Constructor's CommentsI'm pleased to make my Puzzle Society debut with this creature feature, though I can't take credit for the sharp title, which reflects David's deft editorial touch. Early versions of this idea had HOWLIN' WOLF prowling around in the pack, and LADY BIRD JOHNSON hovered in the wings too. I hope solvers enjoy the final menagerie—and, if you like to solve to music, might I suggest the Beastie Boys?
Editor's CommentsMatt's original query had the blues singer HOWLIN' WOLF in place of BUFFALO BILL CODY. Using HOWLIN' WOLF in the center would have required a 16x15 grid, though, since only an odd-length entry can fit symmetrically in the middle row of a 15x15. Fortunately, Matt came up with the grid spanner BUFFALO BILL CODY, which has the added bonus of being a more familiar name (at least in my opinion).
Matt is also an exceptional clue writer! Three of my favorites from this puzzle are [Reach the Candy Castle in "Candy Land"] for WIN, [Only gem made by an animal] for PEARL, and [Greek letter that literally means "Great O"] for OMICRON. None of these clues are brain busters—they're just really unique, interesting takes on their respective entries that I never would have thought of. These clues also feel just right difficulty-wise for a medium puzzle.