A "Marching Bands" puzzle has rules and a structure that are distinct from a typical crossword:

  • Rows 1-12 each have two answers, A and B. They can be any length (except rows 6 and 7 which are 5 letters each).
  • Circles A-E start in the cell with the letter (top-left of the circle) and move around clockwise. They have varying numbers of answers, and each answer can be any length.

It's worth noting for cultural reference purposes that this puzzle was made in the United States. It was designed to be done without the use of a search engine.

Credit to bobble's puzzle that inspired me to make my own.

12 x 12 crossword grid with circles A through E


1:  Guitarist or baby Jedi
2:  Dry red wine
3:  Political commentator Nomiki
4:  Coins from Western Samoa
5:  First President of Russia
6:  Military intelligence, sort of (abbrev.)
7:  Can be tasteful, or not so much
8:  First half of a well English statesman?
9:  Most modifier
10: Boris or nighttime (abbrev.)

1:  Love weapon
2:  Extreme form of grounding (2 words)
3:  Tops of several tubes of water
4:  Dandy lifestyle mag or eyesight aid
5:  One of a yeti's lower phalanges? (2 words)

1:  Latter half of a Total Philip K Dick and Paul Verhoeven effort
2:  Watch this for a glasses-on view of society (2 words)
3:  "Dude, that wave was def _____."
4:  Flow's companion
5:  Military complex with a few more sides

1:  Should probably trip this during a robbery (2 words)
2:  Small Dickensian boy
3:  Broadway Book

1:  Places for speedy Medical treatment (abbrev.)
2:  Singer-songwriter Gainsbourg
3:  A bad driving record may have these (abbrev.)


**ROW 1**
A:  Wackiest (only?) Muppet drummer 
B:  Gesture for

**ROW 2**
A:  Blemish or oceano
B:  Buildings that share walls (2 words)

**ROW 3**
A:  Author who famously wrote a novel with no "e"s
B:  90s sketch comedy for kids

**ROW 4**
A:  One of two lymph nodes in the throat
B:  Multiple returns?

**ROW 5**
A:  Those who smoke?
B:  Novelist Fitzgerald's maiden name

**ROW 6**
A:  Leggo them, please.
B:  Canadian actress Page

**ROW 7**
A:  Will Smith would like to welcome you here
B:  Opposite of a cut

**ROW 8**
A:  To become intrusive
B:  Universal force of attraction without AI?

**ROW 9**
A:  Pledge once again
B:  That which spreads through imitation

**ROW 10**
A:  Punch
B:  Winged being

**ROW 11**
A:  Wealth-y major?
B:  Your D&D character needs lots of this to understand 11A (abbrev.)

**ROW 12**
A:  Etymologically an "enemy of learning"
B:  Baratheon of Dragonstone

1 Answer 1


The grid:

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Some comments:

There are some clues here that have things that are generally not done in crosswords. I mention these because a lot of crossword conventions are not easy to pick up on, but they are very important for a fair solve. I ended up looking up a lot of these, because I wasn't even sure what category of object you were trying to hint at for some of them.

A few part of speech mismatches: A7 and D1 are the wrong parts of speech. (D1 should have a subject.) D3 should say "Broadway's Book of ___" or something to that effect - it's the "Book of Mormon, not "Mormon Book".

A few entries that really would not be used in most crosswords: A8 and 8B are the big ones. If the only way you can clue something is as a meaningless modification of another word, you should tear out that part of the grid and redo it entirely.

Similarly, some clues have the issue above but could be clued some other way. C1 is an example of this: to clue words as part of a phrase, you should just use a fill-in-the-blank clue. And C5 is also "a word clued as a modification of another word", which is once again two layers of indirection. Clues should refer to something that actually exists.

A few other cluing issues (/things-that-are-not-generally-done): B5 doesn't need to be a yeti's toe, so you should have a "perhaps". C2 is a reference that doesn't really make sense to me - it doesn't really tell you what the object is (a film), and so it's absolutely useless for people who don't know the film's plot. 8A has a bit of what is known as "The Error That Cannot Be Named", when a clue gives part of its solution directly (e.g. "Skier's tool" for SKI). And 12A suggests that the answer meant "enemy of learning", but it doesn't: it's a word derived from the name of someone who was considered an 'enemy of learning', not a word that itself means "enemy of learning".

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I appreciate your feedback, though I do disagree with a fair bit of it. A7 has an implied "it" at the beginning, and D1 also clearly has "this" as the target for the solution. D3 is perfectly valid wordplay, you just have to employ a bit of lateral thinking. Maybe should have had a question mark. I get the conventions that you're mentioning for C1 and C5 but again, I think they're valid wordplay, especially C1 in which I namedrop two people that have one film in common. $\endgroup$
    – kristinalustig
    Jul 24, 2020 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ B5 has a question mark indicating that it's going to be wordplay, "Watch 'this'" in C2 I think indicates that it's a film (which sure might be a bit obscure, but the relevant bit has been memeified to death). 8A was a struggle but couldn't find another way to clue it briefly, and totally agree with you on 12A. $\endgroup$
    – kristinalustig
    Jul 24, 2020 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ I'm curious about which ones you looked up. $\endgroup$
    – kristinalustig
    Jul 24, 2020 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ "subject" is not a part of speech. Forget it, grammar nazi here XD $\endgroup$
    – melfnt
    Jul 24, 2020 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ @melfnt I never said it was a part of speech. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Jul 24, 2020 at 17:06

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