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Themed

Housesitting

Words:  74

Average Length: 4.65

Picture above: a house (not mine). It’s Hacienda La Compañia in Ecuador, and it’s gorgeous inside and out.

My quite limited artistic abilities are on display in this grid; if nothing else, the title should tell you what the black shape in the middle is.  There’s a small amount of less-than-ideal fill necessitated by the constraints of the theme, so please accept my apologies in advance.  I hope the phenomenally realistic grid design makes up for that.

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Categories
Themed

Herd Mentality

Words: 73 (16×15)

Average Length: 5.42

Time for a medium-difficulty themed puzzle relating to some of our fellow fauna.  If you don’t know the song in the clue for 19A, give it a listen.  It’s one of my favorites:  a John Prine classic best known from Bonnie Raitt’s spectacular cover, , it focuses with dry-eyed sensitivity on a woman who’s tired of her life and longing for something or someone better.

Pictured above: Max, part of my 52 Across

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Categories
Themed

Music with Scales

Words:  67 (14×15)

Average Length:  5.07

I’ve been toying with the idea for this theme for a while.  When I finally decided to flesh it out, I realized it needed a non-standard grid size to preserve symmetry, which accounts for the fact that the grid looks like it’s lost weight.  (Your humble constructor certainly hasn’t, having recently returned from Portugal, where food and wine are cherished: see the picture above of cod with roasted potatoes and onions, gleefully consumed at Restaurant Pinoquio, Lisbon.) 

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Categories
Themed

Themeless 40

Words:  70

Average Length:  5.46

I constructed this puzzle while on vacation in Peru touring Machu Picchu (picture above) and other Inca sites, which accounts for the two seeds (20 and 56 Across, with 3 Down thrown in for good measure).  If you ever have the opportunity, go!  Peru is a diverse, beautiful, welcoming country, and the Inca sites barely scratch the surface of what to see.  Plus, the food is outstanding!

If you’re interested in reading my write-up of the trip and seeing some photos, please visit my travel blog, PuffinlessTravel.wordpress.com.  I’m working on updating the home page to have links to locations, but if I haven’t done so when you visit, please scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on the “2”.

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Categories
Themed

They Could Be Verse

Hamish the Highland Cow, the most Scottish photo I have; we can pretend the farmer’s name is Angus (see 37 Down)

Words:  76

Average Length:  4.82

I’ve read a lot of poetry this year; some of you might say “too much” after solving today’s grid.   That’s the excuse for the theme of this puzzle:  the almost certainly misguided idea to merge movie titles and poetry terms and clue them with verses that illustrate the terms.  For those of you who weren’t English majors, the terms are defined below. 

  • Anapest:  A meter of two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable
  • Couplet:  Two lines of verse, often in the same meter and normally rhyming, that form a unit
  • Dactyl:  A meter of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables
  • Iamb:  A meter of one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable
  • Stanza:  A grouping of lines (often, but not necessarily, four) in a standalone unit within a poem

I promise Wednesday’s MMM will be rhyme-free!

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Categories
Themed

Garden-Variety Names

Words:  79 (16×15 grid)

Average Length:  5.06

Toasting the Welsh Mens’ Choir (see 18 Across) with a glass of bitter. The performance and the beer were both excellent.

Housekeeping note: the clue to 70 Across should read “One who might assist in the birth of a 64 Across.” Thanks to Sommersmith for pointing out the need for an edit – and be sure to check out his puzzles over at Crosshare.org; they’re excellent!

I think this is one of the easier puzzles I’ve ever constructed. It’s a straightforward themed puzzle clued at a Monday/Tuesday level.  There are a lot of proper names, but they’re all reasonably well-known.  Enjoy the respite:  next Sunday’s grid will be a tough themeless.  First, though, come back Wednesday for MMM 24.

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Categories
Themed

Celebrating Democracy

This has nothing to do with the puzzle, but having just returned from the Galapagos, I had to post a picture of a Blue-Footed Booby

This is a straightforward themed puzzle celebrating the United Nations International Day of Democracy, which is September 15. Enjoy, and vote!!!

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Categories
Themed

Music That Moves You

Super-stylish headgear and an additional clue to 30 Down

Words:  74

Average Length:  5.03

Here’s a relatively easy puzzle with a literal title.  As you’ll see from the picture, I’ve got new JeffsPuzzles.com head wear – the older caps bore an unfortunate color resemblance to a cap supporting he-who-must-not-be-named-but-should-soon-be-in-prison – which, in addition to serving as a bonus clue to 30 Down, is the apex of nerd chic.  Email me at jeffspuzzles@gmail.com if you’d like me to send you one ABSOLUTELY FREE!

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Categories
Themed

Themeless 36

Inside the Pantheon, Rome (see 15 Across)

Words:  72

Average Length:  5.33

Yet another music recommendation for y’all (actually a double): The clue for 28 Down mentions Drive-By Truckers, an excellent band and one-time home of the phenomenally talented Jason Isbell.  His album “Southeastern” is way up on my most-played list; it’s filled with emotionally raw, evocative, brave, rocking, instantly memorable songs.  You’re welcome, again.

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Categories
Themed

Forecasts in Four Four Time

Words:  79 (15×16 grid)

Average Length:  4.96

The southern tip of the Andes in Tierra del Fuego (see 34 Across)

To quote the endlessly quotable Bob Dylan, “you don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.”  (“Subterranean Homesick Blues”).  A musical meteorologist will do just fine, as this puzzle reveals.

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