June 18, 2020 - "Themeless" #8 - by Julie Bérubé

Difficulty ● ● ● ● ●

Puzzle Notes

Dear friends,

For all of Pride Month, the Inkubator is amplifying the work of organizations focused on justice and representation in the queer community. Check out The Ali Forney Center, which helps homeless LGBTQ+ youth and empowers them with the tools needed to live independently. This week's constructor, Julie Bérubé, would like to highlight 500 Queer Scientists, a visibility campaign for LGBTQ+ people and their allies working in STEM and STEM-supporting jobs.

Julie's puzzle, "Themeless" #8, is on the challenging end of the Inkubator's difficulty spectrum. Julie has since childhood loved words, and word games ... in French. And she still plays 'au Scrabble' with her siblings and parents -- happily, the letter Z is much easier to place in French, and worth just as much as it is in English. When graduate studies brought her to the States, she was introduced to the NYT crosswords ... and found that these have a different feel from their counterparts in Montréal's "La Presse." As years and Sunday NYT puzzle-books went by, the temptation to try her hand at puzzle composition was irresistible. Soon, innumerable hours with grids, Google, and Crossword Compiler had gone by. It's all for the fun of it, but it is nice to be published, too -- so, she thanks Inkubator! She wishes she had more time to devote to this all important pastime ... But there is work: not words, but statistics. She also plays violin: she had been practicing in preparation for a few summer weeks in Québec with music- and word-playing siblings. But coronavirus ... The summer still contains gardening, words, plumbing and the laying of tiles (ceramic, not Scrabble), words, knitting, words, reading, words, and playing Zoom Boggle with the word-playing grown-up offspring.

When you're done solving, check out Diary of a Crossword Fiend for a write-up and discussion, every Friday after an Inkubator puzzle is published. For general updates, follow us on twitter at @InkubatorXWords, and visit our website. Thanks to all of our subscribers for your continuing support, feedback, and kindness!

In the queue, one week from today, we bring you a bonus cryptic from the enigmatic Sara Goodchild.

All best,
Laura and Tracy