July 4: Independence Day (U.S.)

Stars and Stripes

by Don Henderson

Flag down your friends and show them this beautiful puzzle—or enjoy it all by yourself! The answers to each numbered clue pair below go in the 12 spaces surrounding the correspondingly numbered red star in the grid. The first answer of the pair starts in the arrowed space and proceeds counterclockwise, with the second answer following.

The answers that go in the two pink stripes (the one that travels the perimeter, and the other that borders the central hexagon) are clued in order. It’s up to you to determine where each answer chain begins, but we can say that it goes clockwise in the outer stripe and counterclockwise in the inner one.

As the grid is filled in, a trivia question (category: trivia!) will emerge. Read the white spaces touching the numbered stars from left to right and top to bottom. The answer will be found in the white spaces surrounding the center star, reading the same way. You might want to hold off on solving the center star clues until you’ve had a crack at answering the question. Hats off to you if you get it right!

Published in GAMES, August 2009

Printable pdfs


  1. Bettor’s reference: 2 wds.
    Fill to excess
  2. Carrot’s paler cousin
    Razor sharpener
  3. Director Soderbergh
    Bridal party?
  4. Dull and spiritless, as prose
    Emulate Earhart
  5. Off the mark
    Ovenbound bird
  6. Kanye West’s genre: Hyph.
    Guy who’s rolling in dough: 2 wds.
  7. “The It Girl” Bow
    Pajama fabric
  8. Bolstered
    Ideology, briefly
  9. Double-check with a stopwatch
  10. Puts in an inappropriate role
    Goldfinger’s nemesis
  11. Hightails it
    Range of colors
  12. Attic window, often
    Christmas glitter


  • Keystone Cops producer Mack
  • Ticked away
  • Noggins
  • Sodium ___ (preservative in hot dogs)
  • Too much, in Toulouse: 2 wds.
  • Bulletin board extras
  • Harmonious relations
  • Welcome time-out
  • Tacky
  • Turkish inn


  • Drink of the gods
  • Durango domicile
  • Desert processions


  • Deborah’s costar in The King and I
  • Threw into confusion