Average Length: 4.88
Difficulty: Not quite treacherous enough for the Ninth Circle
Somehow a underworld-themed puzzle seems particularly apt these days.
Average Length: 4.79
Difficulty: For those with naturally gray/silver/white/nonexistent hair, like sliding down a snowy hill. For those without such badges of maturity, like trying to escape a leopard seal.
Having just returned from Antarctica, I am compelled to post a penguin-related puzzle. This one definitely and unapologetically skews (Skuas?) old, but I come by that naturally. Antarctica was spectacular, at least until I and around 30 other passengers and crew on our expedition ship tested positive for COVID and spent a week quarantined in remotest Tierra Del Fuego. I’m happy to say I’m now home and healthy.
Apologies for the technical glitch with last Sunday’s puzzle (“Cupid Is As Cupid Does”) – there was only the most tenuous Internet service in the Drake Passage, and apparently the Dropbox links didn’t copy, which is why I reposted it from dry land on Tuesday.
Average Length: 4.92
Difficulty: Like aging gracefully – it can be done but takes some commitment
There’s been a lot of news recently about musicians selling their catalogs for hundreds of millions of dollars. But there’s another way for chronologically advanced rockers to monetize their hits – adapt them to tout cures for various afflictions of the aging. Such as, you may ask? Solve and find out!
Average Length: 4.89
Difficulty: Like deciding what to wear to a dinner with friends who always get spiffed up when they go out, even though you prefer jeans and a sweatshirt
Disclaimer 1: I had never heard of 17 Across until I saw a news story about his passing, yet he was someone whom style mavens consider a giant in the field. I’d been mulling over possible theme entries for a puzzle with 57 Across as a revealer but tabled the idea because I couldn’t come up with a decent grid-spanner to place symmetrically to the revealer. I watched the news story with interest and then realized that not only is the subject’s full name 15 letters long, but he was a towering 6’6” tall. Problem solved, puzzle created!
Disclaimer 2: I have no business constructing a crossword about style. Buried deep in my files, securely under lock and key, is a photo of me in 1976 conducting our high school wind ensemble. I had near-shoulder length bushy hair and was wearing a very loud plaid sports jacket, a tie that must have been 5 inches wide, and orangy-reddish platform shoes. Yes, it was the ‘70s, but still ….
Coming up next (Jan. 29), a moderately challenging themeless.
Average Length: 4.97
Difficulty: Easy like Sunday morning … if you’re a Motown fan
Smokey, the Temptations, Stevie, Marvin, and the Supremes have restaurants named (with a twist) after some of their most famous songs. Let’s eat!
Please enjoy, share, and comment if you like.
Average Length: 4.82
Difficulty: Like a Drake Passage crossing?
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!
Average Length: 4.74
Difficulty: In inverse proportion to 2021 …
… that is, assuming your 2021 was as challenging as most people’s. This grid shouldn’t put up too much of a battle: I didn’t want to make it difficult to uncover my New Year’s wish for y’all. So solve the puzzle, share it, enjoy your New Year’s celebration if that’s your thing, and come back next week (Jan. 2!) for the inaugural puzzle of 2022 (a “Set List” puzzle where you have to figure out the song titles in a concert of musicians who might not ordinarily play together).
Average Length: 4.87
Difficulty: Harder than the average themed puzzle, though you’re probably smarter than the average bear, so maybe not so hard?
While wandering the aisles in Safeway a few weeks ago – pretty much the extent of my travels for the past too many months – 10 Down occurred to me. By the time I checked out I had 25 Down. Two more theme answers (17 Across and 61 Across) and voila, the bones of a puzzle. In the fill, I was happy to work in one of my favorite musical groups (30 Across), favorite soft drinks (47 Down; it may be an acquired taste), and favorite noshes (48 Across). I’m also particularly pleased with the clue for 1 Down. The clue on 57 Down is a nod to Mike Graczyk, whose Pun of a Kind puzzles are always fresh and entertaining.
If you enjoy the puzzle please share it. Comments, reactions, and suggestions (within reason) welcomed!
Average Length: 4.82
Difficulty: 2.5 out of 5
Here’s a gentle, Thanksgiving-themed puzzle. Best wishes for a scrumptious, safe, and stress-resistant holiday. Enjoy!
Two solving notes: (1) the song at 9/25 Down is from the 1969 movie of the same name. The movie has aged poorly, but I still love the song – all 18 minutes of it.
(2) In researching a clue for 61 Across – I ended up going with the obvious – I came across some fascinating background: In 1939, Federated Department Stores (61A’s parent) prevailed on FDR to move Thanksgiving up a week so there’d be more time after the holiday for Christmas shopping. The Republicans objected (shocking!), and for a couple of years there was basically a Democratic Thanksgiving and a Republican Thanksgiving. In 1941 Congress passed a law fixing Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November.