Dear Editor,

I’ve been a long-time reader and I was very disappointed with your recent crossword puzzle, especially after seeing the purported solution. First of all, I question the wisdom of having a puzzle where you’re told to remove one letter from each word before entering it in the grid. What’s the point of that? And also I’m a stickler for crossword conventions, so I can’t let it pass unmentioned that the central square in your 9x9 grid has no down clue passing through it. The choice to have a few black squares in the first line preceding square 1 is also questionable.

But my biggest complaint is with the clues themselves. I could go through every single one and explain why the capitalized answer in your solution lists is completely nonsensical, or perhaps only corresponds to a portion of the clue. In fact, maybe I’ll just do that.

  • 1A So…the clue here is ‘Acquire a near miss.’ But I don’t see how you can get the answer of EARN out of having someone “acquire” a narrowly avoided collision.
  • 4A Sure, a YAP is a particular type of “bark”, to quote a portion of your clue, but is it really one that’s done in revenge?
  • 6A What is even going on here? Someone sermonizes but isn’t entitled to have “fruit”? I guess PEACHES is that fruit but I’m lost with why.
  • 10A Oh man, I love PHIL, or “singer Collins” as you call him! How could anyone ever get tired of his music being played?
  • 12A No clue why this one is DEARTH, but this is reminding me of my “insufficiency” at fixing my jammed sewing machine. Grr...
  • 13A I admit I’m not familiar with Middle Eastern cellular companies but is this one’s “nemesis” really named ENEMY? That can’t be good for business.
  • 15A So... I’m supposed to “glance” at the cartoon skunk? I’d rather PEEP at that cat he chases.
  • 16A Sure, a “nettender” will encourage their team, but I don’t think every GOALIE plays college soccer for the Flames in Tennessee.
  • 18A A specific “song”? I don’t have many albums from animated features, but it seems there would be more than one TUNE on them.
  • 20A I can understand any Boston fan who “hollers” or YELLS at their all-star outfielder who was signed away to the Yankees.
  • 23A So someone’s continuing to “supply” their side even when they’ve capitulated? It’s hard to RENDER a verdict on how I feel about this one.
  • 26A I’m in the market for a new pair of SKIS, but if acquiring some “alpine downhill footwear” means I have to get my soul sucked out in Azkaban, no thanks.
  • 27A Reading this about this “religious devotee” doing his job while drinking beer makes being an APOSTLE sound fun. A lot more than trying this crossword was.
  • 29A Huh? The “fellows” of quantities like 5, 37, 167, and 691 are... all MEN? Is math the popular thing among guys these days?
  • 30A The value of a bond held until the call date doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with a SEED. The author of these is definitely a “nut, for one”.
  • 1D Hey! I get that “once around the track” is a LAP, but don’t tell me to go clockwise, buddy!
  • 2D I guess a buck or doe might eat a “bog stick”, but it’s a bit silly to think they’d point the roots of a REED towards the sky.
  • 3D Who is this NATE guy and am I to believe he’s accusing the first woman in space of sneaking “silver” onboard her flight?
  • 4D She’s not my TYPE, but I appreciate the “style” of that 2017 album Witness.
  • 5D So a PINE “tree” is not even a vertebrate creature, obviously it doesn’t have scoliosis.
  • 7D I feel bad for these HARPIES or “bird women”, their markers are going to dry out if they lose the caps.
  • 8D I’ve never been to a “lake” in Cleveland or Buffalo, so I can’t relate to the author who says he was in ERIE once in the past.
  • 9D No, Dorothy’s metal friend from Oz is not a “League of Legends Character”, and he wasn’t named SHEN.
  • 11D You want offers of some exemplars of “stories” of LEGENDS, huh? Try how legendarily bad this clue is!
  • 14D EMO is not my favorite “rock style”, but I bet this cocktail from The Simpsons would make it more palatable (and probably make these clues easier to read, too!)
  • 17D I’ll agree that the lead singer of Electric Light Orchestra is pretty FLY, but does he really “glide”?
  • 18D A “journey” without pants is a rubbish idea for a TRIP, I agree. But this still isn’t a good clue.
  • 19D Okay, you can make all of the proclamations you want, but I won’t believe that NEON nor any other “noble gas” would be able to support a leg joint atop it.
  • 21D LIKE Malcolm X after his Hajj? I’m not sure I know of anyone “similar”.
  • 22D Ugh, I hate LINT, and I never want to get “clothing fluff” anywhere near my digestive tract.
  • 24D Is this saying DITS and “Dashes’ partner”, whoever they are, can fix the light body damage on my car?
  • 25D I once had the ROLE where I had to take a record of attendance - I had to “position” myself to the front of the class.
  • 28D Whew, we’re finally at the END of our list! Which apparently has something to do with the “terminus” of some boulders at Gettysburg.

And finally, what am I supposed to do with these blanks?

Mrs. Z. Pointe