Puzzle 7: Freestyle 4. It’s a Festivus miracle!

Last week’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.57

For all who celebrate, I hope everybody has had a fantastic Hanukkah… and for all who celebrate, best wishes for a superb Christmas! (I’m nothing if not helpful… I’ve included an idea for a present straight through the middle of this grid!)

Happy Birthday Mom!

I want to get this out of the way first: I know there’s a word in one of my clues that’s also an entry elsewhere in the puzzle… but I liked the clue so much that I had to use it!

This was another case of not seeing a dupe that was in front of my face the whole time… it’s the whole reason there’s a pair of cheaters. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) To add another layer of intrigue to that situation, that dupe is the same dupe between the answer and the clue I mentioned above. Luckily, it was such an easy fix that I hardly broke a sweat over it. It’s not an optimal situation when there are only one or two ways into a section — in other words, when a single black square could close off a section of the grid entirely — but I’m not going to avoid that situation on purpose if it makes for a better puzzle. In this case, it made it much easier to fix that dupe.

You’ll notice that I cross-referred 22-Across and 23-Across to each other. A rule of thumb that I follow is that just because you CAN cross-refer one answer to another doesn’t mean you SHOULD. I only cross-refer when the connection is just so obvious that it can’t be left alone, or — in this case — when the answers are right next to each other in the clue list and the connection is more than just tenuous.

One more thing you must know about this puzzle is why I referred to Raffi in the clue for 45-Down. Once I got to that section, that answer was NOT being removed, no matter what, once I discovered that the answer fit. The reason is that I grew up with Raffi, as I hope many of you have done too. I have many fond memories of his songs. I can still sing along with so many of them!

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is that quote in the clue for 65-Across. What an absolute gem.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? What kind of sick person coats a man’s razor blade with vinegar? Whaddaya say we go back to my place with our iPads so we can take advantage of my smooth WiFi connection to play a rousing game of Words With Friends? Do you know the Muffin Man?

As always, share this link! Pass it around! Since we’re in the season for giving, I’ll have a new crossword puzzle on Friday!

 

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