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All my puzzle friends were tweeting this morning about Francis Heaney's crossword in the New York Times. I know Francis and know he has good taste in puzzles, so I thought I'd check it out.

We needed some things at the drug store anyway, so I walked down to Davis Square (15 minutes) to pick up those things and get the paper while I was at it. The paper seemed kind of small but I don't really know the NYT very well.

Got home, got ready to puzzle, and could not find it. The front page referred to an "arts and leisure" section, and I didn't have that. I got a defective Times! So, back down to the Square with my paper and my receipt.

I had bought one of two copies in the store - but BOTH copies were missing the same sections. Happily they refunded my purchase in cash. Walked over to the Indian grocery (turns out we needed coconut milk too) and they had complete editions of the Times - turns out about half the paper was missing from the drug store version! Verified that there was indeed a crossword in there with Francis's name on it. Got the bus home just so I didn't have to walk up the hill again.

Was it worth it? Yes! Not to spoil much, but this was a great theme. It wasn't one of the all-too-common "change a common phrase slightly" themes, but something where there was a real wordplay element going on in both directions. The real-world knowledge required was cleverly embedded in the grid (handy in two cases for me), which is always nice to see. Great job, Francis!

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