There’s a crossword craze — and you can join in
Plus: Teen Talk Thanksgiving cheat sheet; News of the week — new state budget gives raises to government workers and cuts taxes — CMS adds staff to investigate Title IX allegations
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A crossword renaissance is happening across the country. Are you down for solving some Charlotte-themed puzzles?
◼️ 5 crossword puzzles, 5 Saturdays in a row
◼️ Answers to be revealed on Mondays
◼️ Solve this week’s crossword for a chance to win 6 free months of The Ledger or a $25 Harris Teeter gift card
◼️ Available in .pdf and .puz formats (below)
by Tim Whitmire
The Ledger’s new crossword puzzle feature, which I am pleased to introduce today, keeps the Ledger squarely on the cutting edge of 21st century trends.
No, that isn’t a typo.
Yes, the first American-style crossword puzzle premiered in the New York World newspaper in 1913. Yes, The New York Times ran its first crossword back in 1942.
In 2021, we’re living amid an unexpected Crossword Renaissance.
Recent years have seen a puzzling boom. The Times has expanded puzzle offerings and coverage, old-line publications like The New Yorker and The Atlantic have added (or reinstated) crosswords, often for online solvers, and independent Millennial and Gen Z crossword-makers — known as “constructors” — have sparked further growth.
The pandemic was a blessing for those of us who love word puzzles. Stuck inside with nothing to do, a lot of people turned to constructing. At the same time, many formerly in-person-only crossword tournaments were forced to go online, opening the competition to people (like me) who might have balked at getting on a plane to compete but were happy to spend a Saturday afternoon in front of the computer doing puzzles. For the last two summers, my college-age daughter has joined me in the Pairs category for the Lollapuzzoola tournament.
The backstory: Earlier this year, my worlds collided when I learned that a solver named Matt Gritzmacher had started a “Daily Crossword Links” newsletter on Substack (the same platform that has been home to the Ledger for almost three years now). This sort of central resource for online crossword solvers was something I had sought in vain when I first went in search of beyond-the-NYT resources in 2018. I was so excited about Matt’s newsletter that I reached out and volunteered my services as a consultant.
When Ledger founder Tony Mecia asked me over the summer for help launching a locally themed Ledger Crossword, I knew Matt could help us find a constructor who would bring some Carolinas flavor (a little smoke, a little vinegar, with a nice bark on the outside) to the puzzles.
Matt introduced me to Chris King, a Columbia-based constructor and author of several crossword collections. Chris was full of ideas for Charlotte- and Carolinas-themed puzzles and quickly authored an initial set of five that will run in The Ledger over the next few weekends. Chris sets the theme, fills the grid and writes the clues; my role as editor of these puzzles has been to offer suggestions for improvement.
In a few cases, I’ve been able to use my local knowledge to make the clues Charlotte-specific in some fun ways. To me, that’s at the heart of this project — in the same way that The Ledger taps into writers and a readership who value smart coverage of this city, I want the Ledger Crossword to appeal to readers who will get a chuckle out of some of the insider-ish clues and answers.
I’ve had so much fun doing this that I decided to have my consulting business, CXN Advisory, underwrite the puzzles as presenting sponsor; Tony and The Ledger have been a longtime client, and the Ledger Crossword is a direct outcome of the kind of creative growth and change management consulting around which I construct my professional practice.
We consider offering locally themed crosswords for the next five weeks to be part of The Ledger’s ongoing experiment to serve readers. If this feature is popular, we hope to keep it going, both with more puzzles by Chris and by offering an outlet for would-be constructors here in Charlotte. Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you have questions, comments or want to contribute.
A few final notes:
Difficulty: Chris and I have tried to pitch the difficulty at a moderate level, somewhere around a Tuesday or Wednesday New York Times puzzle.
Formats: Puzzles are available both as .pdf files that can be printed and solved with pencil (or pen, if you dare) or in .puz, the most widely-used online solving format.
Solutions: Solutions will run in the Ledger on Mondays, two days after the puzzles appear. As they are released, the puzzles and solutions will be on the Charlotte Ledger Crosswords page.
Week 1 contest: For the first puzzle, we’re adding an extra wrinkle — what is known as a “meta” puzzle. Once you’ve completed the crossword and get the theme (the five clues with the asterisk * by them), try to answer the “meta” question at the top of the puzzle PDF. If you know the answer, email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org before 7:30 a.m. on Monday (Nov. 22). Correct answers will be entered in a drawing for one of four six-month memberships to the Ledger (or an extension of an existing membership) and four $25 Harris Teeter gift cards.
.PDF (suitable for download and printing):
To print the .PDF file, on your computer, click on “Open Ledger Crossword - PDF” (above), then click download (the down arrow), then open file and print as you usually would.
.PUZ (suitable for use on tablets and computers with Across Lite app):
The .PUZ file, which lets you solve crosswords on a tablet or computer, is for use with an application called Across Lite. You need to download and install the app, then download the .PUZ file above (“Open Ledger Crossword - PUZ”), then open the app and use it to open the file on your tablet or computer.
Tim Whitmire is a 22-year resident of Charlotte, founder of CXN Advisory, and a contributing editor to the Ledger.
Today’s supporting sponsors are Soni Brendle…
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Teen Talk — Thanksgiving edition 🦃
For the last couple years, as an occasional Saturday feature, The Ledger has sought to bridge the generational divide by introducing readers to words that are popular among teenagers.
Today, we’re reviewing our lessons and giving you examples of how to use these words in Thanksgiving-related sentences — which will undoubtedly seal your status as the “cool” aunt, uncle, parent or grandparent this holiday. Catching up with relatives online? They also work great over Zoom. Printable download also available.
Bet: a phrase of affirmation used to express understanding, confirmation or acknowledgement; can be substituted with “for sure” or “sounds good.”
Boujee: luxurious, elite, rich
Bruh moment: a moment of embarrassment
Cap: a lie; to lie
Drip: fashionable and trendy clothing and accessories
Flex: to show off or boast, brag
Full send: to do something with no regard for the repercussions or consequences of the action. The action being taken is usually considered to be risky.
Highkey: adjective used to describe something that is obvious or public knowledge.
Lowkey: adjective used to describe something secretive, unexpected or felt to a low extent.
Hits different: when an experience or a thing is better than how it is typically, or affects you in a different way. Can also be used to emphasize something that’s extremely enjoyable.
Main character: a person who lives like they are the protagonist in a story
Periodt: an exclamation used at the end of a sentence or as a response to emphasize the point being made.
Salty: adjective used to describe being mildly annoyed, upset, bitter
Simp: a person, typically a male, who overly expresses affection and sympathy towards the person they like
Slaps: to be amazing or extraordinary
Stan: an enthusiastic or obsessive fan. Comes from combining the words “stalker” and “fan.”
Sus: adjective used to suggest that someone or something is suspicious, shady or questionable. It is usually used when someone does something that is considered bizarre or creepy.
Vibe: commonly used as a verb (vibin’, vibing), referring to a relaxed or “chill” state of mind
Yeet: To throw an object with great velocity
Now let’s use them in sentences…
Aunt Linda always makes the most boujee Brussels sprouts — she even drizzles them with truffle oil. And that’s no cap.
Uncle Simon tried to flex how many kitchen gadgets he has by flambe-ing the marshmallows on top of the sweet potato casserole. But it was a real bruh moment when he lit grandma’s tablecloth on fire.
Great-Grandma’s stuffing recipe really slaps.
I lowkey just show up at Thanksgiving for the food.
I’m highkey excited to make Aunt Linda mad by bringing up the election at the dinner table.
Don’t get salty at me just because I asked you to take out the trash.
Q: After dinner, want to go outside and try to walk off some of this turkey? A: Bet.
Wearing torn jeans to Thanksgiving dinner? I guess that’s the drip these days.
After you set the table, let’s go yeet the football around in the backyard while we wait for the food to be ready.
It was sus when Betty said she’d made the pecan pie, but then I found the Harris Teeter bakery box in the garage trashcan.
Mom keeps making us listen to “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack over and over. She’s such a Hugh Jackman stan.
Your girlfriend seems really nice. Why don’t you full-send it and propose to her at Christmas this year?
You need to stop vibin’ on the couch and get up and help with the dishes.
I like the sweet potato casseroles, but the one with the toasted marshmallows on top just hits different.
Jacob had a real main character moment when he told Aunt Karen to stop interrogating him about his nonexistent girlfriend.
That was the best turkey Dad has ever made! And that’s on periodt!
This seasoned mac-and-cheese is straight up bussin’.
Uncle Jim is such a simp for Aunt Bonnie: He literally made her breakfast in bed on Thanksgiving morning.
— The Bolling and Mecia families
Need a Teen Talk cheat sheet for Thanksgiving? Download a handy printable version here:
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This week in Charlotte: CMS changes how it will handle Title IX complaints; state budget raises workers pay and cuts taxes; Thanksgiving parade moves to Thanksgiving eve
On Saturdays, The Ledger sifts through the local news of the week and links to the top articles — even if they appeared somewhere else. We’ll help you get caught up. That’s what Saturdays are for.
CMS adds staff to investigate abuse allegations: (Observer) Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will hire more administrative staff to investigate sexual abuse allegations in schools, removing school principals from that responsibility. Superintendent Earnest Winston told reporters Friday that there’s money allocated for the positions in the district’s Title IX office through the end of the school year, but that he doesn’t know how many positions it’ll include or when they will start. CMS has faced a number of allegations from students who say they weren’t taken seriously by staff when they reported sexual abuse at school.
Budget signed: Gov. Roy Cooper signed a state budget that gives raises to public employees and cuts taxes, but it didn’t expand Medicaid as much as Democrats wanted. Businesses could feel the effects of lower corporate and personal taxes, a provision that allows write-offs of Paycheck Protection Program payments and the establishment of a fund to help hospitality-industry employers.
Covid boosters approved for all adults: (Observer) Federal regulators signed off Friday on Covid booster shots for all U.S. adults, which means the supplemental vaccinations could be available as soon as this weekend. People aged 18+ can get a booster of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines if they previously had those shots at least six months ago or if they had the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago.
Thanksgiving eve parade: (Spectrum News) The Novant Health Thanksgiving Eve Parade will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. along Tryon Street. It has previously been on Thanksgiving Day but moves this year to the night before.
From chicken to apartments: (Ledger) Developers say they’re planning a 30-story luxury apartment tower on the site of the old Price’s Chicken Coop on Camden Road in South End.
Plans for stalled hotel site on Stonewall: (Ledger 🔒) Years after plans to build a hotel on Stonewall Street within view of I-277 stalled, leaving behind odd-looking cinder block elevator towers, plans are in the works for that site to be developed. We’ve got the details on what’s coming up.
Huge N.C. car battery plant? Toyota and Panasonic are eyeing an 1,800-acre site south of Greensboro for a plant that would have at least 1,750 jobs, Bloomberg reported.
First soccer kickoff: (Charlotte FC) Charlotte’s new pro soccer team, Charlotte FC, said its first home game, or “match,” will be March 5 at 8 p.m. against the Los Angeles Galaxy. “It also has the potential to be a record-breaking night if Charlotte manages to pack the stadium,” the team said.
From the Ledger family of newsletters
Development ordinance details: (Monday) Some builders are concerned about provisions in Charlotte’s proposed development ordinance that would add $1,000 permits for cutting down trees, restrict building near floodplains and require them to pay for streets and sidewalks. They say it would raise the price of housing and developments.
Flyover Friday, Ballantyne edition: (Friday) The Ledger and our partner Kevin Young at The 5 and 2 Project take you on a high-flying journey over Ballantyne for a peek at what’s ahead for the 525-acre Ballantyne Reimagined mixed-use development that’s under construction, and other projects happening in the area.
Fighting inflation: (Wednesday 🔒) With inflation hitting a 30-year high, five Charlotte financial advisors offer tips on managing your money.
Siskey investors: (Friday 🔒) People who invested money with Rick Siskey are about to receive payments in excess of the money they lost. It’s rare for investors to recover anywhere close to the full amount from Ponzi schemes.
Street design no panacea: (Transit Time) Some Charlotte leaders are stressing the importance of street redesign in lowering traffic deaths. But at the city’s current pace, redesigning streets would take hundreds of years, and many are unsuitable to be redesigned.
A mother’s life, cut short by cancer: (Ways of Life 🔒) Katie Hedrick left behind a loving husband and 14-month-old twin girls when she died of cancer in September, only three months after being diagnosed. Her husband remembers his spirited wife who worked in the communications office for the city of Charlotte and tells writer Ken Garfield about how he hopes his girls will grow up to know all about their beautiful mom.
New uptown hotel: (Friday 🔒) Plans for a new hotel on Stonewall Street uptown are moving forward, one of the first hotels to get started since the pandemic started. It’s a big vote of confidence in the local hospitality industry and uptown’s future. Clayton Sealey of CLT Development has the details.
Future Charlotte-area Olympians? (Friday 🔒) Kannapolis is working on a plan to attract Olympic teams to the Charlotte area. Local real estate types have been buzzing about it lately.
A return to the buffet: (Friday 🔒) Golden Corral’s CEO says the Raleigh-based company weathered the pandemic by innovating, communicating and focusing on the needs of its top customers. It’s has about 80 fewer restaurants than the 482 it had before Covid, but the company is growing again as diners return.
Liquor returning to shelves: (Friday 🔒) Leaders of the Mecklenburg County ABC Board say they are making progress in increasing the availability of liquor on store shelves ahead of the busy holiday season.
Transit Time award: Our newsletter Transit Time, which we produce in conjunction with WFAE and UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, won a national journalism award this week for “Collaboration of the Year.”
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Executive editor: Tony Mecia; Managing editor: Cristina Bolling; Contributing editor: Tim Whitmire, CXN Advisory; Contributing photographer/videographer: Kevin Young, The 5 and 2 Project