Mini Venn Mini

Venn Mini 1

Words:  10 (5×5)

Average Length:  4.20

I haven’t seen a puzzle like this before, although I’m sure the concept exists.  Think of each half of the clue as a circle in a Venn diagram; the answer is found in the intersection between the two circles.  It may be a shared trait or name, a constituent part of each category, a word associated with both “circles” but meaning different things in each context, or some other common ground.

online | puz | pdf | solution

Explanation/spoilers below:






1A: FLEA is the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist, and a flea is common parasite

5A:  BRAND is a ranch “dressing,” or decoration, and Hidden Valley is a common brand of ranch dressing

6A:  LINDA Rondstadt sang Blue Bayou (as did Roy Orbison, but he doesn’t fit), and Linda Blair starred in The Exorcist

7A:  UTEs is the name both of an indigenous American people and a common shortening of “utility” for vehicles.

8A:  EOS is a Canon camera and the Greek goddess of the dawn

1D:  FRITO means fried in Spanish; a chimichanga is fried – and of course Frito is an iconic corn chip

2D:  LANES are found in both highways and bowling alleys

3D:  ENDS – a line segment has 2 ends, and codas are the ends of musical pieces

4D:  ADA Lovelace is regarded by some as an early computer programmer, and the ADA is the professional organization of dentists

5D:  BLUE is component of both Green (with yellow) and Purple (with red)


A Fab Feb

“Like draft beer” (7 Down) (Enjoyed after a long hike on a warm day in Wales)

Words: 76

Average Length: 4.97

My Fab Feb started on the evening of the 1st with the birth of our granddaughter. (See the To My New Granddaughter post from Feb. 3.) Of course, there’s much more to celebrate in February, and this grid does its best to cover the highlights. Enjoy and share!

online | puz | pdf | solution

Midi Themed

To My New Granddaughter

Words: 40 (11×11)

Average Length: 4.65

I interrupt my regular Wednesday and Sunday posting schedule with a special announcement (and crossword): Wednesday night (Feb. 1) at 10:57 pm, Sandy and I welcomed our first grandchild, Eleanor Mikayla Fuhrman. Ella and her Mom are doing great.

I had to mark the occasion with a puzzle, of course. It’s sappy, but you can’t blame me for that. After each clue there’s a bracketed comment (for Ella’s eventual benefit) relating the answer to something in our family.

I hope you enjoy it!

online | puz | pdf | solution

Midi Themed Travel Midi

Travel Midi 5 – Singapore

Words:  46 (15×9)

Average Length:  4.87

Marina Bay Towers seen from the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

My day in Singapore was a blur of phenomenal architecture, gorgeous gardens, and delicious food.  Capturing all that in a grid is difficult, so take a look at my PuffinlessTravel write-up for some photos and sightseeing tips.  This is the last Travel Midi, at least for a while – come back next Wednesday for what I think is a brand-new concept in Minis.

online | puz | pdf | solution


For Latin Lovers

Words:  72

Average Length:  5.19

Sometimes you just have to go with silly.  Take common Latin expressions, “pun-ify” them, add some hopefully decent (and gently-clued) fill, and unleash goofiness upon the world (or at least the 150 or so Terrans who usually solve my puzzles). Explanations of the original expressions and alterations (spoiler alert) follow the photo.

online | puz | pdf | solution

Another 54 Across, St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City

17 Across:  CARPE DIEM – “seize the day”

24 Across:  ET CETERA – “and so forth” (ETA is common dreck fill, a/k/a crosswordese)

36 Across:  ALEA IACTA EST – “the die is cast” – supposedly said by Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon to invade Italy and begin a civil war.  Kirstie Alley played Rebecca Howe, hence upon being cast in the part, 36 Across.

46 Across:  SINE QUA NON – a necessary condition: “without which, no”.  I realize that the universe of “classically-educated far-right conspiracy mongers” likely is a null set.

57 Across:  NE PLUS ULTRA – “there is no better” – the beauty store in the answer currently is US-only, so hopefully non-US solvers can get this from the crosses.

Midi Travel Midi

Travel Midi 4 – Colombo and Phuket

Pettah fruit and vegetable market, Colombo

Words:  40 (11×11)

Average Length:  4.45

Looking beyond the esthetics – this is by far the least attractive grid I’ve ever designed – I hope you enjoy today’s tribute to two fascinating spots in south and southeast Asia.  I’d love to return to both countries at some point, having barely sampled their visual, historical, and spiritual charms.  Click here to see some photos and my write-up.

online | puz | pdf | solution


Themeless 46

Castle outside a different kind of 34 Across, in Ireland

Words: 70

Average Length: 5.43

When I constructed this puzzle in late November, 29 Across was “it fits and it’s not awful” kind of fill.  With David Crosby’s passing, though, it gives me a chance to mention him in a clue and express gratitude for the thousands of hours I spent listening to him in The Byrds, in 29 Across, in 29 Across plus Y, and on his own.  He had a pure voice and a gift for heartfelt melodies and lyrics.  RIP, D.C. “I sing in silent harmony/We shall be free.”  (David Crosby, Guinnevere)

online | puz | pdf | online

Midi Themed Travel Midi

Travel Midi 3 – India

Words:  42 (11×11)

Average Length:  4.71

PuffinlessTravel link: Here

I loved the tiny bit of India I saw – everything from the frenetic, polyglot bustle of Mumbai to the sun and sights of Goa to the lost-in-time charm of Kerala.  The people are unfailingly friendly, the food is delicious, the energy is high, and despite the Raj, the beer is ice cold.  Today’s puzzle crams in eleven India-related answers (twelve if you count 11 Down), so grab a mango lassi, fire up your pencil/laptop/tablet, and solve away! And be sure to check out the link to my travel blog for some photos and observations.

online | puz | pdf | solution

Holiday Themed

Remembering MLK

Nothing to do with the puzzle, but a good idea in mid-January

Words:  77 (16×15)

Average Length:  5.14

Here’s a tribute to Dr. King and an expression of gratitude to everyone who strives to carry on his legacy. 

online | puz | pdf | solution

Travel Midi

Travel Midi 2 – Dubai and Oman

14 Across, Dubai

Words:  42 (11×11)

Average Length:  4.76

Travel blog link

In January 2020 – at the tail end of the Before Times – I went on a cruise from Dubai to Singapore with my extended family.  I was disappointed with Dubai (too many people and cars, too much pollution and ostentation) but really enjoyed our second stop, Oman.  You can read more details (and see some pix) on my travel blog. Meanwhile, enjoy the puzzle!

online | puz | pdf | solution