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Time for a “Something Different” puzzle — with some hot triple- and quintuple-stack action! If you’re new to this kind of puzzle, here’s how it works: most of the answers are completely made up words and phrases that would never pass muster in standard crosswords, but you can still figure them out because the clues are straightforward enough to lead you to the correct answers. For instance, a clue like [Tool you might use to call a toy dog] might yield the answer PUG WHISTLE. The short answers are usually legitimate answers, so that’s where you should start to solve the grid. I wrote a couple of these puzzles last year, and it’s remarkably fun to create them — the vast, wide open space in the grid allows you to jam in some really insane answers, and the clues are just as crazy. Trip Payne has made other “Something Different” grids that you can check out here.

In other puzzle news: the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is next week in Stamford, Connecticut. If you’re attending, come say hi to me there. That’s an order.

Enjoy the puzzle. There will be a new one on March 28 (and I’ll be handing out copies at the ACPT).