Puzzle mess-ups matter to passionate puzzle people as much as the most egregious journalistic errors.

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You don’t mess with the puzzle people!

It is a truth long well known among newspaper folk that those loyal readers devoted to their daily and weekly puzzles will roar with fury and frustration should a news organization’s mistakes keep them from their brain-boosting puzzle pleasures.

There was nothing puzzling about the fact that my week began Monday with emails and telephone calls from several hundred readers angry and disappointed that the Sunday Star crossword clues and the previous week’s crossword solution was partially blocked by an advertisement, making it unreadable.

Unfortunately, this was the second week in a row that production problems led to puzzle errors. The previous Saturday, the puzzle solutions usually published in the Saturday Life section were inadvertently omitted.

This resulted in readers doubling down on their anger and wondering – with a great many exclamation marks – how these errors occurred and what the Star planned to do to prevent such further disruption to their puzzle habit.

“Last Saturday, I searched high and low for the answers to the Saturday crosswords, to no avail. Today I find that part of the answers to last week’s Sunday puzzle and some of the clues to today’s puzzle are missing due to advertising,” a Mississauga reader wrote. “Whatever happened to proof-reading?”

“Today’s error in your paper has trumped all your previous goofs!! So much for my Sunday morning coffee and crossword,” said another reader.

To read the rest of this column, please go to the Toronto Star’s website, where it was first published

H.G. Watson was J-Source's managing editor from 2015 to 2018. She is a journalist based in Toronto. You can learn more about her at hgwatson.com.