Francis Heaney has a workout for you this week, a 5/5 difficulty puzzle called "The Nutcrackers." And it's a meta! Here's your instruction:
"The answer to the meta is a word that describes someone 86-Across. Send the answer to email@example.com by the end of Sunday, December 22, to be entered in a random drawing for a present from the AVCX. Along with the solution, you may specify a holiday you'll be observing the following week or not; regardless, if your name is drawn you will get something special and personal."
Thanks to Joon Pahk and Brendan Emmett Quigley for help with formatting last week's Marching Bands. The solution to that puzzle, by the way, is attached here. Meanwhile, fun holiday puzzle coming next week from Erin Rhode ...
Ben and the AVCX crew
avxwords.com // @avcxword