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This puzzle is part of the Monthly Topic Challenge #4: Cross-*non*-words


This crossword is a hexagonal one, and it uses a cipher mainly used in geocaching instead of English letters.
The grid contains hidden bars (similar to a barred crossword), and the position of the bars can be inferred from the position clues in the clues list.

Unforunately, the plaintext grid is not available yet, so you may choose to copy and paste the code below to LifeViewer to see the grid. Hover over one of the cells, and you can see its location in the bottom left corner of the LifeViewer window.

The position clues (e. g. (12,13) in Clue 1) indicate where the word starts in the grid.
To rotate a word, don't just follow the traditional crossword convention to place the letters above one another. Instead, the entire word is rotated as a whole. For example, if you rotate "NNZ" clockwise 90 degrees, it will look like a "Z" placed above another Z and then above an "N".
The rotation clues are counterclockwise. "0 degrees" means that a word points to the right, while "60 degrees" points oblique upwards to the right.
Leading spaces and trailing spaces in words are ignored, yet spaces in other parts of the word each occupy a cell.

x = 24, y = 19, rule = bsh
11bo$2bo4bo3bo$3bo3bo3b2o$4bo2bo3bobo$4b2obo3bo2bo$4bob2o3bo3bo$2b13o
bo$2bobo2b2o2bo5bo$20o$2bobo2bo2b2o2bo4bo$b20o$4bo2bo3b2o3bo4bo$6b8o3b
o$7bo3b13o$7bo7bo3bo$16bo3bo$17bo3bo$18bo3bo$23bo!
  1. (12,13) (0 degrees, 12 cells)

Prohibit golf explosion

  1. (2,10) (60 degrees, 5 cells)

Near a time

  1. (1,10) (0 degrees, 19 cells)

Sixteen ounce stamp

  1. (4,4) (240 degrees, 8 cells)

Mostly used currency

  1. (13,8) (300 degrees, 11 cells)

Manager Doctor D

  1. (2,6) (0 degrees, 13 cells)

Heard carrot wedge

  1. (6,12) (0 degrees, 8 cells)

Particle reverses DNA

  1. (11,1) (300 degrees, 11 cells)

Second sailor celebrity

  1. (0,8) (0 degrees, 20 cells)

Father possess expression

  1. (11,0) (240 degrees, 14 cells)

Square mile expression

  1. (2,1) (300 degrees, 17 cells)

Defeat the cartridge

  1. (7,1) (240 degrees, 14 cells)

Polish America advantage

The twelve words that solves the clue (cryptically) make up the name of an esolang.
Use the esolang to decode the code below and then you get another code in the "geocaching cipher", then it decodes to a word that completes the clues list (the thirteenth word that can be combined with the twelve words to make a set).

-+-+^^=-_+!+-^^==+^^=-_+!+-^^--+^^==+^^-^^=-_+!+$!=-_+!+$!==+^^(@)


Question: What is the "missing" five-letter word ("the thirteenth word")?

More tasks might be coming, but they will probably be optional.

Hint 1:

The geocaching cipher was previously mentioned in a puzzle on this website.

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  • $\begingroup$ There is an esolang called "topline", but I'm not referring to that one. Also, the cipher is obviously not Morse. - Do they allow hexagonal crosswords? $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2022 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, hexagonal crosswords are allowed. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 25, 2022 at 14:13

1 Answer 1

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The clues' solutions:

1. BAN+G
2. A+T
3. POUND ddef
4. US(-e)D
5. [PCT somehow???]
6. "CARET"
7. AND<
8. S+TAR
9. FR+OWN
10. S+MILE
11. BLANK ddef 12. PL+US

To enter these into the grid, we need to use the

"slash and pipe code", found here.

The filled grid is below:

..............................|...........
.........../.........\.......\............
............|......./.......x./...........
.............x.....\.......\...x..........
............|./.../......./...../.........
...........|...|.x.......\.......\........
......|.|.x.|.x.\./.x.\.x.|././...\.......
.....|...|...../.x.....|...........x......
|.|.\.x.\./.x.|.|./.|.x.\./.|.|.x.|./.|...
...x...x.....x.....x.\.....|.........x....
|.\.|.\.x.|.|./.|.x././.x.|./.|.x.|./.|...
.....|.....|.......|.\.......|.........\..
........|.x.|./.|.x.|./.......x...........
.........|......./.|.\.x.|.x.|./.|.x.|.|.|
........\...............\......./.........
.........................\.......x........
........................../......./.......
.........................../.......\......
....................................\.....
..........................................

The twelve entries make up the name of the esolang, !@#$%^&*()_+. Running the given code produces an output of |// / |\/ |/ \, which decodes to TILDE - the missing element of the (shifted) top row of a US keyboard.

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