1. Just read that the constructor is a high school student, in which context this puzzle is very impressive. I wish he'd had a bit better guidance from the editor though. [I also wish the theme entries that didn't survive had made it in—I liked those better than a couple that did.]

  2. I really like younger crossword puzzlers. Seemed odd to me, however, that an 18yo would include a clue referencing Erma Bombeck?? (And not even a necessary reference to Erma Bombeck.)

  3. Did you ever see a doctor about this? Curious what you found out.

  4. I haven't seen a dermatologist yet. Tbh, without some other skin issue, I think I would feel embarrassed to make an appointment just to ask about nails. But I'm working separately with a spine doctor about chronic back pain and I'm suspicious about whether the two things are related, perhaps in an inflammatory/rheumatological way. If I ever learn anything definitive, I'll try to reply again. 🙂

  5. It’s a wide range of topics! How would you like your blog readers to find you? Is there a certain lifestyle that you’re wanting to portray?

  6. When I had to wear retainers during Invisalign that really helped me kick the habit more (still bite the lips sometimes but not the cheeks anymore) bc it was physically impossible to bite them with it on, so if you have retainers I think that really helps. Or you could try chewing gum or like a chewing necklace, If you need that mouth stim kinda thing

  7. The clear plastic retainer makes it impossible to bite anything! Even if you aren't interested in shifting your teeth, you could still ask your regular dentist to make you a thin tray. Explain you need help stopping nail/cheek biting. There are also (possibly shadier) websites that will make these for cheap after sending you an impression kit by mail.

  8. If you decide to have children, I think you need to focus on both living in the same city. The idea of part time parenting will kill your relationship. In all likelihood, the baby will be with mother. Mother will then assume a lot more parenting responsibility ALONE when you're not around. This will also impact her career. Parenting can be extremely challenging and having 2 people in the same house to tag-team responsibility is ideal.

  9. Your baseline instruction for this row is to dc across, including in spaces. In addition, you need to build in 8 increases at about the same areas you previously increased. The prior rows use 2 dcs in one stitch to increase, so I would match that. You should end up with an overall +8 increase in your stitch count after row 7.

  10. I ran out to get my Sunday edition this morning... Only to find the special Puzzles section MISSING from my paper!! Grrr! Had to hunt it down at Walgreens instead.

  11. Del Taco. It’s an amazingly stupid west coast fast food place but having moved here from the Rockies I miss their beyond meat tacos. Lol

  12. In that same vein, I'd gladly take a Jack in the Box (curly fries!) and a Smoothie King (vegan nutty super grain!)

  13. I am a nurse practitioner and my husband is a physician. We live in a modest house where the mortgage payment is less than the apartment we rented two years ago. We have modest cars that are fully paid off. We live in the Chicago suburbs, which I would say is a moderately high cost of living area. We don’t take tons of vacations or buy super extravagant stuff. The ONLY reason we are doing okay right now is because of the student loan pause. Once those payments resume, it will be tight. Like the only reason we’re putting off having a second child is because it seems impossible to set aside another $500 a week for daycare.

  14. I'm a lawyer and my partner is a professor, both respected jobs that you would expect to be able to easily support a family. And yet we're feeling the crunch, mostly bc of childcare and groceries. I'm fortunate to have paid off my loans but I have plenty of colleagues from law school whose only hope of getting out of debt is working 10 years in public interest (no money) to get their loans discharged by the government.

  15. Add cat ears, a tail, and whiskers. Voila, you are now Avocato.

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