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Puzzle Solution #16: So It Went


An apology to future generationsBy now you have either finished my puzzle and have it hanging in a frame on the wall of your den, or you abandoned it half-finished and have used it to line a birdcage. Either way, a productive use of your time. It is so difficult to line a birdcage with the Huffington Post.

If for some reason you have only just now stumbled upon this puzzle, it is not too late to have fun with it. It won’t be half as fun if you scroll down and cheat, so please click on So it goes to get a copy. Soon you too will have a nifty new framed trophy hanging in your den or, at worst, a freshly-lined birdcage.

Spoiler space

My usual shtick involves embedding some irrelevant music video here to serve as spoiler space. This time I will put in a plug for an upcoming fundraising event in which I will participate. The The ALS Bike Trek MN will raise money to support what is, in my opinion, the best organization on the front lines of the effort to find a cure for ALS. My team is the “Bachriders” and we would be very grateful for any support you can provide.[1]
 
ALS Bike Trek MN

The solution

(Image courtesy XwordInfo.com.)
Puzzle solution.

I’ve used color to indicate the theme answers. If you are not a fan of Kurt Vonnegut (why not?), you may not be familiar with his novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Maybe, but I am guessing you do recognize the title. It is usually cited as Vonnegut’s most popular and/or important work. And there it is: hidden in MANSLAUGHTER, HAUNTED HOUSE and STARTING FIVE.[2]

Slaughterhouse-Five book coverThere really isn’t much of interest I can say about this puzzle. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me before, so why should it now?

One thing I try very hard to do when I construct these puzzles is to not use clues and answers unfamiliar to me. It is not often possible to complete a puzzle without at least one exception. This time, the exception is LUISE. It is an odd spelling of that name and as far as I can discover fits only one person worthy of mention, Academy Award-winning actress Luise Rainer. She was the first actor–male or female–to win multiple Oscars. Before my time (and probably yours), she won them in 1936 and 1937.

Despite some less-than-sparkling fill (OPENA, ONEB, DEFAT, ULT and a few others), I managed to use a fair amount of fun (for me) non-theme material. In a puzzle themed around one of my favorite authors, several other writers crop up: Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare (twice), JD Salinger, JRR Tolkien and Alexander Dumas. (I resisted referencing R Crumb to clue CRUMB.)

Image courtesy of XwordInfo.comTwo of the more obscure answers spring from personal experience: PURA VIDA from a Costa Rican vacation, SQUID from my time in the US Navy (yes, squid, swabbie and limey are all slang terms for sailors–at least we weren’t called “jarheads”[3]).

The analysis from XwordInfo.com gives this puzzle a high “freshness factor” score. Whatever that is worth. (Click on image to view analysis.)

The USS EisenhowerNotes

  1. Hapless 25th-century cyber archaeologists–and those of you reading this after May 21, 2016–may find that the link to the ALS Bike Trek MN is dead. [^]
  2. Billy Pilgrim would have approved of this puzzle appearing on my blog one day prior to its publication date. [^]
  3. Squid as a slang term for “sailor” is probably too obscure to use in a crossword puzzle. But it is certainly used by members of the military. Usually as an insult; often hurled by a drunken jarhead (marine). Wiktionary defines the term with “a HIGHER form of MARINE life.” Someone going by the name “Dan the Navy Man” uses squid as it is intended to be used in his blog post “Squid & Jarhead Brawls”. [^]


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