Eyes Open: Puzzle #6

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Welcome to the latest puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests.

In today’s puzzle, we turn our attention to a different social movement to support other marginalized members of our society.

This week, news broke regarding the upcoming season of the latest Star Trek show and the decision to represent two long-ignored groups through both the actors cast and the characters they will be portraying.

This is a wonderful step forward in exposure for individuals and groups who are rarely allotted any screen time at all, offering a platform to inform, educate, and celebrate personal identity and gender diversity.

Star Trek has been synonymous with inclusivity for decades now, so it’s wonderful to see that tradition continue into the 21st century.

The Original Series famously featured one of the first interracial kisses on American television. After planning to leave the show after the first season, actress Nichelle Nichols was convinced by none other than Martin Luther King Jr. to continue working on the show:

Star Trek: The Next Generation continued to ask difficult questions and provide a platform for representation. Gender fluidity was brought to the fore in one episode where Dr. Crusher fell in love with a male Trill diplomat. The Trill are a symbiotic species where the host body can change, so later, when her partner is transplanted into a female body, the question of gender identity is examined.

In another episode, the Enterprise encounters an alien race with no specified gender, and “deviant” members of the society who identify as one gender or another are persecuted. The episode was a powerful conversation starter, one that served not only as a metaphor for the LGBTQIA+ community, but for gender identity as well.

Deep Space Nine continued to push forward, bringing back the Trill in the form of series regular Jadzia Dax, a Trill who had been both male and female in previous forms. Her heartfelt reunion with an old Klingon friend became a meme of positivity and acceptance years later for transgender individuals:

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And now, the newest iteration of the long-running franchise continues to push forward, helping to bring underrepresented and long-dismissed groups into the mainstream. In a time where many groups feel persecuted and unheard, it’s nice to focus, if only for a moment, on a positive story like this.

There’s no trick or gimmick to this grid. It’s simply a celebration of representation and potential, two things that the Star Trek franchise have embraced for decades, and continue to welcome with open arms.

I hope this puzzle serves to both engage you as a solver and encourage you to learn more about these wonderful actors and characters on your own, as well as the topic of gender identity.

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[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.

Eyes Open: Puzzle #5

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Welcome to the latest puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests.

The puzzle I intended to post today wasn’t ready for print, unfortunately. But thankfully, inspiration struck in the form of a woman who made history this week, and hopefully will do so again in a few months.

I know that this individual can be a controversial figure based on your own personal beliefs, particularly with regard to some of the laws she has sponsored in the past — one of which is mentioned in this puzzle — but there is no denying that her influence, character, and spirit are worthy of celebration in crossword form.

There’s no trick or gimmick to this grid. It’s a straightforward exploration of an intriguing individual at a crucial moment in our country’s history, populated with some details about her career.

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

eyes open 5 puzzle 1 revised pic

[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.

Eyes Open: Puzzle #4

CHSBLMJune82020-28

Welcome to the latest puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests.

The civil rights movement recently lost an important, influential person, a genuine icon for equality, perseverance, and hope. I had been working on a puzzle about this gentleman already, and his passing galvanized my resolve to finish this particular crossword.

I wanted to celebrate not only his legacy, but the legacy of another proud resister who stood for the same values and withstood the same blows, both physical and mental, to champion for equal rights and representation.

I also purposely abandoned the traditional diagonal symmetry of crosswords for left-right symmetry as part of a visual design element and thematic element to the puzzle. Solving the puzzle will not only reveal the subject of the puzzle (through the circled letters) and celebrate his incredible efforts, but offer a small, yet hopefully fitting tribute as well.

Even the title, “Because of you, John.” — inspired by President Obama’s words to the man himself — is meant in tribute.

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

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[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.

Eyes Open: Puzzle #3

CHSBLMJune82020-28

Welcome to the latest puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests. I have titled this puzzle “First Name Basis.”

My first two puzzles, as well as some of the puzzles I’m working on for the weeks and months ahead, have been focused on educating myself and others.

But as I researched and planned and began work on each idea, I kept encountering news stories. Updates. Trial notes. All about the men and women of color victimized by the police. So I decided to turn my attention for this puzzle to Black and African-American people killed by law enforcement.

You’ll know some of the names in this puzzle. You might know most of them. Many of them were new to me. As I worked on this puzzle, I began to know them on a first-name basis. And I thought you should as well.

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So, as we search for new ways to purge the prejudices and mistakes of the past and embrace a better way going forward, please solve this word search where the first names of nearly 50 victims have been placed.

Once you’re done, read the remaining letters in order for an appropriate message concealed in the grid.

I hope this puzzles to both engage you as a solver and encourage you to learn more about these people on your own. (Here are some of the links I used to get started.)

eyes open 3 image

[Click this link to download a PDF of this puzzle, which
includes news links for every person included in the 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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PuzzleNation’s 2019 Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide!

Happy Holidays and welcome to the PuzzleNation Blog 2019 Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide!

Each year, we scour the world of puzzles and games for the best, the most engaging, the most creative, and the most enjoyable products we can find, and we think this year’s collection is the best we’ve ever had!

We’ve got three different versions of the Gift Guide for your perusal, each of them absolutely loaded with all sorts of puzzly goodness and designed to make your puzzle and game shopping as easy as possible!

You can view the products in the Gift Guide organized by category, by age group, or in a randomized grab bag format!

So, if you’d like to view products sorted by category (puzzle games, board games, puzzle books, etc.), click the wreath!

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If you’d like to view products sorted by age group, click the penguin!

And if you’ve got a puzzle lover on your list and you’re not sure what to get them, you can stroll through a wonderful mixed bag of products by clicking the crossword tree!

A lot of terrific companies and puzzle constructors are taking part in our gift guide this year, and we’re sure you’ll find something for every puzzle lover on your list!

Happy browsing and happy puzzling to you and yours!