To Live by the Sea: A Puzzle

“Live by” I like because it can mean either “proximal to” or “according to the principles or dictates of,” or “thanks to the bounty of,” and any which way, I’m for living by the sea.

This puzzle came about in conversation with Greg Farrell, the first President of Expeditionary Learning and still a familiar part of its organizational life, including as a Board member. He was telling me about someone he’d known who’d grown up (like Greg) in Missouri, and who said of San Diego, “Once you’ve lived by the sea, and eaten tacos, you never go back.”

I also told him about what I’d seen when I looked up, finally, “expedition,” and got to ask whether when they named EL, they knew all that. They didn’t; what stuck out for him from that time, and which certainly reverberates in the way we use the word now, is that an expedition is a journey with a purpose.

So, combining living by the sea, and journeys with purposes, and the most unapologetic portmanteau-drenched puns you’ve ever goddamn seen:

Once you've lived by the sea

“Once You’ve Lived by the Sea,” a puzzle, PDF or online.


And allow me to argue for this as a demonstration of at least two ways to live by the sea; three, really, but I’m not sure if you can make out my principles.

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