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'Tis the season for a holiday puzzle! I hope this one brings you a bit of holiday cheer, and I wish you a happy holiday season. This is the last Matt's Word of the year!! Thanks for sticking with me this long, and I look forward to seeing where this goes next year. I'm going in blind without any test solvers so this is as pure as it gets. Please share your thoughts in the comments or hit me up on Twitter. Enjoy!

puz | PDF | solution

Matt's Musings

This month I set out with the intention of making a "holiday-themed" puzzle, and I wanted to keep it in the midi-range. I started with an 11x11, but expanded vertically to let the fill breathe a little more. Secret Santa is a time-honored tradition, and I thought it would be fun to hide a literal "secret Santa" in front of the theme answers. It's a classic "x precedes the first word" theme, but, I don't think a theme needs to be extra difficult to make a puzzle fun. Hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for solving!


  1. I'm guessing that 12A refers to Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" song? (Also, I liked 6A, which is an initialism that my high-school buddies used to say to each other back in the 70s!)

    1. 12A - yep! I did not realize 6A had such a long history; thanks for sharing!


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