Yesterday evening at 7 PM, local police received reports of a burglar in an apartment building. Upon examination, the police found that the burglar robbed Mrs. Doris Dodderly as she was soaking her dentures and preparing for sleep. On a nearby nightstand, the officers found this enigmatic crossword puzzle:

n x b z t a ê s e y m t w u e 
y s j q l n o i l f k j c y h 
q x n e z d l g v r x y x a p 
b b k à a y e g q i h u x b q 
m h z x r é q m x m e l t i b 
i k i g c j c h w l w i ï t p 
i s o w u w m a p z a b w g d 
i p s g u y n n j i j f o f n 
l i u l ô i e j b e o t s e b 
y m f v f e v h f c p r d m y 
f w h v d t z y i x t e e u v 
e w x e h l x n q m s n p z e 
e j l v r x ç t d b i a z v d 
c i i n s s i b s t o q o d d 
z o f c a w b j b l m w k f e

They are offering a $0.20 reward for any information regarding the Cat Burglar or this crossword puzzle left behind. Contact the hotline at (757) 555-0148 if you have any information!

Hint 1:

Most of the word search is useless. But certain characters in it are not!

Hint 2:

Focus on the accented letters.

Hint 3:

Directional... it's all directional...

Hint 4:

Where are my accents going?

  • $\begingroup$ Note: Only the crossword puzzle is relevant; the rest is fluff. $\endgroup$ Oct 17 '20 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ Note 2: Hint will be posted whenever I feel like it tomorrow... $\endgroup$ Oct 17 '20 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Voldemort'sWrath, is there a reason you put important information (your first Note) in comments, instead of editing it into the puzzle? $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Oct 18 '20 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble — It doesn’t really matter. I guess I just didn’t want to make another edit for no reason. $\endgroup$ Oct 18 '20 at 11:44

I think the answer is

Nine lives

If you

find all the letters with accents and follow where the accents "point"

you get this:

enter image description here

This would also fit with the title, as

A cat is said to have nine lives!

  • $\begingroup$ Amazing job! I have $0.20 with your name on it! $\endgroup$ Oct 20 '20 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I'm already dreaming of the things I'll buy with that cash influx. ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Jens
    Oct 20 '20 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ Half a piece of bubble gum :):) $\endgroup$ Oct 20 '20 at 17:11

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