15
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What words can fill the boxes?   Each pair of linked words forms an uncapitalized unhyphenated word when joined end-to-start according to their left-to-right or top-to-bottom order in the link.   Some boxes indicate the lengths of their mystery words.

               _____                   For example
     friend---|_____|---shape         -------------        friend---SHIP---shape
                 |  \_____                                            | \
                 |  |__4__|           Linked words:                   |  YARD
               __|__   \                                              |    \
              |__5__|---age        friendship   shipyard           WRECK---age
                                   shipshape    wreckage
                                   shipwreck    yardage


                                         For real
                          the           ----------
                         __|__
                   he---|_____|                                  chic
                         __|__                                   __|__
               super    |__4__|                       handle    |_____|
               __|__     __|__     _____     _____     __|__     __|__
        for---|_____|---|__4__|---|__2__|---|_____|---|_____|---|__4__|
                 |  \                          |
                 |   \_____                    |        put
                 |   |_____|                 __|__     __|__
               __|__    \                   |_____|---|_____|
        con---|_____|---ally                 __|__
                                      rep---|_____|
                                             __|__
                                    stall---|_____|

This puzzle follows the lead of Word connections and Word connection squares!.

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  • $\begingroup$ Should we assume British English, American English, or an arbitrary mix of the two? $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 20 '17 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ (of course it may happen that you haven't used any words that would distinguish between these, in which case please give any answer that suits you) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 20 '17 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Tried to avoid words specific to a country. Looked everything up in Oxford online. $\endgroup$ – humn Jan 20 '17 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ Splendid. By the way, why so often omit verbs? Makes things a bit hardless to read. Gain in conciseness really worth it? Perhaps wrist problems or something, in which case condolences. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 20 '17 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, seems like personal pronoun is more what are trying to avoid. Matter of principle? $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 20 '17 at 16:19
12
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                          the
                         __|__
                   he---|_re__|                                  chic
                         __|__                                   __|__
               super    |name_|                       handle    |_hi__|
               __|__     __|__     _____     _____     __|__     __|__
        for---|_ego_|---|less_|---|_on__|---|side_|---|_bar_|---|ring_|
                 |  \                          |
                 |   \_____                    |        put
                 |   |maniac                 __|__     __|__
               __|__    \                   |_real|---|ties_|
        con---|centric--ally                 __|__
                                      rep---|_lot_|
                                             __|
                                    stall---|_ion_|

Notes:

I got LOT from Mike Q's answer. (There are other commonalities but they were independent discoveries.) NAME could also be FORM, as in BaSzAt's answer, in which case we could also replace RE with REIN as in his answer. RING could also be KING. CENTRIC and CENTRICALLY are slightly obscure. CHICHI, too. I originally had TIE instead of TIES, which yielded two (valid but) terribly obscure words, but Khale_Kitha pointed out in chat that pluralizing fixes everything.

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  • $\begingroup$ S may be your friend $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha Jan 20 '17 at 18:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You could've just used TY instead of TIES. :P $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jan 20 '17 at 18:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nope. TY is not a word. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 20 '17 at 23:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "re" is Latin in origin but a perfectly good English word. Perhaps the judges might be happier thinking of it as a tonic solfa note (though in that case its origin is even worse: it comes from part of a Latin word, namely "resonare"). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 21 '17 at 1:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How about "be" instead of "re"? $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Jan 21 '17 at 5:43
4
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I strongly suspect there is more than one solution. Here is one I think is valid.


                           the
__|__ he---|_rein| chic __|__ __|__ super |_form| handle |_ k _| __|__ __|__ _____ _____ __|__ __|__ for---|_ego ---|_less|---|__on_|---|_line|---|_ r _|---|_ales| | \ | | \_____ | put | |s __|__ __|__ __|__ \ |__r__|---|_out_| con---|centric--ally __|__ rep---|_ent_| __|__ stall---|_ er_|

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  • $\begingroup$ Beautiful! Some of those aren't words though. $\endgroup$ – humn Jan 20 '17 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ @humn Oh, the boxes stand for words too? $\endgroup$ – BaSzAt Jan 20 '17 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, all words, and you're probably right that the solution is not unique. Some of the numbers are there to reduce known ambiguities. $\endgroup$ – humn Jan 20 '17 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ @humn I think they are all words now, if importing Tolkien's universe is allowed ;) $\endgroup$ – BaSzAt Jan 20 '17 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ R and K are not words. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 20 '17 at 17:16
2
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Wrap-up: the making of Some-what-not-with-standing word connections

This is not a solution to the puzzle but provides notes from its poser. This type of answer has been approved by the community.

(No caution: This post doesn’t even mention the solution.)


An experiment in clue topology

This puzzle, and wrap-up, began as a comment /nonsolution intended for Word connection squares!, which has a central word to deduce (a blank), indirectly clued through outer blanks that are directly clued.


                             data                     face
                               |                       |
                             __|__       _____       __|__
                            |_____|-----|_____|-----|_____|
                               |                       |
                               |                       |
                             roll                     mark

What an interesting balance of direct and indirect clueing. Differently situated blanks are comparably-well clued in terms of their available deductive links. Although the center blank has no direct clues, it is within a 2-link deductive distance from all 4 clues.

                            WITHIN A DISTANCE OF 2 LINKS

    .........................                      .................................
    :       data            :                      :  data                   face  :
    :      . .|. .          :....|.....            :    |       . . . .       |    :
    :    '  __|__  '    ___     _|_   :            :   _|_    '  _____  '    _|_   :
    :   :  |_____|--:--|___|---|___|  :            :  |___|--:--|_____|--:--|___|  :
    :    .    |    .             |    :            :    |     .         .     |    :
    :      ' '|' '          .....|....:            :    |       ' ' ' '       |    :
    :       roll            :                      :  roll                   mark  :
    :.......................:                      :...............................:

   An outer blank "sees" 2 direct clues,         The center blank "sees" 0 direct clues,
       0 indirect clues, 2 blanks                      4 indirect clues, 2 blanks

Such a clear map of clue /deduction linkage, less explicit in most puzzles, led the present puzzle to become an overt experiment in clue-to-blank-to-blank topology.   Here are within-3-links neighborhoods of blanks that were meant to be have comparably strong clue topology despite differences in situation.

                     ___
         super      |___|                      WITHIN A DISTANCE OF 3 LINKS
           |         _|_
        . .|. .     |___|
      '  __|__  '    _|_    ___    ___
for--:--|_____|--:--|___|--|___|--|___|
      .    | \  .
        ' '|' \___                                ___                                 ___
           |  |___|                              |___|            . . . .    handle  |___|
          _|_    \                         ___    _|_    ___    '  _____  '    _|_    _|_
    con--|___|---ally                     |___|--|___|--|___|--:--|_____|--:--|___|--|___|
                                                                .    |    .
                                                                  ' '|' '  put
                                                                    _|_    _|_
             ___                                                   |___|--|___|
            |___|                                                   _|_
             _|_                                              rep--|___|
     super  |___|     . . . .            handle                     _|_
      _|_    _|_    '  _____  '    ___    _|_    ___               |___|
for--|___|--|___|--:--|_____|--:--|___|--|___|--|___|
       |  \___      .         .    _|_    ___
      _|_ |___|       ' ' ' '     |___|--|___|
     |___|                         _|_
                                  |___|

And one neighborhood is an experiment in deliberately weak clue topology compensated by the presence of a relatively easy clue.

                                                           chic
   WITHIN A DISTANCE OF 3 LINKS                             _|_
                                                           |___|
                                             handle       . .|. .
                         ___     ___          _|_       '  __|__  '
                        |___|---|___|--------|___|-----:--|_____|  :
                                 _|_       (easiest     .         .
                                |___|    blank to fill)   ' ' ' '
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