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Well, of course it's here!  Where else would Sunday Puzzle Warm-Up be, other than Daily Kos on Saturday evening?

Hmmm... maybe the diary title refers to something else that's here? Not Halloween (that's already been and gone). Not Thanksgiving, Christmas, or single payer (those are still in the future). So what could it be...?

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 posts Sunday evenings at 8 pm Eastern time. (And tomorrow will be the monthly potluck puzzle party!)

These warm-up puzzles are intended to be new-puzzler-friendly. 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 is a JulieCrostic.  If you're not familiar with this kind of puzzle, don't panic; I'm about to provide you full instructions. (If you already know how JulieCrostics work you can skip directly to the clues for tonight's diary, at the bottom of tonight's diary)

First, to show you what a finished puzzle looks like, here's the completed grid for last week's  puzzle.


saw  H  Shaw  L  shawl  E  whales
get  A  gate  O  togae  E  goatee
ado  L  load  W  Waldo  N  And Low
The verticals read HAL   LOW   EEN.  With proper spacing and capitalization that spells out Halloween.
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.

Think you've got the idea? Then here's a brand-new puzzle all set for you to solve!

Tonight's puzzle has 4 rows, with 3 answers per row, for a total of 12 clues. Here they are. Have fun!

(And if you do enjoy tonight's puzzle, please check the diary list tomorrow night at this same time for the monthly Sunday Puzzle potluck puzzle party.)

 1. Communist dinner
 2. food closets
 3. gum flavor

 4. keeps
 5. official witnesses
 6. deep voices

 7. bury a second time
 8. Margaret Knight, for example
 9. come between

10. looking closely
11. most mad
12. eye-catching

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