I’m vacationing in Quebec for the next week, so this blog post and next week’s will be condensed. But here’s a reminder about “Boswords”, a crossword tournament on Aug. 6, in the Boston area. Check it out if you can.

Five long Across answers in this puzzle appear to have missing clues. Some kind of government coverup, no doubt! The key is at 14D / 66D: [With 66 Down, odd sighting … and a description of five answers in this puzzle], which is UNIDENTIFIED / FLYING OBJECT. The five “unidentified” answers are SATELLITE at 24A, WEATHER BALLOON at 32A, HELICOPTER at 71A, PASSENGER PLANE at 110A, and METEORITE at 123A. (Update @ 9:20 am ET, July 30: Yes, I’m aware that a meteorite is the object that falls and strikes the ground. Just consider it the UFO that crashed.)

Then as an extra kicker, I threw in some grid art. There’s circled squares in the shape of a flying saucer in the upper half of the grid. The puzzle’s note reads: “The circled squares, beginning at 30 Across and reading clockwise, will spell an apt two-word phrase.” The phrase is CONSPIRACY THEORY, which is the only explanation for why those UFO clues went missing. They were abducted!

(Hmm, I suppose SANTA at 3D [Dancer’s director] could be another UFO. And so could PAN-AM at 23A, though I clued that as [___ Games]. I’ll chalk those up to being oddities in a puzzle about space oddities.)

Technical note: In the print version, the five flying UFO clues are left blank, whereas in the electronic version, I clued them as [???]. That’s because my crossword-building program doesn’t let you leave clues completely blank.

See you next week, with yet another tougher-than-normal puzzle.