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  • Writer's pictureLyle Broughton

Fairground Attractions

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

This puzzle is actually the first "real" puzzle I made, back in August 2020. So far both puzzles I've posted here have been themed, and this one is no different, but this is more of a Monday-level theme. So hopefully you find it light and breezy, and most importantly, fun. :)

I submitted this to the NYT back in August, and got my (very nice!) rejection email in November. I'm only posting this puzzle now because it was caught up in email limbo, waiting on a response from the WSJ. Finally, last night I got the "No" I was waiting for, so I'm excited to share this puzzle here instead!


Despite being rejected from two publications, I still think it's worthy of sharing. Plus I've done a secondary pass through the clues, to give some a bit more spice. Enjoy!


Spoilers and details underneath the puzzle...

Fairground Attractions
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-SPOILERS-

A few years ago, I built a crossword (or more accurately, "words that cross") puzzle in which every answer in the grid appeared somewhere in the clue for a different word, forming a loop. (If you're feeling adventurous, you can give it a shot here.)

One of the words was CRUISE, which I decided to clue as [Carnival ride?] (well, really [23-Across ride?] because of the whole gimmick). The gimmick is actually important here, since the word CARNIVAL also appeared in the grid, but the clue I gave it was [Western Christian festival famous for costumes, parades, and street parties]. So if you're keeping track, that's three meanings of "carnival ride" all in the same puzzle: the literal, misdirect meaning ([Carnival ride]); the wordplay ? meaning ([Carnival ride?]); and the meaning referenced elsewhere in the puzzle.

From there it was easy to make the connection that [Carnival ride] could point to three distinct things, one in a literal way (ROLLER COASTER) and two in a more wordplay-type way (PARADE FLOAT & CRUISE LINER). Initially I wanted to have 3 themers, each one clued the same way (with and without the ? as needed), but once I realized I could use CARNIVAL RIDES in the grid itself as the revealer, everything clicked together.

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