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So I recently created a crossword for you guys, but I misplaced everything except my list of words! Being too busy working on movie-related puzzles to recreate it, I asked some help from my friends (you guys know how I love layers in my puzzles).

First, I had my friend Al Literation (you may remember him) write the clues based on my words.

Then I gave the vertical answers to my friend Anna Graham to write down in the crossword image.

Finally I gave the horizontal words to my amigo Juan Hamming-Distans (what's that, a stretch you say? Get over it, a theme is a theme) so he could write them in the crossword.

Anna and Juan each altered the words they were given to new words (their transformations did not alter the length of my words) and redrew the crossword so that they could make them fit together. That's what you see below. You can find Al's clues below; for each one, determine my original word and, based on whether they're down or across, figure out what Anna or Juan did to them before placing them in the crossword (there will almost always be only one possibility). All words (my original ones and the modified ones) can be found on dictionary.com

Crossword

Crossword

$$\begin{array}{ll} \mathbf{Horizontal}&\mathbf{Vertical}\\ \text{4. Battlewise bravery}&\text{1. Shadowy Sherlock}\\ \text{5. Sans sensation}&\text{2. Charismatic quality}\\ \text{8. Medical mesh material}&\text{3. Hired helping hand}\\ \text{10. Anaerobically assembled acid}&\text{6. Sprinkles salvation}\\ \text{12. Opposite of old origin offensive}&\text{7. Pixelated puerile protagonist}\\ \text{13. Pertaining preposition}&\text{9. Cosmological cloud}\\ \text{15. Sound system segment}&\text{11. Dull discomforts}\\ \text{20. Decided determination}&\text{14. Rising rocket requirement}\\ \text{21. Observe outlook on oracular orbs}&\text{16. Ambush assault}\\ \text{22. Rifle rest}&\text{17. Spear's similar}\\ \text{23. Devilish, deemed Dante}&\text{18. Deviate direction}\\ \text{25. Constant current classification}&\text{19. Accomplish again}\\ \text{28. Vowelless vituperation}&\text{24. Metal mixture}\\ \text{29. African antelope}&\text{26. These three things}\\ \text{30. Painlessly punish progeny}&\text{27. Scared swallow} \end{array}$$

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    $\begingroup$ Oh, yeah. I know Juan. Nice guy. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Sep 10 '15 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ Can someone please help me understand Juan's name... $\endgroup$ – Bailey M Sep 10 '15 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Bailey: One Hamming Distance. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Sep 10 '15 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ Google explained it to me. Thank you~ $\endgroup$ – Bailey M Sep 10 '15 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ Dear future crossword creators: take note of the formatting... $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Sep 10 '15 at 19:23
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PARTIAL ANSWER

Here's what I've come up with so far. I'm very close; I just need to finish the upper-right corner. I was too lazy to put letters into the crossword image, so hopefully someone else can verify that this all works. (Sidenote: This is my first answer on this website, so any suggestions on proper formatting would be appreciated!)

Edit 1: Answered 1 Down.

$$\require{action}\(\def\sa#1#2#3{\toggle{\bbox[2pt,color:green]{\text{#1 #2 (spoiler)}}}{\bbox[2pt]{\text{#1 #3}}}\endtoggle}}\) $$

$$ \begin{array}{ll} \mathbf{Horizontal}&\mathbf{Vertical}\\ \sa{4.}{Battlewise bravery}{Valor → Vapor}&\sa{1.}{Shadowy Sherlock}{Sleuth → Hustle}\\ \sa{5.}{Sans sensation}{Dull → Dill}&\sa{2.}{Charismatic quality}{Charm → March}\\ \sa{8.}{Medical mesh material}{Gauze → Gauge}&\sa{3.}{Hired helping hand}{Aide → Idea}\\ \sa{10.}{Anaerobically assembled acid}{Lactic → Tactic}&\sa{6.}{Sprinkles salvation}{Anoints → Nations}\\ \sa{12.}{Opposite of old origin offensive}{Occidental → Accidental}&\sa{7.}{Pixelated puerile protagonist}{Link → Kiln}\\ \sa{13.}{Pertaining preposition}{About → Abort}&\sa{9.}{Cosmological cloud}{Nebula → Unable}\\ \sa{15.}{Sound system segment}{Speaker → Sneaker}&\sa{11.}{Dull discomforts}{Aches → Chase}\\ \sa{20.}{Decided determination}{Resolve → Revolve}&\sa{14.}{Rising rocket requirement}{Thrust → Truths}\\ \sa{21.}{Observe outlook on oracular orbs}{Peer → Seer}&\sa{16.}{Ambush assault}{Raid → Arid}\\ \sa{22.}{Rifle rest}{Bipod → Biped}&\sa{17.}{Spear's similar}{Pike → Kepi}\\ \sa{23.}{Devilish, deemed Dante}{Material → Maternal}&\sa{18.}{Deviate direction}{Veer → Ever}\\ \sa{25.}{Constant current classification}{Direct → Direst}&\sa{19.}{Accomplish again}{Redo → Rode}\\ \sa{28.}{Vowelless vituperation}{Tsk → Ask}&\sa{24.}{Metal mixture}{Alloy → Loyal}\\ \sa{29.}{African antelope}{Oryx → Onyx}&\sa{26.}{These three things}{Words → Sword}\\ \sa{30.}{Painlessly punish progeny}{Ground → Around}&\sa{27.}{Scared swallow}{Gulp → Plug} \end{array} $$

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site @dpwilson and great job on making so much progress. I edited your post to fix the numbers (the site auto formats numbered points to ascend one at a time and overrides your numbering eg 4 6 9 13 becomes 4 5 6 7). You have just 3 answers incorrect (answers to clues that is, all of your transformations are correct). As for Clue 1, think synonymous noun rather than proper noun example. $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Sep 14 '15 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the help, @NeedAName. I put an answer to 1 Down. Time to track down the other two incorrect ones. $\endgroup$ – dpwilson Sep 14 '15 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't counting 1 down as incorrect since you hadn't posited an answer on that one. There are three incorrect guesses, and all are located in the horizontal clues. $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Sep 14 '15 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ Formatted that for you. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Sep 14 '15 at 18:03

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