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Please begin with an informative title:

Welcome once again to Sunday Puzzle.

Next week is Christmas weekend. I'll probably do a fairly light diary for that, so that people can have more time to spend with friends and family.  So instead of doing a light diary this week, I decided to do a medium assortment.  There's a very easy Cryptic, a moderately challenging Regular Crossword, and a very interesting acrostic.

Also: The crypto-gremlins from 2 weeks ago are still unsolved. The segments of it all combine to tell a fun story, and the story contains a cute little puzzle. Instead of revealing the answer this week, I'm going to provide more help and leave it open another week.

There isn't much room allowed in these introductions, so let's move right along.  Here's the diagram for Puzzle # 1, the Regular Crossword:
2009-12-20 regular crossword
Clues for this puzzle can be found right below the fold.

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).

CLUES ACROSS:

1.  Wonder.
4.  Central areas.
9.  Matera.
10. Requirements.
11. Princess Leia and Deanna Troi.
12. Well-known and oft-used line.
13. Plays around.
15. Where US tribes were forced to live.
19. Wolf.
22. Anger.
23. 9th month, or 3rd month.
24. Explain how I've made clue 25-across big, jazzy, and kind of quirky.
25. This has grown strange!
26. Spy group.
CLUES DOWN:
1.  Often said to be smart.
2.  Including.
3.  Relieve.
4.  What goes, according to Porter.
5.  Play with one's hair.
6.  Wonder Dog's name.
7.  Insane dictator, informally.  
8.  Jenny.
14. Soul.
16. Republican with heart, brain and soul.
17. Cupid.
18. Circles.
19. Very populous state.
20. Make public.
21. A form of egg.
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How's the crossword going?  It's moderately hard, so this may be a good puzzle to work on grouply. (If you'd rather work on your own, I recommend skipping ahead to the Cryptic which is better-suited for individual solving.)

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A quick word on Sunday Puzzle etiquette:

It's fun to post comments letting others know which clues you've solved (or think you've solved).  But please, do not post any spoilers in comment subject lines.  

Instead, please label your comments in such a way that others will know what they're likely to find if they read the comment.  For example, if you think you know the answer to 4 down in the crossword, you could title your comment: SPOILER: regular crossword, 4-Down.  That way, people who don't want to know the answer yet can wait on reading that comment.

Other than that, there aren't too many rules.  It's intended to be a fun and informal weekly party.  If you're new, please don't be shy -- jump right in! If there's anything you're puzzled or confused about, just ask and people will be happy to help.

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One useful tip: you might want to bookmark this page, or hotlist the diary, in order to be able to return to it easily throughout the day (or later in the week) to see what progress has been made on solving the puzzles.  That way you can spend a little time on the puzzles, go read other diaries, come backand do a little more, take a break and get other things done, and can keep coming back at your convenience whenever you feel like it.

Okay, back to the puzzles...

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Puzzle # 1.5: Puzzle-Within-A-Puzzle

I often like to hide words or messages inside the crossword diagrams, and that's the case again today.  Inside the diagram I have placed the words of a familiar quotation...

Well, almost. There's one word of the quotation missing.  In fact, it is missing twice.  What's the quotation and what's the word that is missing?

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Puzzle # 2: Cryptic Crossword

If the regular crossword is coming along too slowly, and you're waiting for the coffee to kick in (or for others to help you get started by posting answers to one or two of the clues), why not try this small, easy cryptic?

2009-12-20 cryptic crossword

Clues Across:

1.  This is what comes down in Arkansas, strangely enough.
5.  Morning is ...
6.  ... exactly right, indeed!
7.  Recession isn't over yet, but it will be very soon!
8.  Roosevelt's short explanation of the difference between God and good.
Clues Down:
1.  George's name fits these flyers to a T.
2.  Wet nurse is a horse.
3.  Sounds like I'll be a man (and British as well).
4.  Start of a plea: "See, it's OK this way."
NOTE: if you're not familiar with Cryptic Crosswords and how they work, here's a site with a fairly good explanation.

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Puzzle # 3: Acrostic, "A Little Holiday Music"

In these acrostic puzzles, I provide a list of clues which you need to solve. The answers go into a grid, like the one illustrated here:

Each word in a row has all the letters of the previous answer, plus one new letter.  For instance, in the example the first word in the first row is HEARD; the second word is ARCHED (HEARD + C); and the third word is CRASHED (ARCHED + S).

The new letters need to be entered in a space between the clue answers.  When all the answers have been filled in correctly, the vertical columns made up of the added letters will spell out related words.  

In the example given, the vertical words, Colbert and Stewart, read neatly from top to bottom.  That won't always be the case.  Sometimes words read from top to bottom; sometimes they read from bottom to top; and sometimes they start in one column and continue over into the next.

Also: in the example given, there are  3 words to a row.  That also won't always be the case.  In some puzzles, there are 4 words to a row; some have 5; some have even had 6!  But all rows in a puzzle will have the same number of words; and all words in a column will have the same number of letters.  If the first word in a row has 5 letters, then the first word in all the rows will have 5 letters.

Got the idea?  Good!  Then here are the clues for today's acrostic. I have bundled them together in nice neat little bunches of 3, but that's simply because I like little bunches of 3; it does not mean there are 3 answers per row.  (If the number of actual clues doesn't divide neatly by 3, I add an additional dummy clue or two to the end of the list in order to make the number come out right.  But don't worry.  The dummy clues say things such as Blank space, or Unnecessary, or This is a dummy, so should be easy> to spot.)

One important bit of help.  The solution to this puzzle is a piece of holiday music.  When you folks have successfully solved the puzzle, I'll provide a link to a video of the song being performed.

1. Lily, to some.
2. Window part.
3. Pictures.
4. Lacking # 2.
5. Harlan
6. Without friends.
7. It's finished!
8. Always.
9. City on a lake.
10. Dunne.
11. Curbed.
12. Might light up, perhaps, or have a math joke.
13. Together again.
14. Less work than one might expect.
15. Take a course.
16. Essence.
17. German essence.
18. Skedaddles.
19. Anagram lies.
20. Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz.
21. Act like a senator.
22.  Spock and Yoda.
23.  Green.
24.  Casket.
25.  Makes a strong impression.
26.  Throws up.
27.  Einstein, Feynman, and Hawking.
28.  Seafood name.
29.  Direction.
30.  Town in Padua.
31.  Twit.
32.  Currency replaced by the euro.
33.  Domesticated chimpanzees.
34.  What Sarah Palin might do upon showing up for a one hour live interview on the Sean Hannity program and discovering that Rachel Maddow filling in that day as guest host.
35.  Sharp shirt.
36.  It's finished!
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Puzzle # 4: Crypto-Gremlins

This is a re-post of an unsolved puzzle from 2 weeks ago.  

I have taken a story -- a puzzle story -- and made a series of cryptograms out of it. Your challenge is to decode the story, and then to solve the puzzle it presents.

Before you start, thought, you should know that these are not ordinary cryptograms.  These are cryptograms which are (or so I believe) impervious to attempts to solve them with any of the current online cryptogram solving programs.

Why?  Because before I encrypt them I go over all the words, and make sure that each word begins with a consonant (or consonant sound) and ends with a vowel (or vowel sound).  Thus, for example, if the word THE appears in the passage I will leave it alone.  If the word THAT appears, though, I will add a vowel -- either A, E, I, O, U, or Y -- to the end of the word.  Or, if the word ACHE appears, I will add a consonant of my choice -- B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, or Z -- to the beginning of the word.

If the word UNDER appears, I will add a consonant at the beginning and a vowel at the end.  But if the word UNITE appears, I will leave it alone: it already ends in a vowel, so no vowel needs to be added, and it already begins with a consonant sound, so no consonant needs to be added at the beginning.  Likewise, words such as HIGH, THOUGH, THREW and THROUGH would be left alone because they end in vowel sounds.

If a word is hyphenated, I am treating every segment of it as a word unto itself.  Hence, if the word NON-VIOLENCE were to appear in the passage, I would add a vowel after the NON.

This sounds more complicated than it is.  Once you get the hang of these puzzles, I think you will find these are actually easier to solve than regular cryptograms.  Give them a try!

(And don't despair!  There's important help posted right below the puzzle.)

Crypto-Gremlin # 1:

CRYPTROOM, "YATJAKR QUJEYM" JAZDPJAYA KIA NRJKPTPNRVKU-BPTKPFU KU KDJVA IPYA CRTGM KU KIA YTJAAVA.  KIJAA QUJEYR  ZRJA KIAVR NDKA HDND XUVM KIA YTJAAVA, YU KIRKA CABAJMUVA LPVP KIA NORTA WAWTANKU KIA NRJKPTPNRVKR GVUQYM QIRKA KIAM ZRJA.

KIAVR KIA QUJEYR ZRJA JAFUBAEM SRVEU, LUVA QUJEM LRKR KR KPFA, KIA QRJKPYKYM IRBA KU TUVBAM QIRKA KIA QUJEM FPYU QPKIUDKA KIA GDYA GUHU OAKKAJYM, GPVEM GUHU OPGA "NPTKPUVRJM".  CUVTA, OAVA SUKU IDVSA XDNM NUVU "YKMJUHURFU" HUJU NRCUDKA KAVA FPVDKAYA.

Crypto-Gremlin # 2:
BY SKUBA ARTER, BREQUY ZTIR YJRER SY IR CTGOT BTUOT, "HU FTGSA SY XWTA CT XETGCY CYGY ITECT..."  BREQUY'BR GYSUYGR  FTBT SKTST KR FYNWOA KUHTZCA "BRZERST FYEOBY". SKTST KR FYNWOA ZKTWWRGQR IR FUSKY BYIR CUGBTGRWA OULLUZNWSR FYEOY SKTST FR FYNWOA HTQERR CYGY WTKRTOA LYLY SUIR; SKTST KR FYNWOA SKRGY OETF BYIRSKUGQR SKTST KTOR GYSKUGQR SY OY FUSKY SKR FYEOY; PTGOU SKTST HU FYNWOA LUQNER JUSY LYNSR VUGU BYIR CUGBTGRWA BKYESY XREUYOR LYLY SUIR.  HU FTBT ONDUYNBR, DNSN WTQERROA SY JUSY DRZTNBR US'BA BREQUY, BY KYFY ZYNWOA HU GYSY?
Crypto-Gremlin # 3:
HE GALA ZUZU BUHU CBNAA FENZHI, PILZE QINJE FIHI JIMEXCU CE QEPA DELE...  PILZE HANRUE HXZZALGS  HIUZI, "QINJE, QU FILCI CE VBIGGALRA TACANA ZIPUZA.  QU CBULJE BA'HA QXVBI  MACCANS PICE CBUHU CBILI GALA."  QINJE GEEJAZA VELKXHAZA, JLEFULRA CBICU  HEQACBULRS FIHI JXTX, MXCI QXLHXNA FBICA.  ZAVUZULRA CE TGIS GIGELRI, BA TXGGAZA  QA DEXCA BEKE CBA MIXZUALVA.

HANRUE TXCX JXTX CBA FENZE BA FILCAZA CE OXHA: "PIPXLVXGINS", FBUVBA QAILHA MXLVGA-GUJA.  (NIVCXIGGS, FBICA BA FNECA FIHI " PEPXLVXGINS", FBUVBA QAILHA LECBULRS CBICI QU JLEF BEKE.)  BA TNEVAAZAZA CE  ZNIFI MI TECCAZA ZIUHS, PILZE FUCBULA CBNAA HAVELZHI QU HIUZA, "PIPXLVXGINS," PILZE HICI ZEFLE. CBA MIXZUALVA GIXRBAZA, NAIGU-ULRA CBA FBEGA CBULRA BIZI MAALE  MI HACA-JXTX.

Crypto-Gremlin # 4:
TARA, SEXY XNGYLY IN BYZXNETH SENKAFEBNFH XHCY TAME JETSH XA CZYCNZY IN ZYIYTDY LBYTNZEA TATA XVY GAMME-BVNTBY XVNXA LAJYATY XZEYLY XA VEPNBGH "LYBZYXN RAZSLN". PNLN WEXA VNCCYTLA, JNZGN YINTEYZY VNLY XVNXA XHCY TAME JETSH.    

"LETBY CYXYZY WELE GOCN VYZY UNFZYNSH," LNESN JNZGN, REXVH XVY BVEFFETDH LONIYTYLLY TAME VNTTEKNFY FYBXYZN LETIEXETDN HAO IAIYZN MAZA FOTBVY, "FYX'LY DA LXZNEDVXH XA VELE XOZTO PNXY 'LYBZYXN RAZSLN'.  BAOFSN HAO COXO GOCN XVY BATXYTXLH TAME IYTIYFACY MEIY CFYNLY?"

Crypto-Gremlin # 5:
SCHLK NK PRIOR HA HLZ FIDZZUK, BC FRSZ HLZ GRXBCZUIZ JA UXHFX.  WCUFRUZ PMRXJLHZDR.  HANA JRMMASRK, FCHHCUJK ECUC HLZ TDAUHA DASZ, FZQYDZFFZBK LCFC IAUTCBZUIZ ECUC NK PRPCMCHCZFZ PK NROCUJC HLDARHR-IXHHCUJR JZFHXDZFZ HA FCUBCIRHZ LAS BZRBK LZ HLAXJLHK BC SRFZ.  BC HXDUZBZ HA HLZ FIDZZUK QRUBX PDRIZBZ NKFZMTR, FRFK NRDOX JREZ HLZ "JA" FCJURMK.
Crypto-Gremlin # 6:
"QUKYR DRG'QL WL VMMZL," IK YRKZL.  IK URZR GLNLIL YLLGS QUL PRIQKYQYL ULYKQRQL, NLNLIS.  QULKIL CKGZYL PMIFLZL YM HAKDFES QURQR QULS PLIL ZIRPKGVL QUL WKGYQRGQL CRIFL QMEZR QULCR QM YQRIQS.  GMQR QUKYR QKCL.  QUKYR QKCL QULS TREES URZR QM YQMBL NRGZM QUKGFS.  QULGR QULS YQRIQLZL ZIRPKGVL.
Crypto-Gremlin # 7:
HER LEMUR HATPZR HM IMTGBY "WRPARHY LMAIWY" BTWR HM UMMZR KMAN HER PMGGRPHTOR PMGPRCHS.  WNPER AYWY HER SRYAR LERGR WRABTM IARLR WY WDNAKY DYGIM ZSUR JYZRAR IARLR WY PMCM HYGIY HT PYDR CNCN LTHER "JUNR".

HERWR IAYLTGBWR DYIR GM WRGWR. WRABTM'WR TGOMUORIY IAYPNUY WHYJJTGB WMDRMGR GTGT HER JYPZY LETUR HER LMUKDYGR ORDRABRIR KAMDY WY DYGEMUR.  WPMHH'WR HYGIY KUMSI'WR EYIY GMHETGBR HM IM LTHEY DMGWHRAWR EMAY WHYJJTGBR EMAY FYGSHETGBY. HERAR LYWR GM CYHHRAGY HT PMNUIY WRR, GM AESDR EMAY ARYWMGR HM HTHT HEYHR HT PMNUIY WRR.

Crypto-Gremlin # 8:
JOKE ANKLE MY PNQO AESHJOCOJG LYDDOTOKCO ICGJOIO.  JOKE HJNGIO CE CPO MNBLYOKAO, IPEBCYKMY FEBCN DNKGCPYKMN CPNCE AESOIE CE SYKLE WYKO CN DTOO-CNIIEAYNCYQO ICGJO, UOANBIO PO FKERIG KYC'IE SETO SOKCOTCNYKYKME.  SG SYKLE FYIY RYTOLO LYDDOTOKCJG.  MY'SE CEE MENJG-METYOKCOLG; MY'SE KECE MEBCO CE SOKCOTCNYKO, MY RNKCE CE IEJQO CPO HTEUJOSE.  IE MY ICEELG CPOTO, LONLO IYJOKCE, SG SYKLE TNAYKME. MY FOHCE CPYKFYKME MNUEBCY...
If you're struggling to get a start, here's some additional help. In order to help you identify capitalized words in the text, I have bolded all the words in the story which are people's names.  

The names which appear in the story are:

Baker
David
Dracula
Evanier
Floyd
Galloway
Hannibal
Kyle
Lecter
Len
Mark
Peter
Scott
Sergio
Tom
Good luck, have fun, and I'll see you in the comment section.
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Nova Land on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 06:00 AM PST.

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