‘8 across’ prompts crossword resizing

Starting today, the Sunday Crossword is 25 percent larger.

DOVER ­— Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines …

***

There is a well-timed clue in today’s Sunday Crossword.

It is 8 Across: Text for a promo.

Thanks to a six-letter answer to that, we made a significant change to the Sunday puzzle.

It’s now about 25 percent larger!

That’s good news for those of us with tired eyes, and good news for those of us who prefer to pencil in larger letters.

We were reviewing an ad about the puzzles being a great reason to subscribe when we paused to reflect on some oft-repeated criticism of readers who found the Sunday puzzle’s type to be too small.

The advertisement appears in this month’s edition of the Greater Dover Extra, a new publication that is mailed to readers in the Dover, Camden, Wyoming, Magnolia and Hartly zip codes.

How many of you try to tackle the Sunday crossword each week? We often hear the puzzle stays close to an easy chair and gets worked on throughout the week.

When I first glanced through the clues to today’s puzzle, 9 Down – Penn. neighbor – seemed to be the one with the easiest answers for our readers. You’ll see what I mean.

***

CBS News and NPR carried interesting stories on the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Franklin in the “Peanuts” comic strip, a longtime staple of this newspaper.

It was July 31, 1968, that Charlie Brown met Franklin by chance, thanks to a wayward beach ball. The

Franklin was introduced in “Peanuts” 50 years ago.

two then built a sandcastle and a friendship together.

In a low-key way, Franklin became the first African-American character to step onto the pages of America’s comic pages.

At the time, the nation was still struggling with the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.

A California teacher, Harriet Glickman, wrote to Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz, in April that year. She thought there were forms of mass media, including his strip, that could shape the “unconscious attitudes of our kids.”

Said Ms. Glickman in her letter, “The gentleness of the kids … even Lucy, is a perfect setting.”

Mr. Schulz declined her request, fearing it would appear patronizing. She didn’t give up, eventually getting Mr. Schulz to accept the challenge knowing he had the stature and reputation to make it happen.

An aspiring cartoonist, Robb Armstrong, then just 6 years old, was among those reading Peanuts at the time.

Mr. Armstrong is the creator of JumpStart, which appears Sundays in the Delaware State News.

“He inspired a kid,” Mr. Armstrong told NPR. “I don’t think there’s a higher calling in this life, It’s incredible what happens when you inspire a kid, and that’s what Schulz did.”

***

Last week’s column had a silly error in it.

Caught up in the Delaware State Fair’s wet weather woes, I erred when I wrote the Harrington was the bull’s-eye of the rain. Upon closer review, the 8 inches of rain was recorded about 11 miles north of the fair in Woodside.

Even so, the fairgrounds had more than 5 inches of rain from July 21 to 25 during the fair, and almost 6 inches total over the 10 days.

For a while, it seemed like the perfect gathering place for hundreds of farm and circus animals.

“We almost had to develop our own version of Noah’s Ark,” said fair general manager Bill DiMondi in a news release.

Looking back on it, Mr. DiMondi waxed poetic.

“The famous American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said: ‘Into every Fair some rain must fall,’” said Mr. DiMondi. “Well, not a direct quote because Mr. Wadsworth was speaking euphemistically about some rain falling in everyone’s life,”

Even with the rain, fair attendance was up 2 percent from last year.

Andrew West is executive editor of the Delaware State News.

Reach Executive Editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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