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Welcome to Sunday Puzzle Warm-Up, a weekly opportunity to have a little fun and to get your brain in gear for the regular Sunday Puzzle.  

These warm-up puzzles are intended to be new-puzzler-friendly. So if you've never tried Sunday Puzzle before, and are scared to dive in the deep end, come on and dip your toes in here.

Also tonight: The verticals in last week's warm-up puzzle read a poll is for nuts, and folks were invited to vote in a poll as to what that referred to. Here the poll choices are again:

(a) Rasmussen's recently-announced plan to limit participation in their surveys to Tea Party members
(b) airline is asking if passengers would like to be offered almonds, walnuts, or pecans instead of peanuts
(c) RNC will exclude "RINO candidates" from e-mails they are sending out asking who'd be best 2016 pres. candidate
(d) Randall Terry's plan to form new company, Honest Opinions, in order to provide "unskewed" survey results on abortion issues
(e) this coming Sunday
(f) last Tuesday
(g) wait -- is this a trick question?
The gremlins who provided the puzzle insist that the correct answer is one of the listed poll choices. But which one? Jump below for the answer...

The correct answer was:

last Tuesday
The gremlins provided a hint to the meaning of the verticals in last week's diary when they warned that the verticals were "a little cryptic". In cryptic crossword clues, words such as deranged, loony, mad, disorderly -- and nuts! -- indicate the answer is an anagram of the letters provided. And if you anagram the letters APOLLISFOR you get April Fools -- which was the Tuesday prior to last week's diary.

All right, on to tonight's decidedly non-cryptic warm-up puzzle. Here are the clues for tonight's JulieCrostic.

If you're familiar with how JulieCrostics work, have at it! If you're new and don't yet know how JulieCrostics work, you can find complete instructions in the bottom part of the diary.

Tonight's puzzle has 5 rows, with 3 answers per row.

 1. average
 2. skin disease caused by mites
 3. nationality of 8

 4. nap
 5. scatter about
 6. tends to the garden

 7. beer
 8. sociologist, philosopher, political economist, and a co-founder of a political party
 9. a Middle Eastern language

10. recreational activity
11. actress Mullaly
12. oversee

13. close
14. umbrage
15. stable

For the benefit of anyone new to Sunday Puzzle, here are instructions for solving JulieCrostics.

In JulieCrostics you are given a set of clues, such as these:

boilerplate example for explaining JulieCrostics
To solve the puzzle, figure out the answers to the clues and enter them into a grid of rows and columns, like so:
boilerplate example for explaining JulieCrostics
All the rows in the grid will be the same length (i.e. have the same number of answers). All the answers in a column will be the same length (i.e. have the same number of letters).  And the words in each column are one letter longer than the words in the column to its left. That's because each word in a row has all the letters of the word before it plus one new letter.  

For instance, if the clues for a row were

 1. say what's not so
 2. resting
 3. concede
then the answers might be LIE, IDLE (= LIE + D), and YIELD (= IDLE + Y)

Write the added letter in the space between the word which doesn't have it and the word which does.  For the row in the example you'd write:

1. LIE  D  2. IDLE  Y  3. YIELD

When you have solved all the clues and written down all the added letters, the added letters will form columns that spell out a message of some sort. It might be a person's name, it might be the title of a book, it might be a familiar phrase, or it might be a series of related words. Your challenge is to solve all the clues, fill in the vertical columns, and figure out what the vertical columns mean.

boilerplate example for explaining JulieCrostics
In the example given, the verticals read DAIL   YKOS.  With proper spacing and capitalization that spells out Daily Kos!
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
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