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I seem to be getting more forgetful these days.
Today I can't remember my password to my super-secret Puzzling sock-puppet account.
I know I did that thing where you use the first letters of words of some phrase or whatever.
And I left myself a "password hint" - it follows the pattern Xxxx:xxxx.XXX!
(so there is upper-case, lower-case, and special characters, and the length is 14).
I just can't seem to remember what it is.

Fortunately, in a moment of foresight, I left myself a crossword that should remind me.
Unfortunately, I'm having trouble figuring that out too:
The clues aren't numbered, and don't seem to be in the right order at all. Arrgh!

Maybe you can help?


enter image description here

ACROSS

    May earn you +2 reputation
    Orange, kind of
    Endlessly talked or whined
    Recent puzzle, “Surviving the Zombie ___”
    For puzzles, not problems
    Endothermic, like birds and mammals
    Definitely out of this world
    Informally, “Vandy”

DOWN

    Ta, W, Re, ...
    Foremost tag on Puzzling
    Stack _______
    Ravenous eater; lover of (too much) good food
    Name of a kind of pi(e)
    Often run-down, very cheap lodging; a dive
    Employer of Linus Torvalds in 2000
    Evidently, how “Slurm 7-packs” should be shipped

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  • $\begingroup$ for Kaylie $\;$ $\endgroup$ – Rubio May 27 at 23:12
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    $\begingroup$ Like we'll tell you your sock-puppet account password. ;) $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 27 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ To assist future solvers: 4 boxes: 15 5 boxes: 14 6 boxes: 6,8 8 boxes : 1,7,9 9 boxes: 2,3,12 10 boxes: 5,11 11 boxes: 4,10,11 16 boxes: 13 20 boxes: 16 $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 27 at 23:38
9
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The solved grid:

enter image description here

The clues and answers:

4A: For puzzles, not problems - MATHEMATICS 5A: Recent puzzle, “Surviving the Zombie ___” - APOCALYPSE 7A: Endlessly talked or whined - YAMMERED 11A: Endothermic, like birds and mammals - WARMBLOODED 13A: Definitely out of this world - EXTRATERRESTRIAL 14A: Orange, kind of - NAVEL 15A: May earn you +2 reputation - EDIT 16A: Informally, “Vandy” - VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY 1D: Stack _______ - EXCHANGE 2D: Name of a kind of pi(e) - RASPBERRY 3D: Often run-down, very cheap lodging; a dive - FLOPHOUSE 6D: Ta, W, Re, ... - OSMIUM 8D: Foremost tag on Puzzling - RIDDLE 9D: Ravenous eater; lover of (too much) good food - GOURMAND 10D: Evidently, how “Slurm 7-packs” should be shipped - EFFICIENTLY 12D: Employer of Linus Torvalds in 2000 - TRANSMETA
4A is a reference to , 2D is a reference to the Raspberry Pi microcomputer (as well as the food), 6D to elemental abbreviations, and 10D to this puzzle.

So we can see that

the first letters of the answers spell "MAY WE NEVER FORGET", and the first letters of the clues spell "FREEDOM IS NOT FREE". These form an American idiom about the holiday of Memorial Day, which fits perfectly in the Xs. And confirming this is the letters at the intersections of the grid, which spell out HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY. Combining these and taking the first letters, the password is Mwnf:finf.HMD!

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  • $\begingroup$ OK, I've got the hang of the spoilery stuff. Give me just a sec to work it out. $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 28 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja ah, beat me to it :) I was just about to save my edit when yours rolled in. $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 28 at 0:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Brandon_J - sorry didn't realise you were already looking into it. For future reference to anyone reading, as of semi-recently, you can use code fences to do blocks of formatted text without needing four space indenting or <pre> tags, which makes it work in spoilers reasonably nicely. $\endgroup$ – Alconja May 28 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja no hard feelings - thanks so much for the info! $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 28 at 0:29
0
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Work in Progress (now pointless)

Across

A. May earn you +2 reputation

Accepting (7)

B. Orange, kind of

C. Endlessly talked or whined

D. Recent puzzle, “Surviving the Zombie ___”

E. For puzzles, not problems

F. Endothermic, like birds and mammals

Warm-blooded (4 or 11)

G. Definitely out of this world

H. Informally, “Vandy”

Vanderbilt University (16)

Down

I. Ta, W, Re, ...

J. Foremost tag on Puzzling

Riddle (6 or 8)

K. Stack _______

Exchange (1 or 9)

J. Ravenous eater; lover of (too much) good food

K. Name of a kind of pi(e)

L. Often run-down, very cheap lodging; a dive

M. Employer of Linus Torvalds in 2000

Linux (14)

N. Evidently, how “Slurm 7-packs” should be shipped

Some grunt work and notes:

Words with 4 boxes: 15

5 boxes: 14

6 boxes: 6,8

8 boxes : 1,7,9

9 boxes: 2,3,12

10 boxes: 5,11

11 boxes: 4,10,11

16 boxes: 13

20 boxes: 16

I am using letters for each of the clues so as not to confuse with the word slots in the crossword, which are numbered.

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