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Themeless

Themeless 31

Words:  70     

Average Length:  5.51

Difficulty:  Straightforwardly challenging

Pettah fruit and vegetable market, Colombo, Sri Lanka (see comments on 44D below)

I’m back from my foray into preaching/political strategizing and hoping to entertain you with a middle-of-the-road themeless.  (Pick a lane, dammit!) 

44D:  Just before the pandemic hit, I was in Sri Lanka taking an architectural tour of Colombo.  As we walked up one street between a phenomenal indoor market and some beautifully restored buildings, the guide mentioned that Duran Duran had filmed the video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” on that very street.  Who’d’ve thought?!

online | puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themeless

Themeless 29

Words:  70

Average Length:  5.37

Difficulty:  Not quite as difficult (by a small margin) as scaling these cliffs would be

Esha Ness, Lerwick, Shetland Islands (see 15 Down). Note the lack of puffins.

16 Across was the “seed,” appropriately enough, though it’s a concept that baffles me, as a lifelong suburbanite.  28 Across:  I had the opportunity to fly Emirates Business Class from DC to Dubai a few years ago and then fly it back from Singapore.  It was probably the most luxurious travel experience I’ve ever had.  15 Down:  In 2010 my brother and I visited the Shetland Islands, rented a car, and drove off to see (among other things) the puffins, which are all over the place – except, that is, for all the places we looked for them.  Shortly after that trip I started a blog (long dormant) called Puffinless Travel.  I’ve been to every continent except Australia since 2010 and still haven’t seen any puffins. 

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themeless

Themeless 28

Words:  70

Average Length:  5.43

Difficulty:  You’ll exercise some neurons.  They’ll thank you.

Dog and tree (see 55 Down). The squirrel escaped. Again.

The seed for this one was 17 Across, which I listened to a couple of months ago for the first time since it was released back in 1979.  I do not greatly regret the 43-year gap and will probably listen to Blood on the Tracks a few dozen times before I listen to 17 Across again.  But it is 15 letters long, and it does allow a cutesy pairing with 56 Across (mascot for a candy I hold in similar regard to 17 Across).

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Mini

Mostly Musical Mini

Words:  18 (7×7)

Average Length:  5.00

Difficulty:  Familiarity with Weird Al, Beethoven, and musical notation helps.  Unfamiliarity is unacceptable and virtually guarantees you won’t complete the grid.

Organ, Helsinki’s Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Church). See 8 Down (who might have gone there since the church opened in 1969 and he died in 1973).

Here’s a piquant amuse-bouche for y’all.  It’s about 2/3 music-related clues and 1/3 other stuff.  Please enjoy, and please come back Sunday for a challenging themeless.

puz | pdf | solution

Categories
Themeless

Themeless 27

Words:  66

Average Length:  5.64

Difficulty:  Like trying to figure out the chord progression to almost any Steely Dan song

Ushuaia Harbor (the southern tip of 14 Down)

puz | pdf | solution

Time for a challenging themeless!  (I can feel your excitement.)  So, 14 Down (which I mentioned in my write-up last week if you want to cheat):  It’s home to llamas/alpacas/guanacos (some or all; I saw them from a bus but am not up on my camelids) and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  To serve out our quarantine, my fellow infected people and I were bused to a small city called Rio Grande and put up in a barebones hotel (more like a dorm, but way cleaner) called Select Inn.  The ultra-warm and wonderful mother hen at the Inn, whose name is Cinthia, cared for us as if we were her own relatives, providing food, smiles, conversation, and much-needed laughter.  Thank you, Cinthia!!!  If you ever find yourself in 14 Down and are looking for assistance or advice, Cinthia and her son run a company called Odisea Fueguensa, which does just that.

I hope you enjoy the puzzle.  I haven’t decided what’s coming up next.  Guess you’ll have to check back next Sunday.

Categories
Themeless

Themeless 25

Words:  68

Average Length:  5.38

Difficulty:  Yes

Chain Bridge with Buda Castle (Budapest) in the background. See 22 Across.

In constructing this puzzle, I wanted most of my grid-spanners to be phrases.  That’s one thing I love about Tim Croce’s Club 72 puzzles; many of his long answers are conversational.  (Check out his puzzles here. He posts challenging themeless puzzles every Tuesday and themeless or variety puzzles every Friday.)

puz | pdf | solution

A couple of other notes:  I’m particularly (yet inexplicably) fond of the punny clues for 29 and 52 Down, and I’m always happy to include 41 Down in a grid; she’s one of the very greatest singer-songwriters ever.

Enjoy, share, follow, etc.  Next up (1/16) will be a puzzle with tips for where to eat in Motown.

Categories
Themed

Down Under (Guest Puzzle)

Words: 78

Average Length: 4.82

Difficulty: Like a Drake Passage crossing?

My brother Eric, Nanortalik, Greenland, 2010

puz | pdf | solution

Here’s a mid-week bonus: a themed puzzle crafted by my brother Eric, celebrating a certain land mass where he and I will be traveling in February (assuming Omicron and all other Greek letters cooperate).

Eric is an astrophysicist, world traveler (>110 countries visited), multi-linguist, and avid consumer of films, books, and spicy vegetarian food. I learn something from all of his puzzles – including at least four new words/terms in this one – so prepare yourself for a challenge and emerge enlightened!

Categories
Themeless

Themeless 21

Words:  68

Average Length:  5.53

Difficulty:  5 out of 5

Pettah fruit and vegetable market, Colombo, Sri Lanka (see 14D)

This one’s pretty tough, particularly the 1A/6&7D combination.  If you’ve never had 1A, you owe it to yourself to try some, preferably washed down with a Medalla.  I first ran across 7D while learning to play Rhapsody in Blue way back in high school.   There’s a nasty 7D that I never quite got.

puz | pdf | solution

If you finish the puzzle, reward yourself with a 1 Down, 16 Down, or 45 Across.  If you don’t finish it, console yourself with the same. 

Please share this puzzle throughout the metaverse, link to this site, and otherwise give me some free publicity.  Next up (11/21) will be a medium-difficulty, Thanksgiving-themed puzzle.  Thanks, and enjoy!

Categories
Goofy Themeless

Goofy Themeless 2

Words:  68

Average Length:  5.74

Difficulty: You bet!

Delivery van for a beer brewed by the monks of the Monastery of St. Norbert in Prague. This has nothing to do with the puzzle, other than being goofy in its own right. I was, alas, unable to sample their handiwork.

Back by popular, um, indifference?  dismay? … a themeless where, to paraphrase Whose Line Is It Anyway, almost everything is made up and your time doesn’t matter.  The rules are simple:

–           All 3- and 4- letter words are defined straightforwardly

–           Longer words may be:

(1) Normal words clued with little or no regard to their usual meaning.  For example, in my first Goofy Themeless (posted 6/21/21), the answer to the clue “’It’s a boy; I can ___,’ said the geneticist with the supersensitive nose,” was SMELLY; or

(2) Made-up words or phrases.  For example, in my first Goofy Themeless, the answer to the clue “self-referential, laxative cereal” was METAMUESLI.

puz | pdf | solution

If you like this puzzle and didn’t solve the first one, now you’ve got a head start!

Please enjoy and share.  Next up (10/24) will be a “normal” themeless.