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.

These warm-up puzzles are intended to be a new-puzzler-friendly. So if you've never tried Sunday Puzzle before, and are scared to dive in the deep end, come on and dip your toes in here.

Tonight's puzzle spotlights something I recently learned about, have on order, and am very much looking forward to seeing. It's something I think other Kossacks will be excited by as well. What is it? Solve the puzzle and find out!

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

If you'd like to take part in the group solving, come on down to comments and join in. We're friendly and we love having new people!

If you'd prefer solving the puzzle on your own (or if you're discovering this diary hours, days or weeks after it went up), no problem. Just set your comment preference to SHRINK (so you only see the subject lines of comments); then, if you get stuck, look for a subject line identifying a comment dealing with a clue you need help with, expand and read that comment, and you're good to go.

Tonight's puzzle has 6 rows, with 3 answers per row. Here are your clues:

1. levitated
2. common code
3. down in the dumps

4. sleeping places
5. necklace parts
6. dwelling places

7. acquire
8. sand unit
9. what I'll be doing to blueberries this summer

10. certain
11. fixes
12. class

13. essence
14. catch a glimpse of
15. good, late, and opening

16. final
17. explosion
18. not likely to tip over

For those of you new to Sunday Puzzle, here's an explanation of How JulieCrostics Work
To solve the puzzle, figure out the answers to the clues and enter them into a grid of rows and columns. For the warm-up puzzles on Saturday I generally tell you how many rows and columns there are in the grid; for the regular puzzles on Sunday that's usually left to the solvers to figure out.

All the rows in the grid will be the same length (i.e. have the same number of answers). All the answers in a column will be the same length (i.e. have the same number of letters).  And the words in each column are one letter longer than the words in the column to its left. That's because...

Each word in a row has all the letters of the word before it plus one new letter.  For instance, if the clues for a row were (1) Alaska governor, (2) mountainous, and (3) clarify, the answers would be PALIN, ALPINE ( = PALIN + E), and EXPLAIN ( = ALPINE + X).

Write the added letter in the space between the word which doesn't have it and the word which does.  For the row in the example you'd write:

When you have solved all the clues and written down all the added letters, the added letters will form columns that spell out a message of some sort. It might be a person's name, it might be the title of a book, it might be a familiar phrase, or it might be a series of related words. Your challenge is to solve all the clues, fill in the vertical columns, and figure out what the vertical columns mean.

To show you what a completed puzzle looks like, here is the solution to last week's puzzle.  (That was a 7 x 3  puzzle: 7 rows, with 3 answers per row).
late  M  metal  T  Mattel
trek  A  taker  S  streak
scab  R  crabs  A  scarab
boar  G  Garbo  N  Bangor
vain  A  avian  G  vagina
fist  R  first  E  strife
owns  E  Owens  R  worsen
The verticals read MARGARE   TSANGER -- which, when properly spaced, spells out Margaret Sanger, the mother of and a leading light in the birth control movement.

In 1911 Margaret Sanger began contributing a weekly column on sex education to the New York Call, a socialist newspaper. Over the next couple of years the column became focused on family limitation (as birth control was then called).

At the time there was very little information available about birth control; laws had been passed in the late 19th century to prevent the dissemination of information about birth control (and of products which could be used for birth control). Sanger made it her life's work to spread information about birth control, to develop safe and effective methods of birth control, and to make sure this information and these methods were available to all women to use as they chose.

The term birth control was coined by Sanger and friends, and was then popularized by Sanger -- first in the pages of her own (somewhat radical) newsletterr Woman Rebel (which she started in 1914, and which lasted 7 issues before the government closed it down and Sanger fled to Europe for a year) and then in the pages of her more focused Birth Control Review (which Sanger started in 1917 and edited through 1928).

In the late 1970s a smear campaign was begun against Sanger by people in the anti-abortion movement. A great deal of misinformation about her has been widely circulated. Some of it even shows up occasionally here at Daily Kos.

(I've written a few comments about Sanger in Daily Kos diaries when I've seen her mentioned. Here are a couple from May 2011;  one from March 2013; and one from May 2013.)

Sanger's life story makes for interesting reading. Some good books to look for, if you're interested in learning about her, include her autobiography; Ellen Chesler's comprehensive 1992 biography Woman of Valor; and the recently released A Life of Passion by Jean Baker (which I haven't read yet, but which has received good reviews).

I'd also like to recommend the upcoming Woman Rebel: the Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge, which is due out this October. As Bagge describes it:

I just finished the art on it, and am currently working on a lengthy notes section. A ton of research went into this book. I'm exhausted! So people better like it or I'll be pissed! Seriously, though, I'm very proud of it. Sanger lead a long, busy, complex and controversial life, which I think I've successfully boiled down to an easy-to-digest 72 pages...

What is it about Margaret Sanger that made you want to devote all this time and effort to creating a book detailing her life?

I kept inadvertently stumbling across information about her -- much of it being maliciously erroneous -- while researching other people. I became intrigued, and while reading about her further was struck by what a wild, adventurous life she had led. The stuff of comic books, in other words!

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