Eyes Open: Puzzle #2


Welcome to the second puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests. I have titled this puzzle “Doctor’s Appointment, Corner Office.”

With both the recent protests and the Coronavirus crisis on my mind, for this puzzle I wanted to educate myself on the history of Black and African-American medical professionals, particularly those who were the first to break certain barriers in the medical field.

I started to research and read about the hardworking, pioneering efforts of these individuals to crash through glass ceilings and bring medical care to underprivileged and underserved communities, and I rapidly discovered more names than I could reasonably include in a single puzzle.

So I decided to focus on female Black and African-American doctors in order to build my word list. Many of the names I had never heard of, and I consider everything that went into this puzzle a very worthwhile experience. (I am definitely considering returning to this subject in the future and dedicating a puzzle to male Black and African-American doctors.)

I also got a little playful with the grid. I liked the idea of taking the concept of the corner office — a symbol of success in many industries — and working it into the puzzle both visually (in the upper right and lower left corners) and in terms of placing the theme entries. Having two of these important and influential individuals meeting and overlapping in the upper left and lower right corners felt right.

As an extra treat, I included the first names of two more doctors from my list in the center of the grid, reading down. It not only allowed me to shine the spotlight on a few more names, but to shamelessly make a pun about these doctors as “the centers of disease control.” The potential for wordplay was there, and I couldn’t resist, even if it was only for me.

I hope this puzzle serves to both engage you as a solver and encourage you to learn more about this topic on your own.

pn pt puzzle 2b image

[Click this link to download a PDF of this puzzle.]

If you have suggestions for more topics for me to cover in future puzzles, please let me know. If you’re a person of color and you’d like to share a puzzle of your own, or to collaborate with me on a puzzle, please let me know.

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, and you have ideas, please let me know. If you’re a trans person, or a non-binary individual, and you feel underrepresented in puzzles, please let me know.

I would like this to become something bigger, but hopefully, this is at the very least a start.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for standing up, speaking up, and fighting the good fight.

Support LGBTQIA+ people.
Believe women.
Black lives matter.

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