; I have a vague idea they all derive from "St. James Infirmary," but that's about as far as I go without reference to reference works. Oh, except there's an Old Blind Dogs version that I particularly like, with this chorus:

Had she but told me when she dishonored me
Had she but told me of it in time
I might have been cured by those pills of white mercury
Now I'm a young man cut down in my prime.

I would venture a guess that this family of songs is the most popular set of songs about STDs ever composed.

But I digress. Point being, yeah, a bunch of versions have the bit about lilies and/or other flowers to overcome the smell of the guy's corpse, but I'm blanking on the exact wording of any of them.

Population: "I say that's so, but it's a simple equation: / population times pollution equals no solution, when there's / too many people having too many babies; / got to love them babies, but there's ..." Fred Small, "Too Many Babies"

Revolving: I keep thinking that there's a Jacques Brel song, probably either "Carousel" or "Marathon," that uses this word, but the closest I can come is a line containing "turning," so I may be wrong.

A few other thoughts:

I wonder if "Advanced" occurs in that song about the military and the war from Pippin.

(Belching, of course, appears in the classic Australian folksong "Belching Mathilda." And Gaudy is in "Vincent," Don McLean's musical adaptation of the Dorothy Sayers book: "Gaudy, gaudy night...")

(Or not.)

It would not surprise me if "Nouveau" and "Optical" were to appear in songs from Sunday in the Park with George, but I know those songs even less well than the ones from Pippin.

Ukelele appears in "Abi Yoyo," but (a) that's more a story than a song, and (b) it's not plural. So never mind.

What about the (Eric Idle?) song about "just imagine that you're standing on a planet that's evolving and revolving at (nine?) million miles an hour..."


Vienna: "The loveliest girl in Vienna... was Alma- the smarted as well" from Tom Lehrer's song about Alma Gropius Mahler Werfel.

Intervenes: also Tom Lehrer. "When someone makes a move, of which we don't approve, who is it that always intervenes? U.N. and O.A.S., they have their place (I guess), but first -- Send The Marines!".

The one above about Intervenes was me. Oh, and in the one about Alma I meant "smartest", of course, not "smarted".

Matt's Eric Idle song reminds me that "revolving" might appear in "Sociable Amoeba" as performed by the Chenille Sisters. Something like "...revolving / 'round the globe, as we're evolving / in a supersonic ICBM thrust." Which doesn't really make any sense, so I may well be misremembering it.

I also keep thinking there must be a song that includes the phrase "revolving door," but I'm not thinking what it might be.

If there isn't a They Might Be Giants song for at least one of those words (particularly "optical"), Stephen and I will eat our proverbial.

I think "Revolving" appears in "Slip Jigs and Reels", which we know from the House Band, IIRC. But I'm not getting the actual line.

And "Gaudy" appears in Steeleye Span's channeling of William McGonigal, right? Gaudy Tay, Gaudy Tay...

I think there's a Cracker song that mentions something about "kerosene hat" other than the eponymous one, but i can't find it without cheating. Also, i'm not saying i'll actually eat my (nonflammable) hat if i'm wrong, but i somehow don't think you're a Cracker fan.

Not a Cracker fan, no, but definitely a fan of people coming up with songs I hadn't heard or thought of. My hope when I started this one was that Gentle Readers would come up with forty or fifty songs which would include only five or six that were on my list—and then somebody would figure out the theme from those five or six songs, and after that y'all would fill in the rest of the ones from my list.

Oh, and I think it was Studs Terkel who first provided me with the information that the St. James Infirmary treated venereal diseases, which explained why the singer, having viewed his sweetheart's body stretched out on a long white table/so soft, so young, so fair immediately starts planning his own funeral.

And y'all suggest a Mondegreen Encore version, where somebody posts words that don't actually appear in the lyrics at all, and the gang have to guess what song the word doesn't appear in. Hm.


I don't think "kerosene" is in "You're the Top"; the items mentioned there are meant to be the latest-and-greatest snazzy things (cellophane! a Waldorf salad!) and I think kerosene would have been seen as old-fashioned by then ("then" being, I think, the mid-1930's).

On the other hand, anybody know the whiny pop song from a few years ago about a weird girl who does weird stuff? She doesn't use jam, she uses Vaseline? Maybe that has a line about kerosene?

Was at choir rehearsal last night and we sang a Christmas medley that included...

Striped: "Red strip-ed candy, nutcracker handy, kettle a-bubblin', holiday tea" from Pinecones and Holly Berries

I think I have counted nine songs for eighteen points in four days. Hm. Is this list harder than I thought? Or is everybody too busy to play? Should I be trying to come up with hints? I could tell you what rhymes with menial



Yeah, I'm finding the list pretty hard.

I'm also finding that MFQ is reduced for me by not having immediate feedback ("yeah, that's the one I was thinking of") which may be reducing the time I'm spending on it. I think you should not worry that figuring out the theme will be too easy if you tell us which ones match what you're thinking of. I, for one, have absolutely no idea what the them could be. Also, the marking up of the list (to see which ones haven't been guessed yet) makes it easier to glance at the list and pick one to focus on.

Hm. Well, that makes sense. Alas, of the nine songs GRs have come up with, not one of them is the one I was thinking of. Nor are any of the nine different songs that fit the theme; they are perfectly good songs, but not part of the set.

I will think about how to annotate the list to indicate (a) GRs have some points for this word, and/or (2) GRs have guessed the song YHB was thinking of. Which should happen pretty soon, with one or another.


I am stuck.

I think I prefer the immediate feedback.

And menial rhymes with venial, in case that helps anyone.

"Advanced" makes me think of battles, dancing, and something difficult, just in case that helps someone. (it's a trick word, I think.)

The phrase "quips and quiddities" keeps coming to mind. (Yeomen of the Guard, perhaps?)

That is a good rhyme, but in my song menial rhymes with something else. And advanced is used as an antonym for introductory, in a sense. Something like that, anyway.


Hints! Come and getcher red-hot hints!

Five rhymes: Menial/Congenial; Gaudy/Bawdy; Kerosene/a machine; ukeleles/the dailies; yap/nap.



Something that's gaudy/Something that's bawdy/Something for everybody.
"Comedy Tonight", Sondheim



I still got nothin'.

In fact, I arguably got less than nothin', because my earlier guesses were wrong. For my own peace of mind, I checked the song from Pippin, and it doesn't even contain the word "advance," much less "advanced." And as Jacob points out, the line from "You're the Top" is not what I thought it was; the word I was thinking of is, of course, "cellophane." So no even partial credit for me for those.

Oh, and I decided to check on "Pills of White Mercury" to see if the flowers were in fact lilies, but nope, they were roses, as they seem to be in most versions of the song.

Just now, I came up with another song for lilies, but I don't get credit for it, 'cause (a) I wasn't sure they were in the song, and (b) I didn't know the line. But the song is the one from Patience that contains the line "what a singularly deep young man this deep young man must be"; I thought there might be lilies in it because the whole show is a parody of Oscar Wilde et alia, who were mad for lilies, and in fact there are lilies in the song but not in a line that I ever knew.

I still have no idea what the theme might be.

And then I went and watched Brother Bear on DVD, and most of the way through, there's a song, Welcome, that includes these lines:

This is our our festival
You know, and best of all
We're here to share it all.

More hot! More hints! More hot hints!

Five phrases: in an advanced state of shock, the cruelty of men, classes in optical art, leaving the quips with a sting, dressed me in a wimple and in veils


The cruelty of men is as wondrous as Peru

"No place like London," Sondheim again. Have we got a theme?

I want to say maybe

Consigned there with a tranquil nod from Sweeney Todd

But I think I'm incorrect.


Also, I want to say that leaving the quips with a sting is from A Little Night Music, but I can't quite place it.

Matt's “No Place Like London” is the song I was thinking of. We have two.

Alas, the bit from the “Ballad of Sweeney Todd” is consigned there with a friendly prod; Mr. Todd was quick and quiet and clean, inconspicuous, smooth and subtle, like a perfect machine he was, but tranquil he was not. You will have to search elsewhere for tranquility.


Oh, and Matt—is that an Official Guess? or is it conversation?


I'll email you with Official Guesses, per the rules. That was conversation.


Matt has in fact emailed me with an Official Guess, which was… correct! Matt may begin bragging!

Not much point in keeping the theme secret now: Sondheim songs. Those GRs who are looking horrified or perplexed by the idea of an Encore of Sondheim songs may not want to follow the people who are slapping their foreheads over to a new post for guessing the 23 (at the moment) remaining Sondheim songs I was thinking of.


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