I'm doing "research" (aka cheating) on today's crossword puzzle, yet the puzzle in the MT isn't the same as the one posted on the L.A. Times Web site. Has the puzzle provider changed again? What's going on here?

I'm doing "research" (aka cheating) on today's crossword puzzle, yet the puzzle in the MT isn't the same as the one posted on the L.A. Times Web site. Has the puzzle provider changed again? What's going on here?

— Dana R., Medford

Ah, you've seen through our dastardly plot, Dana. Yes, it's true, the crossword puzzle has changed — again.

The crossword saga began earlier this year when Tribune Media, the syndicated service that provided our crossword puzzle for years, decided they would drop that puzzle in favor of one produced by the Los Angeles Times. (This probably had something to do with the fact that Tribune bought the Los Angeles Times several years ago, but maybe that's just our suspicious minds at work.)

At any rate, the "new" L.A. Times puzzle went over like a California license plate at a truck stop in Burns — safe to say it wasn't very popular. Seems the L.A. puzzle maker liked to drop all kinds of highfalutin clues about celebs and So-Cal factoids, which left a lot of readers with too many blank squares after hours of struggle.

So, after the editor received a string (endless string, he says) of complaints, the ol' Muddy Tributary again switched puzzles, this time to a crossword produced by United Features.

Well, guess what? More complaints — not as many as with the first one, but enough for the editor to come up with some of his own cross words. However, he says the crossword crisis recently seems to have subsided a bit, perhaps overtaken by formerly less important events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Washington, D.C., and any other place that Michael Jackson ever visited.

So the perfect puzzle remains elusive. But the quest continues.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.