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Puzzle Solution #3: Thrice as Nice

Lincoln LogsI hope you can say, “Once again I’ve wasted five minutes/an hour/a weekend completing another one of Steve’s crossword puzzles.” If not, what are you waiting for? I’ve provided some generous spoiler space below, so it’s not too late to print your own copy of “Hail to the Chiefs.” Soon you too might say “I can’t believe I’ve wasted fifteen minutes/an afternoon completing one of Steve’s crossword puzzles.”


The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library held its second annual crossword puzzle competition at the James J. Hill Reference Library in downtown Pig’s Eye.[1]. At least five local Scrabble players participated. One of them, Carl V, placed second overall in the “professional” division. Here is a brief video produced by the Friends:

See the complete results on the Friends website.

Before I present the solution to my puzzle, let me provide more spoiler space. This is your last chance to take a stab at completing “Hail to the Chiefs” for yourself.

CCR live at the Fillmore West


OK here’s the solution …

Puzzle #3 solution

About the puzzle’s fourteen themed clues (answers highlighted above) I wrote, “Those of you who thrive on challenges may wish to attempt these first. Anyone able to answer twelve of them in this way will have done very well indeed. Thirteen is achievable. To answer all fourteen will necessarily involve a bit of luck.”

The answers are probably a little more difficult than I had anticipated. The easiest are (answers in italics): Madison Wisc, Jefferson City, Lincoln Logs, Jackson Hole, Obama Care, Harrison Ford and Cleveland Ohio. Somewhat more difficult, perhaps: Arthur Ashe, Washington Nats, Truman Show and Grant Deed. Most difficult are Wilson Reef and Fillmore West.

Wilson Reef is more obscure than I realized. Before creating the puzzle, I was at least vaguely familiar with the name of this small part of the Great Barrier Reef. I’m not sure why. It may be that I read of it in some bird conservation magazine and the name stuck in my head. Fillmore West isn’t quite as obscure as I thought it might be (the first three solvers I talked to all got it quite easily), but is probably less well known than Fillmore East. This is why I wrote that getting all fourteen right (without help of cross answers) would involve luck.

The Truman Show movie posterOne themed clue that I judge to be in the somewhat more difficult category is probably a flawed one. The clue was “Truman _____” and the answer is Show. But the name of the movie is The Truman Show, and the omission of “The” makes it problematic.

The most obscure answer in the puzzle, I think, is Dagor (a name meaning “battle” in one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s made-up languages in The Silmarillion). I wasn’t familiar with it prior to doing the puzzle— I’ve read Lord of the Rings three times, but haven’t managed to slog through a small fraction of The Silmarillion—and used it only out of desperation. After creating the puzzle, I asked one of my daughters before she had a chance to look at the puzzle, “What is a five letter word for battle used in the Silmarillion.” She thought for about 10 seconds before answering, “Dagor.” This just goes to show that one person’s obscurity is not necessarily another’s.


  1. If you have done my puzzle, you certainly know that Pig’s Eye is an old name for St. Paul, Minnesota. [^]

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