Welcome to Sunday Puzzle -- a weekly party for those who enjoy solving puzzles together.

Usually the first Sunday of the month is a potluck puzzle party, when everyone is encouraged to bring along a puzzle to share. But last week I completely forgot that this Sunday would be the first Sunday of December.

Since I failed to put up an announcement last week, let's wait and have the potluck puzzle party next week. If you've got a puzzle you'd like to share, mark next Sunday on your calendar. (And remind me to mark it on mine...)

I've got a mystery puzzle all set to contribute for next week's potluck. It has 6 clues;  one of them is Tea Party strength, and another is manure scattered around. Come back next week to discover what that means.

But that's next week. Tonight's diary has a new JulieCrostic and a new Crypto-Gremlin. If you're ready to tackle them, come on down!

First up: tonight's JulieCrostic.

If you're not familiar with this kind of puzzle, don't worry; you can find complete instructions on how they work, along with an introductory puzzle and an example of a completed puzzle, in last night's Sunday Puzzle Warm-Up.

Sunday night JulieCrostics are a little different from the Saturday night warm-up JulieCrostics, though:

  • (a) On Saturday night I usually tell you how many rows there are, and how many answers there are per row; on Sunday night the clues are bundled in tidy little bunches of three, regardless of how many answers there are in a row, and you need to figure out for yourselves how many rows and columns there are.
  • (b) On Saturday night the clues are mainly straightforward definitions and synonyms; on Sunday night the clues tend to be a little more devious and sometimes are based on bits of political or cultural trivia that I think are worth sharing.
  • (c) On Sunday nights the puzzle gremlins like to play games with the capitalization and punctuation of the clues. For instance, on Saturday night if a clue read ore location the answer would be something like mine or lode. But if that clue were to appear on a Sunday night the answer might easily be Salem or Eugene (i.e. an Ore. location).

If you think you're ready, then here are your clues for tonight's puzzle. Have fun!

 1. characteristic shared by all this puzzle's answers and clues except for those in the first row
 2. simple traveler
 3. it's a game boy
 4. might be impossible
 5. foot follower
 6. cut unemployment
 7. learn how
 8. dark gray
 9. james baker (or jones)
10. pay for
11. take turns
12. famous stone
13. pass through gradually
14. castles
15. followers may be connected together and posted
16. greatest demand
17. famous adam
18. edge's edges
19. paper tea
20. least fleet
21. bare
Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party /

Next up: tonight's Crypto-Gremlin.

Crypto-Gremlins are a special type of cryptogram which can't be solved by online programs which run through all the possible letter substitutions but which can be solved by careful reasoning.

The reason simply running through all the possible letter substitutions doesn't work is that before encoding a passage I alter the text so that every word begins with a consonant (or consonant sound) and that every word ends with a vowel (or vowel sound).  If the words don't naturally begin or end that way, I add letters of my choosing to make sure they do.

You can find a detailed explanation of the rules of Crypto-Gremlins here, and you can find a step-by-step demonstration of how to solve a Crypto-Gremlin here.

Lamb tip guadly tip'sy gii reboot gi ky cymmyxgazy, tip'zy dyzysa kyydi xadb guy hbslp naguy fb eirvpagi.

* rawdbgpsy jima ebstllt

Helpful Hints:

  • (a) Go to the American Cryptogram Association site and copy the text of the Crypto-Gremlin into the box of the handy letter-substitution tool they provide.
  • (b) A good starting point in solving Crypto-Gremlins is to make a list of all the final letters of the encrypted words. This gives you a list of the vowels.
  • (c) Another good starting point is to look over the encrypted text to see if there are any 3-letter words. If there's one with pattern consonant-consonant vowel there's a good chance it's THE; if there's one with pattern vowel-vowel-vowel it's almost certainly YOU.
  • (d) The bolded text is a quote; the unbolded text provides the source of the quote.

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