Welcome to Sunday Puzzle -- a weekly party for people who enjoy a mental workout (or who enjoy watching other people mentally working out).

I had what I thought was a rather clever and challenging puzzle planned for today. Unfortunately the gremlins -- who were so well-behaved last month -- hid my notes. Aaargh!

So I came up with a quick replacement puzzle and typed it up. The gremlins made a small adjustment to it, but nothing that would cause you folks any problems. Well, that's nice, I thought. They're back to being reasonably well-behaved...

And then, too late to fix it, I saw what else they had done...

But the jokes on them! What they did actually makes it easier for you folks to solve tonight's puzzle. I'll explain what they did down below. Come on down!

First a quick note for anyone who's not familiar with JulieCrostics: you can find a complete explanation of how these puzzles work (along with introductory puzzles and examples of solved puzzles) over in Sunday Puzzle Warm-Up.

Next, for everyone else: an explanation of what the gremlins did.

Here's the situation. If you've ever constructed a JulieCrostic you've probably come across times when you've got a letter set for one of the words which could make more than one good answer. For instance, let's say you have a row which needs to have the letters S-L-L for the verticals, and the row pattern is 2-3-4-5. So you use AT for the first word, SAT for the second, LAST for the third, and STALL for the fourth...

Except you notice that for the third word you could use SALT instead of LAST, and you start wondering which one would be more fun to clue. Which to use, which to use?

Well, the gremlins noticed that in one column of tonight's puzzle there were always two possible words that could be used for answers. And I guess they didn't like the choices I made -- because they went back and added in an additional clue for the other word.

That's right: one of the vertical columns in tonight's puzzle is clued twice..

Oh, well. It's not as bad as it sounds. Actually it makes the puzzle a little easier to solve. Once you identify which column it is, you've got a choice of two clues to solve and you really only need to solve one. (Of course, being puzzle-solvers you'll probably want to solve both clues, for completeness' sake. But you only need to crack one of the two clues to see what the vertical letter is for that place in the diagram and get closer to figuring out what the verticals spell out.)

So the gremlins outsmarted themselves! They made the puzzle easier for you instead of harder. Perhaps you should get busy and solve the puzzle before they realize the joke is on them and they work some new mischief...

 1. sounds like a female avenger
 2. roman doctor
 3. hope who appeared in movies and on tv
 4. complicate
 5. liquid when warm, solid when cold
 6. american shepherd
 7. balance
 8. ... and anthony taylor gets laid
 9. woman with a choice
10. edward caputo, cleo browne, and foxes
11. saturn mercury
12. human arms
13. alarm
14. line
15. all-stars life
16. compromise
17. well-known street
18. scoop
19. irked
20. supposed
21. stubborn person
22. woman who wrote in the 1970s about masturbation
23. modest cockney
24. trudge
25. cart
26. dull
27. exposed
28. van dyke
29. apart at the end
30. one who likes to argue
31. well-kept
32. famous allen
33. macbeth title
34. paean
35. greenhouse gas
36. benefit or purpose
37. move furtively
38. charles foster will bob
39. low-down joints
40. irritates
41. has nothing
42. first bisexual lawyer (a north korean)
And perhaps I should post a quick reminder of the usual mischief the gremlins pull on Sunday nights:

   * They group the clues in bunches of three, regardless of how many answers there actually are in a row

   * they take all the capitalization out of the clues

   * Occasionally they tamper with the punctuation of clues, taking out punctuation marks I included or adding in ones I didn't. They usually do that at least once per puzzle (And occasionally they also tamper with spacing, taking out a space I included or adding in one I didn't.)

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