Phil in Crossword Puzzles

The crossword entry OCHS has appeared in the New York Times Crossword a total of 155 times, clued at times as the 1960s protest singer Phil OCHS, as the New York Times publishers Adolph OCHS or Arthur OCHS Sulzberger or as the Baron from the opera “Der Rosenkavalier.”

The protest song writer Mr. OCHS — who preferred to be called a “topical” singer — was the subject of a clue that stumped many solvers in the Wednesday, Aug. 21, crossword by Samuel Donaldson. He was known for his fiery and sometimes bitingly satirical songs protesting the Vietnam War, including “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” and “Draft Dodger Rag.” He also wrote songs about the civil rights issues of the early 1960s.

Mr. OCHS was born in El Paso on Dec. 19, 1940, and grew up in a nonpolitical, middle-class family. He formed his pacifist political beliefs while in college at Ohio State University, where he was majoring in journalism. “Phil started out singing at open mikes and passing the hat,” according to his brother, Sonny Ochs. “By 1964 he was well enough established to release his first album, ‘All the News That’s Fit to Sing.’ His second album, ‘I Ain’t Marching Anymore,’ was released in 1965, and by 1966 he was able to sell out Carnegie Hall for his solo concert.”

Multiple issues triggered an emotional downward spiral for Mr. OCHS: He felt that he had never achieved the fame he believed he deserved, an injury during a mugging destroyed part of his vocal range and he struggled for years with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Mr. OCHS died by suicide in 1976 at the age of 35.


Read more at…Phil in Crossword Puzzles

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