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Normally I post puzzles on Saturday evening (easy puzzles for light diversion) and Sunday evening (harder puzzles suitable for group solving). But this is a special puzzle more suitable for posting today. I can't explain why without spoiling the puzzle, but it's something I hope even people who don't enjoy puzzles will get some benefit from.

Consider this a treasure hunt: when the puzzle is correctly solved it will lead you to a Daily Kos diary well worth reading (or re-reading, if you've read it before) and also to a very worthwhile newspaper article.

This is a difficult puzzle. I believe it will take a group effort to crack. But I think you will appreciate what it leads to.

Those of you who don't enjoy puzzles may still enjoy watching the solvers at work. Or, if that's not your idea of a good time, I suggest coming back later in the day to see the answer and to read the Daily Kos diary and newspaper article the answer leads to.

I mentioned this puzzle last night to the Sunday Puzzle regulars, and hope some of them will be able to show up this afternoon to take part in the solving. They are experts at this kind of puzzle. By working together folks should be able to find the answer in a reasonable amount of time.

I'll be around to provide help if needed (although I'll be doing other things periodically, so it may take me a while to see a comment and respond).

I hope you enjoy the puzzle and what it leads to. Good luck with solving, and I hope to see you in comments.

This puzzle is a JulieCrostic  -- named after Julie Waters, the founder of Sunday Puzzle.

If you're not familiar with this kind of puzzle, don't worry. The basic rules are fairly simple. I'll explain them directly below the clues.

1. ultimate ninja
2. not nick charles originally
3. primary clue
4. for the most part
5. french spoon
6. james roderick, rj
7. follower of lions and tigers
8. "Human rights violation continue at an alarming rate, our criminal justice system is not working well, our economy is in bad shape, and climate change is a looming disaster. What should we do?"
"Elect Rand Paul president!"
9. long step
10. kick-ass character
11. important exams
12. between two banks
13. sparkling toilet
14. british jumper
15. candy container
16. streams of liquid shooting out of small apertures
17. rules
18. green world tour poster
19. continuing after a break
20. dessert toppings
21. small bed
22. sang joyful songs
23. arrested
24. penned
25. garnered
26. 2013-04-08 puzzle clue
27. fixed
28. long curtains
29. leaders of bosnia, latvia, and north korea
30. what "a lot" might be
What you do is solve the clues and write the answers in rows. Each row will have the same number of answers -- but how many answers there are per row is something you'll need to figure out.

Each word in a row contains all the letters of the word to its left, 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.  

Here's an example of what a completed puzzle looks like:

rains  T  trains  A  tsarina
paper  A  appear  L  apparel
caper  M  camper  D  cramped
crane  M  Carmen  W  crewman
wades  Y  swayed  I  wayside
Dukes  B  busked  N  debunks
The puzzle in the example is 3 x 6 puzzle (3 answers per row, 6 rows), with word lengths 5-6-7. And as you can see the verticals read TAMMYB  ALDWIN -- which, when properly spaced, spells out Tammy Baldwin.

Got the idea? (If not, ask and I or another Sunday Puzzle person can probably explain.)

A few things you should be warned about:

(1) I always bunch the clues in groups of 3, regardless of how many answers there are in a row. Sometimes there are 3 answers per row (as in the example) but often there are not. There may be 4 answers per row, 5 answers per row --and at least once the grid has had 6 answers per row! So you'll need to figure out how many answers there are per row and re-group the clues accordingly.
(2.) If the number of clues does not come out evenly divisible by 3, I add spaceholder clues at the end of the clue list to fill out the last bundle. These are clues the answers to which are things such as void, or empty, or vacant, or blank, etc.
(3.) Capitalization has been removed, so you'll need to provide your own. So beware: a word which looks like a common noun may actually be someone's name (and vice versa)!
4. On occasion I take out punctuation which should be there or add in punctuation which shouldn't, altering the apparent meaning of the clue. So if a clue is giving you a lot of difficulty, consider alternate ways it might be punctuated.
5. Even without the capitalization and punctuation alterations, some of these clues are devious. About half the clues in this puzzle are straightforward synonyms or definitions. As for the others... well, let's just say a French-English dictionary probably won't be of much help in solving # 5.
6. Two of the answers in tonight's puzzle are more familiar to speakers of English than to speakers of American.
7. Being a comics fan, I occasionally toss in a clue which will be easier to crack if you know a little comics trivia (or are able to look it up).
Okay, that's enough blather from me. Enjoy the puzzle. And don't forget: when you've solved the verticals, Google the words you get. The top hit you get should be a Daily Kos diary -- one well worth reading (or re-reading, if you've read it before). A little lower down the Google list will be a newspaper article, also well worth reading (or re-reading.) After the puzzle is solved I'll post both these links in a comment.

Originally posted to Nova Land on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 10:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA, Kossacks helping each other, Protest Music, and Sunday Puzzle.

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