The Forts of July

Merl Reagle, July 5

This was an awesome puzzle. I’m not usually a huge fan of Merl’s, but this felt NYT-worthy.

The object of this puzzle-within-a-puzzle was to find the names of 11 famous U.S. forts hidden in the solved grid. Some were contained within a larger answer, like 22 Across, STATE OF BLISS (“Very happy ‘place'”). Fort Bliss is in Texas. Same with 24 Across, APPENDIX (“Back-of-the-book section”); Fort Dix is just up the turnpike from Philly in New Jersey.

But, according to Reagle’s puzzle note, five of the 11 forts were “breached” — a black square divided the name of the fort across two unrelated answers. The most creative, I thought, were 98- and 101 Across, EMOTICON and DEROGATORY, yielding Fort Ticonderoga; and 66-, 67- and 68 Across, USMC, HEN and RYAN to form Fort McHenry. (Fort Ticonderoga is where Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys won the first battle of teh Revolutionary War; Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, was the inspiration for “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812.)

Reagle, though, said there were only 11 forts hidden in the puzzle, but I found the name of a 12th. (Maybe Reagle’s caveat that they were 11 “famous” forts explains the discrepancy.)

Forts I found:

1) BLISS (22 Across)

2) DIX (24 Across)

3) LAUDERDALE (breached: 27- and 29 Across)

4) SUMTER (breached; 34- and 38 Across)

5) LEE (56 Across)

6) MCHENRY (double breached; 66-, 67- and 68 Across)

7) KNOX (83 Across)

8) POLK (83 Across)

9) TICONDEROGA (breached; 98- and 101 Across)

10) APACHE (breached; 107- and 110 Across)

11) BRAGG (118 Across)

12) WORTH (120 Across). This was probably a red herring from Reagle; there used to be a Fort Worth in the area now named for the Texas city, but no trace of the original structure remains. There is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers division there, however.)

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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