July 15, 2022 - "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?" (themeless) - Hoang-Kim Vu, edited by Christopher Adams

Difficulty ● ● ◐ ○ ○

Puzzle Notes

Dear Friends:

We're back with a 16x15 themeless by the great Hoang-Kim Vu, titled "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?" In response to solver feedback (and, as with the Cryptics and Lil AVC X puzzles), we're moving away from numerical difficulty ratings starting today. Instead, we'll let the puzzle speak for itself as you solve, and we'll have a little fun with the difficulty indicator each week. (An exception: we'll mention explicitly if a puzzle feels monstrously difficult to us.) Today's "difficulty" is an Easter egg relating to one of the puzzle's answers -- can you figure out which one?

Hoang-Kim Vu (he/him) works on a global malaria research project in Washington, D.C. His crosswords have appeared in multiple venues, including the AVCX, LAT, USAT, and NYT. He hopes you haven't gotten tired of seeing his name in the AVCX over the past month or so.

Cheers, as always,

Chris, Max, Quiara, Sid, Ada & the expanded AVCX crew

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