15
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This puzzle was originally formatted as a PDF; the puzzle PDF is available on Dropbox. A screenshot of the PDF is available below. This puzzle is an entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge 46, "Tales from the Cryptic".

This is the third puzzle in a sequence, coming after Not Bluebeard's Castle and Oops! All Acros--. The sequence is themed after a certain set of works, revealed in the first puzzle. No knowledge of the works in question is necessary to solve this puzzle. It is highly recommended (though not necessary) that you solve those two puzzles before this one.

This puzzle contains a few crude references; solve at your own discretion.


enter image description here

Transcription of the instructions and clues:

In the third part of this four-part series, we see two different perspectives on the same work: one small version in which things go as planned, and one large version in which they do not.

[boxed; right side up] nine of this side’s entries are too small to fit in the grid – you’ll need to stretch one letter between two cells. if you stretch the nth letter of the answer, highlight the nth letter of the clue.
the stretched letters, from left to right, will spell what the cast hoped to find on the missing page.

[boxed; upside down] NINE OF THIS SIDE’S ENTRIES ARE TOO LARGE TO FIT IN THE GRID – YOU’LL NEED TO SQUEEZE TWO LETTERS (OR IN ONE CASE, ONE LETTER AND ONE SYMBOL) INTO A CELL.
IF THE NTH CELL IS THE DOUBLE-PACKED ONE, HIGHLIGHT THE NTH LETTER OF THE CLUE.
THE DOUBLE-PACKED LETTERS, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, WILL SPELL WHAT HAPPENED INSTEAD.

The highlighted letters will pair up in corresponding clues – they give you part of a cipher that converts between small and large letters. The remaining 26 clues each have one word that is the 'wrong case': to be able to solve the clues, you must convert that word to the other case with this mapping.

The stretched letters, when converted to their larger counterparts, will tell you what happened to the missing page.

Clues:

across
1. cyber-nations' golden fruit conceals one fay crystal at its center
12. mane relative is not in favor of
13. "gaze and add forevermore", poetically
14. metal slab in the front
15. in french article, he created legends
16. nobleman caned, losing face
17. native to some of rome
19. face of soldierly nation creates type of tank
20. add more of a vista to newly-created seal (2 wds.)

down
1. device that's boring and totally sound
2. for chum in the uk, ton of fiddlers
3. ignore lack of force in revolt territory
4. lysed borreliosis extract for someone in edmonton
5. huggable bartender
6. frank dich's army unit ate before lunch
7. upset lowlife sailor
8. inheritances missing preface can lead to problems
9. confesses on supple, poorly-written, dismissed letter on disks (2 wds.)
10. timberwolves' group in cycle stop
11. swallow carrying ten of a headpiece

ACROSS
1. FEW TO LEAVE ENGLISH HEIST, OUT IN SOUTHEAST (2 WDS.)
12. CAUSE BLUSH IN SOMEONE BEFORE TUESDAY
13. ONE HOLDING TEAL COMIC UPSIDE-DOWN, HEADING OUT
14. HELPED SOUP PRODUCTION
15. ICY VET FROM A DISNEY MOVIE PEELS AWAY HIDES
16. GRAB ONE PART AT MIDDAY
17. ABOARD HELPLESS YACHT IS DEFENDANT WHO WAS DECLARED GUILTY
18. ASSHOLES ARE REAL DRY AROUND CONNECTICUT
19. EMPTIER VESSEL THAT HOLDS A LITER
20. SECOND-GENERATION JAPANESE IMMIGRANT'S SOUTHEASTERN DELI NO. 2

DOWN
1. MILITARY CAMP TO LISTEN IN, PROBING EMPLOYEE ON VACATION
2. WHAT GOES UNDER A "DEAR...": "SON, I'M GOING TO..."
3. CAUGHT SANTA'S ADDENDUM
4. FORMAT LAST IDEA FOR BOOK
5. AVOID, LIKE BEING IN LOVE WITH TELEKINETIC
6. CHRONICLE LOOKING BACK OVER APPRENTICE ARYL OF THE JETSONS 
7. GIVE A SECOND CHANCE TO BREAK IN, PRE-DOPING
8. FOUNTAIN NYMPH ORACLE EVACUATED? THERE ISN'T ANY
9. CLEARS OUT REPO #3 OF STUDENT APP CAPTCHA KEYS
10. AUTHOR CANAVAN TO REWRITE UNFORTUNATE DEATH INVOLVING CHARACTERS IN THE INTRODUCTION
11. SUCCESSFULLY SEIZING ANNE'S POORLY-BUILT GIRDLE
18. NEVADA CITY LINES L-BAR RIGHTFULLY ELEVATED
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5
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Finished grid

enter image description here

Lowercase clues

1a. cyber-nations' golden fruit conceals one fay (NEW) crystal at its center — au + tomat(i)o + n + _s_
12a. mane (HEAR) relative is not in favor of — anti (~auntie)
13a. "gaze and add (ELL) forevermore", poetically — l + e'er
14a. metal slab (ITEM) in the front — lead, double definition
15a. in french article, he (OR) created legends — l(or)e
16a. nobleman caned (PEARL), losing face — (-p)earl
17a. native to some of rome — _f rom_
18a. group, for short, like manga (HEAVE) companies (abbr.) — as + soc<
19a. face of soldierly nation creates type of tank — s_ + cuba
20a. add more of a vista (JUICE) to newly-created seal (2 wds.) — to + pup
1d. device that's boring and totally sound — awl (~all)
2d. for chum (POSH) in the uk, ton of fiddlers — u + nto*
3d. ignore lack of force in revolt territory — (tur + f)<
4d. lysed (TWIRL) borreliosis extract for someone in edmonton — _oiler_<
5d. huggable bartender — moe, double definition
6d. frank dich (LUPO)'s army unit ate before lunch — ate + am
7d. upset lowlife sailor — tar<
8d. inheritances missing preface can lead to problems — (-w)ills
9d. confesses on supple, poorly-written, dismissed letter on disks (LUIGI) (2 wds.) — (-l)opensup*
10d. timberwolves' group in cycle stop — ban >> nba
11d. swallow carrying ten of a headpiece — si(deca)p
18d. perhaps takes part in chef (PORN) competition, at first captivated by many an alert — a(c_)ts

Uppercase clues

1a. FEW (way) TO LEAVE ENGLISH HEIST, OUT IN SOUTHEAST (2 WDS.) — E + S(CAPER + OUT)E
12a. CAUSE BLUSH (odium) IN SOMEONE BEFORE TUESDAY — TIL + T
13a. ONE HOLDING TEAL (land) COMIC UPSIDE-DOWN, HEADING OUT — (-l)LORD<
14a. HELPED (madcap) SOUP PRODUCTION — OPUS*
15a. ICY VET (gal) FROM A DISNEY MOVIE PEELS AWAY HIDES — _ELS A_
16a. GRAB (keno) ONE PART AT MIDDAY — _NO ON_
17a. ABOARD HELPLESS YACHT IS DEFENDANT WHO WAS DECLARED GUILTY — _PLESS Y_
18a. ASSHOLES ARE REAL DRY (per) AROUND CONNECTICUT — R + E(CT)A
19a. EMPTIER VESSEL THAT HOLDS A LITER — B(L)EAKER
20a. SECOND-GENERATION JAPANESE IMMIGRANT'S SOUTHEASTERN DELI (pads) NO. 2 — N + I(SE)I
1d. MILITARY CAMP TO LISTEN IN, PROBING EMPLOYEE ON VACATION — E(TAP)_E
2d. WHAT GOES UNDER A "DEAR (pane)...": "SON, I'M GOING TO..." — S + I'LL
3d. CAUGHT SANTA'S ADDENDUM — CLAUSE (~klaus)
4d. FORMAT LAST IDEA (span) FOR BOOK — _AT LAS_
5d. AVOID, LIKE BEING IN LOVE WITH TELEKINETIC — P(-as)SION2
6d. CHRONICLE LOOKING BACK OVER APPRENTICE ARYL (nerd) OF THE JETSONS — E(L)ROY<1
7d. GIVE A SECOND CHANCE TO BREAK IN, PRE-DOPING — _RE-DO_
8d. FOUNTAIN NYMPH ORACLE EVACUATED? THERE ISN'T ANY — O_E + NONE
9d. CLEARS OUT REPO (each) #3 OF STUDENT APP CAPTCHA KEYS — UNPACKS (every third letter)
10d. AUTHOR CANAVAN TO REWRITE UNFORTUNATE DEATH INVOLVING CHARACTERS IN THE INTRODUCTION — TRUDI (initials)
11d. SUCCESSFULLY SEIZING ANNE'S POORLY-BUILT GIRDLE — ENSNA* + RING
18d. NEVADA CITY LINES L-BAR (done) RIGHTFULLY ELEVATED — _R ENO_<
1 Solved by Gareth McCaughan in the comments.
2 Solved by user39583 in the comments.

The cipher is formed by pairing up the highlighted letters and filling up letters needed for the incorrect-case clues to make sense.

enter image description here

Final answers

The stretched letters spell What the crew was hoping to find: afterclap.
The double-packed letters spell what happened instead: APPLAUSIBLE-ENDING.
Changing the stretched letters to their large counterparts shows what happened to the missing page: it was ENCRYPTED.

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5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice job so far! You're missing the one case of "a letter and a symbol" packed into a cell, which should probably make things a bit clearer. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Jan 9 at 18:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think rot13(7q jvyy or CFVBA, gubhtu V qba'g lrg frr ubj vg jbexf, naq 7q vf ER-QB jvgu n ulcura, fb lbh'er trggvat NCCYNHFVOYR-RAQVAT, nynf. 6q vf Y va LBER<, gubhtu V qba'g guvax LBER zrnaf dhvgr jung Q. jnagf vg gb zrna.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 10 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan That makes sense, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Jan 10 at 13:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think 5d might be rot13(C(-nf)FVBA) $\endgroup$
    – user39583
    Jan 10 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ @user39583 Ahh, thanks! That must be it. $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Jan 10 at 23:10

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