This puzzle is about an athletic, hearty person. Therefore, there are 3 pieces of information hidden accordingly:

  • For each clue, including trailing remarks such as "(2 words)", remove all numbers, spaces and punctuation. Color in the grid the cells with letters in the corresponding answers that match the letter(s) at the heart of the clue. The result will be a set of symbols that represent something that person is associated with.

  • If you're observant, you might notice one symbol was missing. Look for a straightened version of it near the heart of the crossword to get another adjective that could be used to describe this person.

  • If you want to see who the person is, you can obtain some useful information by reading the first letters of every clue for which at least one letter was marked. A few clues near the heart of the crossword should help disambiguate some details.

Come back here with the three pieces and the identity of the person for your green tick!

enter image description here

1. _____ Beat Agents, English version of rhythm game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!
6. Does like Phoenix Wright in his signature line
11. Novel in which characters are instructed to not talk to Mei Misaki
16. Subtlety or overtone
21. Item that gives combat abilities in The World Ends With You
22. An assistant, such as Mikoto Asuka to Haruma Yamazaki
23  Variety of cabbage
24. Series that includes transmutation circles, in brief
25. One fan-made creature nickname in Shadow of the Colossus
28. Asks for food or money
29. Reflection of white light near the horizon, believed to have been used for navigation (2 words)
31. South Korean MMORPG series
32. Part of the body Migi settled in, in Parasyte
34. A character nickname in the Chunsoft visual novel "999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors"
35. Smallest piece of information recordable by a digital computer
36. Noun describing ones like Akiyama Shinichi in the manga Liar Game
38. Dante Must ___, difficulty setting in Devil May Cry games
39. At a distance
41. Release of prisoner before the completion of a sentence
43. Thin tube used by doctors
46. German title for many married ladies
48. The author of Loveless in Final Fantasy VII, for example
50. Country of 14-down
51. Zilch, for Brazilians
53. Expressed puzzles or conundrums
54. Supportive of the idea of pacation (resolution by peace; conciliation)
56. Goatlike mammal that inhabits the Himalayas
57. Underwater inhabitant in, say, Riviera: The Promised Land
60. Performed activity enjoyed by King Harkinian
62. Letter used in Old English writing
63. Something you might use to get a printed list in a computer-readable format
64. What you get by promoting a Mage in Fire Emblem
66. A group or set of eight
68. ___ Mahal, a World Heritage site
69. Organism that is modified by its environment
70. Quite visually depicted as an illustration or painting
73. Give out cards
74. Its flag is nearly equal to Romania's
76. Long walk
78. Channel that broadcast True Blood
79. He might tell you to do a barrel roll
81. Dances to a jazz rhythm mentioned in the title of a famous "Cowboy" anime
83. Hydrophobic
85. War ditch
87. Swinnerton-____, English mathematician
90. Country in the South Pacific
92. Toward or at the stern of a ship
93. Unusual brilliance; dazzling effect
95. Antagonist Poison Ivy's bodyguard in Batman & Robin (1997)
96. Hollows of the hand or foot, or maker of recumbent bicycles
98. Cry of disgust
99. Residences should have at least one
100. Experienced, lived longer
102. See the 146-across clue
104. On even terms
106. Hospital sections, for short
107. Take away by force
110. An uprising or rebellion
113. Audio rendition of letter "H"
115. Site of an Egyptian Temple of Monthu
117. Final Fantasy Type-0 cadet Tokimiya
118. French king
119. Robe that covers entire body, worn by Quran-following women by tradition
120. Effective "chiefs" of the courts
121. Burst open, especially a pod or seed vessel
122. Popular winning condition of tactical RPGs
124. Settle a bill
126. Word in title of most videos in Jonny Atma's youtube channel
128. Letters that can stand for expletives
130. Important city in the province of Cadiz in southwestern Spain
133. Produce and discharge e.g. radiation
135. Put 2 and 2 together
137. Salty surface crust found on the soil in parts of India
139. Konosuba's "useless goddess"
140. Move after or pursue; obsolete form obtained by changing one letter from its more modern counterpart
142. Animated/live-action basketball movie Space ___ (1996)
143. Common genus of cobras
144. Main character of Stella Glow
145. Abbreviation for the home town of the Cavaliers
146. Quantity of 102-across baked in one piece
148. Most senior corporate leader of a company
149. Goofy program in which you might watch episodes "No Laughing in High School" and "500 questions about Yamazaki Aya", and others
151. Brazilian equivalent to a zip code
152. Initialism for the expected amount of melted precipitation accumulated over a specified time period over a specified area 
153. Antagonist of first half of Bleach
154. Irish king Óengus mac Colmáin ___
155. A tamagotchi is a digital one
156. Valve president Newell
157. Welsh valley

1. ____ Battle Fantasy 2, flash game featuring compositions by Phyrnna
2. Eurasian plant and an aromatic extract made from its root
3. Incapable of being told
4. Key on a keyboard
5. In Silent Hill 4, Henry's neighbor Galvin
6. Responsible for bringing Lenneth to Midgard in the tri-Ace game Valkyrie Profile
7. Form a curve
8. Obsolete form of a word for beer, obtained by prepending a letter to its modern equivalent
9. Last word in the less common name for the city home of the Broom Bridge
10. The number that would correspond to L in a system of numbering that skips over letters that specify colors?
11. A color you might use when no other is specified?
12. Complain, pester constantly
13. Former home of the humans from manga Nagi no Asukara
14. Capital of 50-across
15. Indefinitely or immeasurably long period of time
16. Lack of it in one's diet causes headaches; it is organic and part of the group known as the vitamin B complex
17. Evening, in "Deutschland"
18. Explicitly meteorological expression for a small cloud (becomes a more well-known word if its last letter is replaced)
19. Some movie special effects
20. Pegasus Knight playable in first three Fire Emblem games
24. ____ Effect, action-adventure title for the PlayStation
26. Liar Game participant Kanzaki
27. Name given to a place of instruction or the worldwide environment of colleges or universities
30. Obsolete spelling for a former capital of Japan
33. Ridicule; mock
37  Cereal, dried fruit and nuts, generally eaten for breakfast
40. Final Fantasy area of effect spell
42. Russian car maker
44. ___ it Rip!, tagline for show Beyblade
45. Condition that causes one to be easily distracted
46. Estate granted to a vassal (obsolete form)
47. One word that follows Summon in title of a video game series
49. To ____ his own
52. Caffeine-free
55. State in the northeast of Brazil
57. Town in the province of Noord-Brabant
58. Dance move where arms are pointed up and to the side
59. People of the Niger delta
61. Describing himself, this is a word that might be used by member Sp3000
65. Bank offering, in brief
67. Quirk or twitch
69. Fighting game including Final Fantasy characters
70. In the same place
71. Provoke
72. Another name for the GroES protein
75. Remove covering
77. A monetary unit of Mauritania
80. Bone in the chest
82. Emphasize; accentuate
83. Concrete-strengthening steel rod
84. Exhibiting a very strong and unpleasant smell; pungent
86. Nickname of Nate River
87. Synonym of the word for the color one might indicate by the letter A?
88. Affirmative response
89. Schilling replacer
91. Detractory remark; taunt
92. Blue color, in Japan
94. Yes, this city is further west than all remaining German cities
95. Competes with stakes, like Yumeko Jabami
97. First word in the title of a Valve cooperative first-person shooter
101. Initialism for a security that tracks a basket of assets but can be traded like a stock
103. Opinion or thought in Hindu philosophy
105. One of the Ninja Turtles, for short
108. If you fight this creature in Pokémon Puzzle League's story mode, you will be listening to "Everything Changes"
109. Javascript user interface framework
111. Little playable character in "Goof Troop"
112. Organizes the Champions League
114. Unit of time for schools
116. Museum in Newport Beach, California, briefly
118. What "R" means in the cards for Love Live! School Idol Festival
122. Arabic reading direction, abbreviated
123. Type of noodle of Japanese cuisine
124. Synonym of the word for the color one might indicate for the letter E?
125. Establishment review website
127. Máximo Gómez Airport ICAO code
129. Name of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to German speakers, for short
131. Business school in Spain, or slang Brazilian greeting
132. Attack with force
134. Japanese martial art, focused on being constantly prepared
135. Had food
136. Initialism for data center bridging
138. Gardening tool
140. Sebastian ___, elected president of the IAAF in 2015
141. Enzyme homogentisate 1,2-dioxygenase
147. In a certain location
150. A current that changes direction periodically (abbreviated)

Other notes:

  1. If you need to read something off of the grid, it will be in reading order (rows from left to right, then columns from top to bottom). That goes for all 3 bullet points.
  2. Someone is probably going to make one anyway, so if it helps here's a spreadsheet with the grid. Please let me know if you find any inaccuracies and I'll correct them.

Erratum: For 130-across, only the cell corresponding to the second letter should be colored.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @QuantumTwinkie check out puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/61046/43256 $\endgroup$ – NL628 Apr 22 '18 at 2:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What bothers me is that by the time I get to 10, Desouvi might already be on 157... $\endgroup$ – NL628 Apr 22 '18 at 2:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Clue no. 61: LOL. That's hilarious. $\endgroup$ – Sid Apr 22 '18 at 5:16
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Reason #64582 why we should be able to put bounties on questions. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Apr 22 '18 at 14:24

This puzzle was co-solved with Sp3000 (who did a large part of the work).

The solved grid

enter image description here

Piece of Information #1

As the instructions say, strip everything but letters from each clue. Then, whenever an answer contains the middle letter of a clue (or one of the middle letters, if the clue length is even), highlight it in the grid.
This gives us this grid:
enter image description here
(green highlights are from Across answers, and blue are from Down answers.)

These are the characters from the logo of TORADORA (a romantic comedy light novel series that was adapted into an anime).
enter image description here

Piece of Information #2

The exclamation point from the logo is missing. But we can find it in the grid!
enter image description here
This spells out the adjective, CHEERFUL.

Piece of Information #3

There are four question-marked clues in the grid that seem especially relevant (three of them in the central column):

 10. (TEN) The number that would correspond to L in a system of numbering that skips over letters that specify colors?
 11. (AMARANTH) A color you might use when no other is specified?
 87. (DARK) Synonym of the word for the color one might indicate by the letter A?
 124. (PALE) Synonym of the word for the color one might indicate for the letter E?

Additionally, extracting the first letters of the clues that allowed us to color cells gave us the phrase ORANGE SQUARES ARE IMAGE RLE ENCODED BY COLUMNS. These clues tell us how to extract a final image:

- Read off the orange cells (in standard reading order).
- Convert all the letters besides A and E to a modified form of A1Z26 code that skips A and E. (B=1, C=2, D=3, F=4, G=5...)
- Interpret the numbers as "runs" of a specific color, a la Run-length encoding. E means white, A means black, and no letter means amaranth. For instance, the first few orange letters are EIEBJET. This gets read as [EI][EB][J][ET], meaning "7 white cells, then 1 white cell, then 8 amaranth cells, then 18 white cells".
- Arrange the given cells into a square by columns.

Doing all of this gives us an image:
enter image description here

This is pixelart of MINORI KUSHIEDA, a character from Toradora and the subject of the crossword.
enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ ...knew it...smh $\endgroup$ – NL628 Apr 22 '18 at 16:37

Wrap-up: The Making Of "A Racing Heart!"

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

Caution: This post may contain spoilers.

This puzzle's idea has a long story. I've been meaning to have an image be hidden in a crossword for almost a year now (more specifically, since the steganography topic challenge), but I didn't find any good ways to make it work at the time. I settled for hiding words in a colored image in Help! Can you get my puzzle back?, and put the original idea at the back of my mind.

More recently, while solving Creatures of Darkness, Sp3000 said he expected something "close to heart", which made me want to do something with such a theme (an indirect thank you for the inspiration was given by adding a clue mentioning him in the puzzle.).

Anime characters also can be drawn with simple lines, which is something I needed since I couldn't use any fancy compression scheme (I needed to explain it after all!) The choice of character was a no-brainer for me, and the general theme was modified to "hearty" after I noticed that it could mean both cheerful and athletic (the last one a bad pun for run-length encoding).

An issue is that a single drawing of an anime character would not be very specific, so I took a cue from Ucaoimhu's crosswords (for instance) and included other info in the crossword as well.

Logistical steps

I hoped making the image would be easier, but I did not find a tool to reduce an image to 3 colors automatically (the closest I got was Gimp's posterize, but it always uses at least 4: magenta, cyan, yellow, and black).

So I just did it the old fashioned way and drew manually on top of this image, using white, black and amaranth (I had to ask a friend for the name of this color), then constantly tried to reduce the number of color switches to help out my run-length encoding (it started out at ~260 letters or so, and it got down to 181 before I saw no other obvious changes).

The image was made 29x29 so the dimensions are not ambiguous from the total pixel count (I mean, technically it could be an 1x841 image...)

Also there seems to be no tool for filling out crosswords that spell out messages, so I had to do the filling manually. Yes, the numerous anime/game/Brazilian references are intentional. The bottom turned out a bit iffy to make the last down answers work -- planning out the end of a crossword is tougher than I expected, and if someone wants to make a grid they should be wary of this :)

There are scripts for nearly everything to try to reduce human errors (a few still slipped by, unfortunately): most obviously, one to convert an image to its RLE encoded form and one to do the reverse process. There was also a script to check that the crossword clues matched the restrictions, which seems to have been hit with some Nordic divine intervention:

enter image description here

There were two scripts responsible for placing and parsing orange squares in the crossword. A curious fact is that Qxw, the software I used, draws crossword squares as 36x72 blocks that are half black and half white, and then the black portion is covered up (don't ask me why), and I had to wrestle a bit with that. The parsing part was a bit troublesome, so I decided to just hand it over to solvers as part of the spreadsheet (I didn't want anyone to try to do it manually and suffer with transcription mistakes!)

Closing remarks

Minorin, in all of her self-improvement wisdom, would like to remind you that you shouldn't get so caught up in searching for what you can't see, that you lose sight of what you can.

I hope this was fun, or at least as interesting to solve as it was for me to make!

  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio why place bounties on questions? When you can place a bounty on the Wrap-up!! :D $\endgroup$ – NL628 Apr 22 '18 at 20:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @NL628 The wrap-ups are really an excuse to do what bounties would do more gracefully, but serve as a nice platform for puzzle setters to share some of their creative inspiration with us—everyone wins. But I suspect it would be a bit over the top to then give a bounty on a wrap-up post as well... I still think bounties for questions would be useful, so you can make a donation of your own rep to a puzzle deserving of extra recognition without the setter having to have done a wrap-up post at all. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Apr 23 '18 at 20:16

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