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Please begin with an informative title:

Welcome to Sunday Puzzle Warm-Up, a weekly opportunity to have a little fun and to get your brain in gear for the regular Sunday Puzzle (which now posts on Friday).

If you forgot to visit Sunday Puzzle yesterday you missed out on a pair of nifty acrostic puzzles by pucklady and a re-post of the very first JulieCrostic to be posted here at Daily Kos (back in December 2007). But don't despair: you can turn off comments and work those on your own, plus there are still two more puzzles (an anagram puzzle and a cryptic crossword) awaiting solutions.

But those puzzles are a little tricky, so why not warm up the brain cells first with tonight's warm-up puzzle? You'll find it right below the orange squiggle...

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

This is a JulieCrostic  If you're not familiar with this kind of puzzle, don't panic -- full instructions, and an example of what a completed puzzle looks like, can be found directly below tonight's puzzle.

Tonight's puzzle is a foreshadowing of puzzles to come. I'll be doing a theme in the verticals the next few weeks, and tonight's verticals reveal what that theme will be. (Yes, it's a shameless attempt at pandering to one of the other groups here at Daily Kos in hopes of luring some of them over to join us.)

There are 7 rows (with 3 answers per row) in tonight's puzzle. Here are the clues:

1. green garden vegetable
2. stare
3. Foley should have been kept away from these
4. simple shelter
5. caused pain
6. in short supply at Fox News
7. sit, love and be
8. trig term
9. net or river
10. steal
11. it looks like a Limbaugh, it sounds like a Limbaugh -- but it's not an ass, it's a ...
12. Ann or grape
13. gave food
14. skillful
15. stinky
16. cat location
17. Beach, oil, or off
18. abundant
19. Lightning McQueen
20. a little naughty (like these paperback covers)
21. like the thought of Palin as president
If you're new to Sunday Puzzle and aren't familiar with this kind of puzzle, don't panic! Here's an explanation of how these puzzles work (plus an example of a solved puzzle).
An Explanation of JulieCrostics

What you do is solve the clues and write the answers in rows. (Tonight's puzzle has 7 rows, 3 answers per row.)

Each word in a row contains all the letters of the previous word, plus one new letter. Write the added letters in the space between the word which doesn't have it and the word which does.

The vertical columns created by the added letters will spell out a word or phrase. The object of the puzzle is to solve all the clues and read the vertical message.

All the rows have the same word-length pattern. If the first answer in one row has 5 letters, then the first answer in all the rows will have 5 letters. For example, here's the answer diagram for last week's puzzle. That was a 7 x 3 puzzle (7 rows, 3 answers per row), so the completed diagram is the same basic shape as tonight's puzzle.
camel  D  calmed  I  decimal
claim  E  malice  D  medical
mines  A  Maines  A  amnesia
sites  N  Steins  L  listens
stews  O  Stowes  L  slowest
rides  B  brides  A  sidebar
trick  E  ticker  H  thicker
The verticals read DEANOBE  IDALLAH -- which, when properly spaced, spells out Dean Obeidallah, a comedian who has written some noteworthy commentaries for CNN (such as this recent example).

The puzzle answers also include references to Dorothy Stowe (a founder of Greenpeace), Emily Stowe (women's rights activist and the the first female doctor to practice in Canada),  Harriet Beecher Stowe (noted abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom's Cabin), Jill Stein (key figure in the Green Party) and Gertrude Stein (artist, activist, and author of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas) -- plus a reference to the ship whose sinking in 1898 was used as a pretext for the US invasion of Cuba later that year -- and, for those of you more interested in art than politics, a reference to the works of Charles Schultz.

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