10
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crossword puzzle

Crossword Clues:

Across
1. The very heart of tragedy
3. Benford's most common leading digits
6. Hunger Games bad guy
7. Agree to a demand
9. Red ewe, rearranged
11. 2,000 pounds in the U.S., flipped
13. Oldest known footwear, singular
15. Horoscope after Rosco left
17. Describes things that are over
18. A false statement + _ _ _ _ _ _ = a lie
19. Tennyson said it's better to have this, even if it is lost
20. How Holbrook Jackson suffers fools
21. Only month that will fit
22. Beams of light, homophone
24. Social deduction video game: _ _ _ _ _ Us
25. "Jesus, who is called _ _ _ _ _ _, also sends greetings."
27. Past tense of go
28. Rise over run
Down
1. 2nd person present tense of the most common verb
2. Betty White on The Golden Girls
4. The Big Easy, abbrev.
5. In music, opposite of flat
8. Pocahontas's chosen watercraft
10. Opposite of good
12. A spruce, pine, or oak, for example
13. Egyptian god of deserts, storms, and violence
14. The end of a curious cat
16. A mournful funeral song, reordered
21. The copy was removed from the company
23. A tennis match has points, games, and _ _ _ _
24. On the subject of
26. Bullock

Fill in the Blanks:

1. If my _ _ _ _ ▯ _ was toward the _ _ _ _ then there was _ _ _ _ _ on the screen, _ _ _ _ it was fine.
2. A curator will _ _ ▯ _ us the _ _ _ _ of the jewelry from the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
3. The _ _ _ will _ ▯ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ boxes of _ _ _ _ _ _ puzzles.
4. _ _ _ _ _ will _ _ _ _ ▯ _ his shoes _ _ wash them _ _ _ _ the weekend.
5. He used _ _ _ _ _ _ _ knife to _ _ ▯ _ a bag at the job _ _ _ _.
6. I tried to _ _ _ _ _ touching the _ _ _ _ _ of the broken battery, _ _ _ my burn _ _ ▯ _ _ show my failure.
7. Years _ _ _, the _ _ _ ▯ _ _ had a _ _ _ _ _ of wearing dark _ _ _ _ _.
8. _ _ _ _ ▯ _ _ _ _ the ▯ _ _ _ _ piles of freshly cut grass until _ _ _ _ remained.

No partial answers, please.

The answer is a word that describes the fill-in-the-blank answers.

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4
  • $\begingroup$ Anyone know how I can keep the formatting for the Fill-in-the-Blank section, but also get rid of the horizontal scrolling? $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Commented Apr 28 at 0:08
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If you format each line individually (use ` on either end) then it will wrap while still being monospace. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Apr 28 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ I also added the suggested editing to the clues section because I saw horizontal scrolling on my phone's small screen. Also, the empty squares in the Fill in the Blank section look great on the pc (▯), but on the phone they are smashed horizontally. They are just blanks that have been "circled". $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Commented Apr 28 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ That means you're using some Unicode character which the font on your phone (font on SE depends on operating system) doesn't support $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Apr 28 at 14:11

1 Answer 1

10
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Well, I for one think these fill-in-the-blank answers were pretty sneakily...

CONCEALED!

How to find this answer? First - as you might expect - resolve the grid:

Solved crossword grid

These are a mix of straight clues and cryptic wordplay, explained as follows:

Across:
1. The very heart of tragedy = AGE (trAGEdy)
3. Benford's most common leading digits = ONES
6. Hunger Games bad guy = SNOW
7. Agree to a demand = ACCEDE
9. Red ewe, rearranged = WEEDER (redewe*) 11. 2,000 in the U.S., flipped = NOT (ton<) 13. Oldest known footwear, singular = SANDAL
15. Horoscope after Rosco left = HOPE (HOroscoPE) 17. Describes things that are over = ENDED
18. A false statement + INTENT = a lie 19. Tennyson said it's better to have this, even if it is lost = LOVED
20. How Holbrook Jackson suffers fools = GLADLY
21. Only month that will fit = MAY
22. Beams of light, homophone = RAISE (“rays”)
24. Social deduction video game: AMONG Us
25. "Jesus, who is called JUSTUS, also sends greetings."
27. Past tense of go = WENT
28. Rise over run = GRADE

Down:
1. 2nd person present tense of the most common verb = ARE (re ‘is’)
2. Betty White on The Golden Girls = ROSE (her character's name)
4. The Big Easy, abbrev. = NO (New Orleans)
5. In music, opposite of flat = SHARP
8. Pocahontas's chosen watercraft = CANOE
10. Opposite of good = EVIL
12. A spruce, pine, or oak, for example = TREE
13. Egyptian god of deserts, storms, and violence = SET
14. The end of a curious cat = AT
16. A mournful funeral song, reordered = RIDGE (dirge*)
21. The copy was removed from the company = MAN (coMpANy)
23. A tennis match has points, games, and SETS
24. On the subject of = ABOUT
26. Bullock = STEER

Now how to fill in the blanks? I shan't pretend this was a straightforward deduction for me, but after trying a lot of different forms of wordplay (most of which were complete dead ends), I made a few important findings that ultimately led me to the solution...

1. For one, there are 32 clues in the grid and 32 blanks in the sentences (four in each).

2. Secondly, the lengths of the clue answers exactly match the lengths of the blanks - namely, there are 2 of length 2, 6 of length 3, 8 of length 4, 10 of length 5, and 6 of length 6.

3. I had also come up with some answers that I thought were pretty good fits for some of the blanks, like AVOID in #6, NONE (or ZERO) in #8, and JIGSAW in #3. In fact, this last one led me to the most important realisation of all, as I then also spotted that the first letters of the six 6-letter answers could be rearranged to spell that word JIGSAW (JUSTUS, INTENT, GLADLY, SANDAL, ACCEDE, WEEDER).

4. With this in mind, I then realised that the letter-length frequencies of the words in our list enabled us to form a series of double word squares - squares of letters in which different words can be read horizontally and vertically!

Experimenting with this finding produced promising results!

The group of six 6-letter words arranged in rows spelled out six different words in its columns:

JUSTUS
INTENT
GLADLY
SANDAL
ACCEDE
WEEDER

i.e. JIGSAW, UNLACE, STANCE, TEDDED (meaning "turned over and spread out (grass, hay, or straw) to dry or for bedding"), UNLADE and STYLER.

We also have for the others:

AT
NO

i.e. AN and TO.

MAY
AGE
NOT

i.e. MAN, AGO and YET.

SET
ARE
MAN

i.e. SAM, ERA and TEN.

SNOW
HOPE
ONES
WENT

i.e. SHOW, NONE (aha, we were looking for that one!), OPEN and WEST.

ROSE
EVIL
SETS
TREE

i.e. REST, OVER, SITE and ELSE.

GRADE
LOVED
AMONG
RAISE
ENDED

i.e. GLARE, ROMAN, AVOID (aha, again!), DENSE and EDGED.

SHARP
CANOE
ABOUT
RIDGE
STEER

i.e. SCARS, HABIT, ANODE, ROUGE and PETER.

In fact, note that each of these word sets appears solely in either the Across or Down clue set, further enhancing its 'correctness'.

With all of this now in place, we can fill the blanks with these derived words to make legitimate grammatically correct sentences like so:

1. If my STAN[C]E was toward the WEST then there was GLARE on the screen, ELSE it was fine.

2. A curator will SH[O]W us the REST of the jewelry from the ROMAN ERA.

3. The MAN will U[N]LADE TEN boxes of JIGSAW puzzles.

4. PETER will UNLA[C]E his shoes TO wash them OVER the weekend.

5. He used AN EDGED knife to OP[E]N a bag at the job SITE.

6. I tried to AVOID touching the ANODE of the broken battery, YET my burn SC[A]RS show my failure.

7. Years AGO, the STY[L]ER had a HABIT of wearing dark ROUGE.

8. SAM T[E]DDED the [D]ENSE piles of freshly cut grass until NONE remained.

Finally (last step!), we can extract the letters indicated by boxes to reveal the hidden answer:

CONCEALED!

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4
  • $\begingroup$ Great answer Stiv! +1 for me. One small thing, I think you meant the 'aha again' with 'avoid', not with 'anode' ;) $\endgroup$
    – Lezzup
    Commented Apr 28 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Lezzup Good observation, and yes I did - will edit in, thanks $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Apr 28 at 18:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JLee Ah yes, true. That was a hard puzzle to spot what to do next btw (SO MANY dead ends in my attempts to make sense of it - anagrams, changing one letter, synonyms...), but a very satisfying aha moment when it all began to fall into place! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Apr 28 at 22:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good to hear that. That's exactly how i intended it, and your solution path was also exactly as i imagined it. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Commented Apr 28 at 22:28

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