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Welcome once again to Sunday Puzzle Warm-Up!

Every Sunday evening, at 8:30 New York time / 5:30 California time, we have a puzzle party featuring puzzles suitable for group solving. That's tomorrow night.

And every Saturday evening, at 8:30 New York time / 5:30 California time, we have a warm-up party to help folks get their brains in gear for Sunday. That's what this is.

If you haven't taken part in Sunday Puzzle before, tonight's diary is a good opportunity to become familiar with the kinds of puzzles we feature there. On tap tonight: a new JulieCrostic. Come on down and try your hand!

Last week's Sunday Puzzle featured an especially challenging JulieCrostic -- so challenging that the solving team hasn't finished solving it yet (although they're close).

I don't want to spoil the unsolved clues (or the verticals) so I'm trying to refrain from commenting too much in that diary. But tomorrow's Sunday Puzzle will provide help in the form of its JulieCrostic...

... and tonight's warm-up puzzle will provide a little bit of help in solving tomorrow's JulieCrostic.

What kind of help? Hmmm, perhaps I'd better keep my mouth shut and let you figure that out for yourselves tomorrow.

NOTE: If you're new and don't know what JulieCrostics are, don't panic. A full explanation of how these puzzles work, including an example of a solved puzzle, appears directly below the clues for tonight's puzzle.)

1. piece of property
2. missing
3. what Jim Greer did

4. state which may be taking up marriage equality in 2014
5. group which organized most of the Freedom Rides
6. smoke screen

7. commercials
8. helps
9. thoughts

10. what Bernanke is chief of
11. provide
12. liberated

13. related people or things
14. URL
15. walk provocatively

16. Rush Limbaugh
17. Supernatural angel
18. worst, best and nut

And here's some help with clue # 3 (in case you who don't want to have to Google): Jim Greer is a Republican.

(More specifically, he was chair of the Florida Republican Party before being removed from that office in 2010.)

Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party /

How to solve JulieCrostics

For those of you unfamiliar with this kind of puzzle, what you do is solve the clues and write the answers in rows. In tonight's puzzle there are 6 rows with 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.

As an example of how this works, here are the clues and answers to last week's puzzle:

Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party /

last week's puzzle:

 1. make
 2. What I've got
 3. Maya Angelou, William Golding, and Art Garfunkel

 4. KKK and Westboro Baptist Church
 5. circular decorations
 6. endures hard time and comes through it

 7. commonly used herb
 8. Bel Air, Malibu, and Tahoe
 9. accomplishes

10. sample of cloth
11. keeps an eye on
12. campaign fund

13. gems
14. tool for holding things together
15. records

the answer  to last week's puzzle:
create  S  a secret H  teachers
haters  W  wreaths  E  weathers
chives  E  Chevies A  achieves
swatch  E  watches  R  war chest
pearls  T  stapler  T  platters
The verticals read SWEET  HEART -- which, when properly spaced, spells sweetheart. Happy (week after) Valentine's Day!
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