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Benzamides undergo ortho-metalation with magnesiate bases to allow trapping with propargylic chlorides. Cyclization provides isoquinolones in a one-pot operation. Benzamides can be formed in situ from aryl Grignard reagents and isocyanates. Moreover, electrophilic trapping after cyclization introduces further complexity. Alternative cyclization conditions provide the isomeric aza-isocoumarins.