From Crosswords

Crossword #13: Wit and Wisdom


Donald Trump, with more hair than witThe image at the top of this page is a non sequitur. This puzzle is entirely Trump-free. Yes, the juxtaposition of “hair” and (the absence of) “wit” in the quote from Shakespeare does inevitably suggest Donald Trump, but you have my word that this puzzle (neither of them–see below) is safe for consumption by even the most Trump-averse among you. I trust that is all of you.[1]

Shakespeare’s quote uses “wit” in a sense much closer to “wisdom” than what is probably the more familiar modern connotation of the word. I created this puzzle with this modern usage in mind. The person to whom this crossword nods is usually described as “a wit.” A wit because of the pithy quips for which he or she is well-known, and because who ever heard of a person being described as “a wisdom”?

PDF thumbnailHave at it, but do not fail to scroll and read farther down this page for information about a companion puzzle you will not want to miss. This bonus crossword, co-created with the godfather of Minnesota cruciverbalists, features the folksy wisdom of another noted wit.

Download the puzzle
PDF copy to print
Puzzle file for AcrossLite[2]
Solve online at

Checkmark iconThe solution to this puzzle was published on Thursday, December 17.


Link to GBF Facebook pageAs I constructed “Wit,” I thought of featuring it on my site with a companion puzzle named “Wisdom.” A two-fer! But as my enthusiasm for going so soon again through the often-tedious process of filling a grid waned, I decided to abandon the idea.

Then I thought of pitching George Barany (described above as the “godfather of Minnesota cruciverbalists”[3]) on a collaboration. Would he be interested in taking my idea for a theme, creating and filling a grid and then share with me the job of cluing it (the more enjoyable part of constructing)?

He would. He did. In a remarkably short time, he created and presented to me a realization of my idea. (An idea, by the way, he already had on a back burner.)

Link to Wisdom on GBF pageIn the end, I think we split the writing of clues pretty evenly (I haven’t counted). I am quite pleased with the results, and I think “Wisdom” makes a fun companion to “Wit.” I hope you will agree.

To access this puzzle, click on the thumbnail at right to obtain Wisdom from George’s site.

Don’t forget to look through the hundreds of free puzzles on the George Barany & Friends website and you might enjoy the group’s Facebook page as well.

Recent Crosswords:
04/24/2020 #k1: Meadow’s First!
04/20/2020 #24: Roadside Attractions?
02/20/2020 #23: World’s Smallest!
06/20/2018 #22: Northern Dialect
01/30/2018 #21: Special Editions
10/10/2017 #20: Saints We’d Like to See

   Complete Crosswords


  1. I can’t promise that my crosswords will always be Trump-free. Just as comedians must simultaneously fear and salivate over the prospect of a Trump presidency, so crossword constructors can’t help finding him a grotesquely alluring potential subject. How fortuitous that DONALD TRUMP and EGOMANIACAL each contain eleven letters! Other fun fill might include BLOWHARD, JINGO, IGNORAMUS and FEARMONGER. [^]
  2. The Across Lite program can be downloaded for free at and runs on Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X. I can recommend it unreservedly. It is easy to install and use, and is free of any of the malware garbage that commonly plagues freeware. [^]
  3. “Godfather” can have unintended negative connotations. Probably “the mensch of Minnesota crosswords” is a better description of George’s tireless and enthusiastic work in this regard. [^]