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Puzzle 49 - Themeless #38

For the past month, both our munchkins (4 & 2) have called each other, us, the dog, or the tiniest inconvenience 37-Across approximately 28 times per day. It's honestly pretty adorable...most of the time.

Before I get to the next part - big thanks to Brooke Husic for test-solving & cleaning up a few things!

I would really appreciate it, if once you're done with the puzzle, you'd scroll down and read my thoughts (unrelated to this puzzle).





Content warning for everything below: child sexual assault


One thing I've been meaning to write about for a while and haven't really got around to - constructors and editors should stop referencing Michael Jackson in crossword puzzles. Entries, clues, themes, anything.

There is a lot of room between "acceptable in a crossword puzzle" and "convicted of a crime". I do not want to start a debate about whether Michael Jackson was a child molester or not. I don't definitively know, and neither do you.

I went to a small Catholic K-8 school. I was an altar boy for much of that time. I want to be very clear - I, or anyone that I knew, was never abused, touched inappropriately, or anything of that sort. Our priest & deacon at the time are wonderful, kind people that I still keep in touch with. However, in about 7th grade, stories came out about priests sexually abusing children from a generation ago. At my school. In rooms that I had spent a lot of time in. Many of the victims' last names were familiar. Grown adults committed suicide, decades after they were abused. The rampant sexual abuse (and it wasn't just at my childhood church) was denied & covered up until the early 2000s when I was in middle school.

To this day, the Catholic Church has painted themselves as the victim.

It was really easy for me to identify with the abused children. "That could have been me" ran through my head quite a bit. There are a couple of incredible articles really detailing the heinous crimes that I go back and reread every couple of years. The disclosure of these abuses is very much a traumatic, formative memory of mine - and again, neither I nor anyone that I knew was abused or involved in any sort of capacity.

Whenever I see a Michael Jackson clue, a little part of my heart sinks. I cannot begin to imagine what that would feel like for someone who was sexually abused as a child (or a parent) - to be blindsided with trauma while doing what should be a fun, entertaining diversion.

One in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult (source: RAINN). That's a lot of solvers. I'd really like constructors and editors to think of them when they're working on a puzzle.