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Crossword #23: World’s Smallest!

A minuscule achievement

No, wisenheimers, I did not etch a puzzle on the surface of a unpopped corn kernel. What I did is create a crossword puzzle on a 3-by-3 grid. It only ties the existing record among all puzzles conforming to North American cruciverbalist standards. But it is the newest and freshest 3-by-3, so there is that.

The puzzle was produced today because I have been asked frequently about my crossword-creating kick, “is it over?” One particular flatterer seems disappointed by my lack of enthusiasm puzzle-wise. This small effort is for her and comes with this promise: a 15-by-15 is in the mail. So to speak.

Puzzle notes

To make up for its brevity, I have attempted to make it moderately challenging to my (mostly) casual crossword solvers. Several clues would normally include a trailing question mark to indicate they aren’t straightforward. But which clues? At least one clue could use a referral to another clue and/or answer. But which one(s)?

An AcrossLite puzzle file is provided for those who use the program to solve puzzles. Those who don’t can work a nifty on-line version courtesy of XwordInfo.com. There is no PDF version available–no trees should be harmed on account of this trifle–but those who still solve with a pen or pencil can scroll down to find one fit for their taste.

Checkmark iconHappily for those frustrated by my usual shtick, the solution to this one is printed in this very post! Just scroll past the spoiler space to check your work.

The puzzle

#23: Trifecta! (blank grid)
#23: Trifecta!
    02/20/2020

  Across
1   Half of a fortune
4   One showing promise
5   The other 50%

  Down
1   Be less than 100%
2   Eggs out of water
3   De Niro’s Irishman, e.g.

Solvers can write directly on their monitors with–I can’t emphasize this enough–non-permanent markers. Nervous Neds may consider creating their own grids using pre-recycled pieces of scratch paper. May I suggest the backs of pre-crumpled GOP mailers for this purpose?

Spoiler space

  Caution: an obnoxiously large image of the completed grid is displayed immediately below the video. Thou shalt not scroll before solving the puzzle!  

As I enjoyed listening to John Prine’s excellent 2018 album The Tree of Forgiveness while putting this together, it’s only fitting I use his song “Caravan of Fools” as spoiler space. At 73-years-old he hasn’t lost his songwriting touch, and his cancer-survivor’s wizened voice suits his world-weary new songs well (it doesn’t hurt his older stuff either). Long may he write and sing!

The video here makes use of the studio version of this song. An NPR Tiny Desk Concert version is worth hearing as well (as are the three other songs featured). He quips unconvincingly there that any relation of this song to the current administration is entirely accidental.

Solution

Crossword #23: Trifecta! completed grid.At least this puzzle didn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy. Otherwise I’d probably need to give you a refund, eh? Would you accept an I.O.U. please? Maybe I could have created a full-sized puzzle if I hadn’t been ailing so. My doctor recommends no more than two eggs daily, but I didn’t think that applied to roe! If I had felt better, perhaps I would have watched all of The Irishman. Nah! I did watch long enough to hear Robert De Niro refer to himself–his character really–as a mug. That is something at least.

Recent Crosswords:
DATE TITLE
06/20/2018 #22: Northern Dialect
01/30/2018 #21: Special Editions
10/10/2017 #20: Saints We’d Like to See
02/13/2017 #19: Themeless, but Dark
10/03/2016 #18: Shady Business
07/11/2016 #17: Ars Poetica

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