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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 (which now posts on Friday).

This is Mystery Month, during which I'll be using these puzzles to spotlight great mysteries. Some of the books will be well-known classics; others will be little-known gems.

Last night Mystery Month crossed over into the regular Sunday Puzzle diary. This week's topic in Monday Murder Mystery was mysteries set during World War II. I noticed that one of my favorite series set during that time wasn't included -- but rather than post about it in a comment, I decided to save it for use in last night's puzzle. If you're curious, check it out...

But first, perhaps you'd like to try your hand at solving tonight's puzzle. It's waiting for you right below the orange squiggle.

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

There are 5 rows (with 4 answers per row) in tonight's puzzle. Here are the clues:

 1. location
 2. tiny critters
 3. thwart
 4. what the gremlins sometimps make me do

 5. confined
 6. unqualified to do the job (like certain Republicans office-holders)
 7. guys who work in holes
 8. might be found inside an olive

 9. challenge
10. prepares to take part in Monday Murder Mystery
11. ropes of hair
12. talk to

13. evened the score
14. low-sodium, gluten-free, and raw foods
15. neatens
16. Venus and Mars

17. last name of Collins' Michael
18. member of a famous musical trio
19. annoy
20. defaults

If you're not familiar with this kind of puzzle, here's an explanation of how they work. And immediately following the explanation, you'll find an example of what a completed puzzle looks like.

An Explanation of JulieCrostics

What you do is solve the clues and write the answers in rows. (Tonight's puzzle has 5 rows, 4 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. The object of the puzzle is to solve all the clues and read the vertical message.

All the rows have the same word-length pattern. If the first answer in one row has 5 letters, then the first answer in all the rows will have 5 letters. For example, here's the answer diagram for last week's puzzle. That was a 7 x 3 puzzle (7 rows, 3 answers per row).
pea G  gape  S  pages
hut R  hurt  T  truth
ins E  sine  E  seine
rob A  boar  R  arbor
fed T  deft  I  fetid
lap M  palm  E  ample
car Y  racy  S  scary
The verticals read GREATMY  STERIES -- which, when properly spaced, spells out great mysteries.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    puzzled, Shahryar, pucklady, science

    9 out of 10 of Republicans have never visited Sunday Puzzle

    by Nova Land on Sat May 11, 2013 at 05:00:10 PM PDT

  •  13 through 16 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pucklady, puzzled, Nova Land, science

    tied, diets, tidies, deities

    have to run to the store. I'm expecting this to be done by the time I return.

  •  forgot to mention in the diary: hint on 17 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sunday Puzzle clues often feature references to political figures, social activists, protest music, great literary works, and other things I hope will be of interest to Kossacks. (And by great literary works, I of course mean comic books.)

    To celebrate mystery month, I'll be trying to work mystery-related references into the clues this month. Last night, for instance, one of the clues was

    6. mystery joe
    Clue 17 tonight is another one which should be a little easier to crack if you're a mystery buff:
    17. last name of Collins' Michael

    9 out of 10 of Republicans have never visited Sunday Puzzle

    by Nova Land on Sat May 11, 2013 at 05:22:53 PM PDT

  •  hmm, puzzle must be harder than I intended... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The only row I thought you'd need to crack the verticals to solve is row 2. All the others contain at least one clue which I thought would be solved almost immediately once you figured out the word lengths to look for.

    Y'all have cracked row 4 already. (I figured clue # 14 would be an easy starting point and the rest of that row would flow easily from there.)

    In the first row, clues 1 and 2 should be easy to crack.

    In the third row, clue 9 is a good starting point (and should quickly give you 10 and 12, though you may need to ponder a few moments longer to get 11).

    In the fifth row, go for the obvious on # 18.

    If you're a mystery buff, that should give you enough to crack the verticals. It's the title of a true classic, a very well-written book which even folks who aren't into mysteries can enjoy.

    9 out of 10 of Republicans have never visited Sunday Puzzle

    by Nova Land on Sat May 11, 2013 at 06:04:14 PM PDT

  •  1 through 4 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    science, Nova Land

    site, mites, stymie, mistype

  •  18 and 19, anyway... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    science, Nova Land

    don't know 17, still working on 20

    18 - Peter
    19 - pester

  •  9, 10, 12 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, science

    dare, reads,...,address

    so 11 is some combo of r-e-a-d-s-d oh....dreads. got it.

  •  there's a fun moment when you know you're ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, science

    on the right train of thought.

    Like for 5 through 8...

    I had pimento, worked that into pit men (which seemed odd), but then that leads to inept. It was when I got inept that I knew the others were correct. Now to figure out "challenge". Pine? Pint? Those make no sense. It's in here somewhere.

  •  17 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, WheninRome, science


    I'd have never gotten that pre-google. Ms. Tree, I see.

    •  yes [quick DKU note...] (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shahryar, science

      Back in 1981 Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty created Ms. Tree, a hard-boiled female private detective. She appeared in comics (from 4 different companies!) for about 12 years, and 6 years ago starred in her own paperback novel. Her full name was Michael Tree.

      Max Allan Collins has written numerous books (as well as writing the Dick Tracy comic strip for a number of years after series creator Chet Gould died). His series characters include Nolan, Quarry, Mallory, Elliot Ness and Dick Tracy, but he is probably best known for his series of historical mysteries starring Nate Heller.

      9 out of 10 of Republicans have never visited Sunday Puzzle

      by Nova Land on Sat May 11, 2013 at 06:57:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  note to science (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, science

    feel free to throw us a life preserver every once in awhile! :-)

    I know you can do these pretty easily. When we get stuck, don't be too shy about helping us along. In any case, I always feel good about getting one of your recs when I stumble into the right word.

  •  Solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land

    The answer is the title of a mystery.  It's a somewhat obscure one; once I thought I knew it I had to check Wikipedia to confirm that the book actually exists.  I still don't know the correct answer for 17, but it's Tree or some anagram of the same.  The next three are Peter,  pester, and presets.

    •  [the author] is one of the all-time greats... (0+ / 0-)
      The answer is the title of a mystery.  It's a somewhat obscure one...
      You're right, Josephine Tey's books are considered somewhat obscure nowadays. And that's a pity. She's one of the all-time great mystery writers.

      Here's what the UK's Fantastic Fiction site says in their author listing for her:

      Josephine Tey is one of the best-known and best-loved of all crime writers. She began to write full-time after the successful publication of her first novel, The Man in the Queue (1929), which introduced Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard. In 1937 she returned to crime writing with A Shilling for Candles, but it wasn't until after the Second World War that the majority of her crime novels were published. Josephine Tey died in 1952, leaving her entire estate to the National Trust.
      And here's an excerpt from  the write-up on her at MysteryNet.Com:
      Although she wrote only a dozen novels, her reputation as a crime writer is secure. H. F. R. Keating included two of them, The Franchise Affair (1948) and The Daughter of Time (1951)--for which she is still best remembered--in his Crime & Mystery: The 100 Best Books. Robert Barnard remarks that Tey's enduring fame rests on the love with which her readers regard her books. Unlike the usual writers of puzzle-plots she was not content with formula and managed to tell different sorts of stories in different ways. In doing so she often disregarded the conventions of the whodunit, producing books that Barnard describes as resting in the hinterlands between the crime novel and the "novel proper." "They all have crime at their heart," he notes, "but they are as far as possible from the 'body in the library' formula"...
      New editions of most of her books were published in the mid-to-late 1990s; and used copies are easily available at very reasonable prices, for anyone who'd like to sample these delightful books. Almost all her books are well worth reading, but Miss Pym Disposes is my personal favorite and I highly recommend it.

      9 out of 10 of Republicans have never visited Sunday Puzzle

      by Nova Land on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:36:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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