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Man. In the last three days I think I started and stopped maybe ten drafts of various puzzles that I had considered for today’s offering before settling on this one, several of which had completely different gimmicks. In fact, even before I could fill the puzzle and clue it (which obviously take a while too), just getting theme entries that I liked and a grid shape that I could work with were major struggles. I’ve got incomplete drafts of grids with 15×15, 17×17, 19×19, 15×17, and 12×19 (?!) dimensions still open on my computer. The final product has 79 words and is 16×15 in shape, in part because 12-letter answers can be a massive pain in the ass in normal-sized grids. Besides, it’s my house, so I’ll do whatever I want here.

When you’re done solving, feel free to add some similar potential theme entries of your own — there are some good ones I had to scrap, and there are almost certainly several fun ones that I missed entirely.

In other news, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is coming up in just two weekends. I will be in attendance, so come say hi to me there. I’ll also be handing out some materials about the Indie 500 Crossword Tournament for anyone who wants more information. Speaking of which, have you signed up for said awesome inaugural tourney run by a five-man indie puzzle conglomerate yet? Go do it here. If you’re still on the fence, allow me to submit Exhibit A for why you should go: There Will Be Pie. Yup, those four words oughta get you all excited, just like the words There Will Be Pi make math nerds everywhere salivate, especially today…..or maybe they’re salivating over actual pie. Probably both.

(Hat-tip to Matt Gaffney for his fine shout-out about the Indie 500 yesterday.)

Enjoy today’s puzzle. There will be a new one on March 21.