Crossword puzzles should begin getting easier

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have been a longtime subscriber to the Sun Journal. One of my favorite parts is the crossword puzzle each day. I find that in the last two to three months the puzzles have been extremely difficult. My friends have also expressed the same concern. Can you go back to the easier puzzles so us senior citizens can do them? Thank you for letting me express my concern. — Phyllis, South Paris

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Is a different person making the crossword puzzles for the daily newspaper? I used to be able to do them fairly easily but now I find myself stumped everyday, and my sister says the same thing. Thank you. — No Name, No Town

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Is someone new doing the crossword puzzles in the Sun Journal? They are more difficult than they used to be. I have always liked doing them — now not so much. Thank you. — No Name, No Town

ANSWER: You can rest assured that you are not alone in finding the puzzles too difficult. Sun Spots spoke with Suma at United Media, which provides the puzzles to the Sun Journal.

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She said that last year some of their other newspaper clients were complaining that the puzzles were too easy and the clues too repetitive, so they went to the people who actually create the puzzles and asked them to make them more difficult. But they went a bit too far, and like you, others began saying the puzzles were too hard. So Suma said they went back to the creators and said “Whoa, a little bit too tough.”

This request was only about a week ago, so it will take a while for the easier puzzles to actually make an appearance in the Sun Journal, as they are prepared weeks ahead of time. But relief is coming, and soon you should be whipping through the puzzle in no time!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Boy Scouts of America is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and Cub Scout Pack 111 in Auburn is commemorating that event with a special pinewood derby race.

We are looking for past members of Auburn Cub Scout Pack 111 to join us at our pinewood derby race this year on Saturday, March 13, to celebrate this momentous occasion. This would be a great opportunity to dust off your old race car, if you still have it, and let it roll down the track one more time. Please ask your readers to contact us at cspack111@yahoo.com or by calling me at 795-1043. — Brian Welker, Cubmaster, Pack 111, Auburn.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am writing in hopes that you might find space to advertise an upcoming fundraiser for our local McMahon Elementary School. On Sunday, March 14, we are hosting a pancake breakfast to be held at the Applebee’s on Center Street in Auburn. The cost is $5 per person, and this includes pancakes, coffee and orange juice. There are two sittings — one at 8 a.m. and one at 8:45 a.m. We are looking forward to having a big crowd and a successful fundraiser for our school. Thank you so much! — Jodi, The PTO at McMahon Elementary

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have old cameras, including a 120 box camera and flash gun and some others. If interested, please call 783-8862. — No Name, No Town

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I recently read a piece concerning macular degeneration by staff writer M. Dirk Langeveld. I have macular degeneration and have had it for about two years. I am interested in any information I can get about this sickness. For instance, does anyone eventually go blind? What is the usual length of the sickness? — No Name, Dixfield

ANSWER: Sun Spots thinks these questions would be better directed to your doctor, or perhaps Dr. Donahue, at the bottom of this page. There are many variables in any disease: In this case, There are two different kinds of macular degeneration, wet and dry, as well as individual differences among patients. There are organizations, such as the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (www.macular.org, P.O. Box 515, Northampton, MA 01061-0515, 413-268-7660) and the Macular Degeneration Foundation (www.eyesight.org, P.O. Box 531313, Henderson, NV 89053, 888-633-3937), which can provide the information and assistance you need to understand your illness.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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