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Themeless

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)

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Themeless

Themeless 45

Words:  68

Average Length:  5.65

3 Down and 18 Down were the seeds for this grid; of all the great sayings and quotes about wine, these happen to fit symmetrically.  Other than bringing your oenological expertise to bear, you can test your knowledge of stoner comedies, Springsteen albums, and dog breeds that anagram to a brand of markers.  Enjoy!

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Themeless

Themeless 44

Flamingos, seen in Namibia last week. They have nothing to do with the puzzle but I think it’s a cool picture.

Words:  68

Average Length:  5.59

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!  This themeless started with the entries at 1 Across and 11 Down.  I first heard about 11 Down on a trip to Portugal in October (where the fee for one is close to half a million dollars).  I tried to make the cluing on this one a bit gentler than usual, but it’ll still be a workout.  

Revision: I just found out the first half of the clue for 3 Down isn’t right. Please ignore the reference to “trumpeter Blanchard.”

PS: I just returned from a terrific trip going from Lisbon to Cape Town, with stops in Madeira, Gran Canaria, The Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, Angola, and Namibia. If you’d like to see some photos and my write-up, please visit my travel blog.

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Themeless

Themeless 42

Words: 70

Average Length: 5.40

In the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe” series, Douglas Adams asserts that the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” is 42.  In that vein, I proudly present Themeless 42, which answers such pressing questions as:  What’s orange and hangs out in a mall (6 Down)?  Who’s the leader of the pack (17 Across)?  And what exactly is fast food (12 Across)?  Please enjoy, and please share!

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Mini Puny but Punny

Puny but Punny 2

Here’s a fun-sized grab bag of shameless (shameful?) puns.  If you like it, please share the puzzle with your friends. If not, please share it with your enemies.

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Themeless

Themeless 41

See clue for 26 Across (Leaf producer)

Words:  72

Average Length:  5.25

Just a couple of notes on this one:  first, it’s a themeless, but somehow several clues relate to musicians, songs, or lyrics.  My brain has song lyrics (mostly from the 60s and 70s) crowding every synapse, to the apparent exclusion of more useful information.  Maybe using some of those as clues will free up room for things like people’s names, which I am utterly inept at remembering.

Second, the clue for 46A:  “Reading to your kids, e.g.”  I read to my children every night when they were growing up, and those memories remain among my most cherished (“… is the word I use to describe, whoa-o-o-o-o-o-o …” [The Association, Cherish (1966)].  See what I mean?)  Sandy and I have our first grandchild coming in February, and I can’t wait to make more wonderful memories (“… all alone in the moonlight …”) [Barbara Streisand, 1981, from the soundtrack of Cats].

Please, if you have young children, read to them – it’s an amazing bonding experience (take it away, Jimi [Hendrix, 1967]:  “Are you experienced/Or have you ever been experienced?”)! And while you’re at it, sing to them. Lyrics can come in handy!

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Themeless

Themeless 39

Gondolas with Isola San Giorgio Maggiore in the background (see clue for 55 Across, “It’s seen in Italy”)

Words:  70

Average Length:  5.46

This one started with the clue/answer pair at 18 Across.  23 Down went in shortly thereafter, and it’s one of my favorite clue/answer pairs in any of my puzzles, if you’ll excuse the self-pat on the back. 

51 Down’s clue (“Altamira or Lascaux, e.g.”) references something on my bucket list that I’ll never be able to fulfill.  I’m fascinated by anthropology and archeology, and the ancient art in these locations could illustrate the dictionary definition of “evocative.”  Alas, they’re closed to the public, so I’ll have to content myself with listening to the second track on The Royal Scam (link here), where Steely Dan captures a bit of the magic.

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Themeless

Themeless 38

Aligned house windows, Machu Picchu (see shameless plug, below)

Words:  74

Average Length:  5.00

Shameless plug time:  if you’re at all interested in travel, check out my PuffinlessTravel blog. I’ve added several write-ups and dozens of photos from my just-completed trip to Machu Picchu, Cusco, Quito, and the Galapagos.

This grid began with the entries at 20, 37, and 50 Across, which sort of go together despite the “themeless” label. 

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Themeless

Themeless 37

The Hermitage, St. Petersburg (see 29 Across)

Words:  68

Average Length:  5.50

The seed for this was 33/36 Across, which (complete with the clue), randomly popped up while I was doing something important like shaving or playing electronic Yahtzee.  Then I slapped down 1 Across and decided I had to work in 14 Across as a complement.  (We’re big into pickles in our family. And deli mustard.) Enjoy, and “have some eat,” as my grandma used to say.

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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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