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I'm trying (another) crossword variant from the same puzzle book. It's called a helter-skelter, the lovechild of a wordsearch and a crossword.

Rules

  • Each word starts in the box marked with its clue number, and extends in the direction of the next clue number (#1 is forward horizontal, here).
    • You have to figure out for yourself which direction the last word goes in
  • Words must at least reach the next clue number, but may extend past it (#1 could be 6, 7, or 8 letters long)
  • Words must be at least 3 letters long
  • Words can go in any direction, including diagonally, that is allowed in a wordsearch
  • All cells in the grid will be filled once you are done

The crossword grid. See text representation below

Text version of grid

1  _  4  _  _  2  _  _
_  _  17 _  _  _  18 _
_  _  _  _  5  _  _  6
16 20 3  _  _  10 _  7
_  _  21 _  13 _  _  _
_  _  _  _  23 8  _  9
_  19 _  _  _  _  _  _
15 _  22 _  14 11 _  12

Clues

1. A kind of guidance often requested in ratings
2. Bushes too big for their britches
3. Always
4. Underrated genetic code
5. Creative crafts
6. Convinced
7. Bees too big for their britches
8. A strange-tasting “milk”
9. Talk and talk and talk and talk
10. A group that talks and talks and talks and talks
11. Cut off an “always”
12. Merit
13. Spot
14. A young, informal professional
15. Fox hunter’s cry
16. Poke someone
17. Make angry, perhaps by poking
18. Sells strange-tasting “milk”, etc.
19. Fine-smelling thorny
20. Run away together
21. Jump
22. Filipino dollars
23. Performance section

I'd love to hear feedback on this, since it's my first attempt. Should I try to have more checked letters? Less? Have more clues in the center? Would you all enjoy more weird crossword variants (the book has a LOT more)?

Extra Imaginary Internet Points for each extra word you find in the finished grid!

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The filled grid:

enter image description here

Clue answers, and some comments:

enter image description here
1 took me a while to get. I don't think PARENTAL guidance is really "requested"? This seems to be a roundabout way of cluing the word.
2 and 7 sacrifice accuracy for humor. While I enjoy funny clues, they should still be accurate to what they're describing. A tree is not a bush, and a bee is not a wasp; they're separate things.
10 doesn't make sense - a POSSE isn't particularly known for a lot of talking. The only useful part of this clue is the first two words. I see that you wanted to have something similar to the previous clue, but it doesn't really work.
11 is very strained. I guess you were going for a reference to clue 3? I don't think it makes sense, though - "always" isn't a noun. I would strongly advise not trying to make clues reference each other unless it naturally works. It's not worth forcing it.
14 is a variant, and should be tagged (var), or indicated in some other way.
15 is incredibly obscure. I would've remade the grid to not use it.
16's grammar doesn't quite match. KNEE is a synonym of "poke", not "poke someone".
18's part of speech doesn't match. GROCER is a noun, but the clue is a verb phrase.
19's part of speech doesn't match. ROSE is a noun, but "Fine-smelling thorny" is two adjectives. Did you forget a word at the end of the clue?

I'd also point out that the left and top parts of the grid were pretty difficult to get. With only this much:
enter image description here
... it's not exactly easy. The only leftover clues are "A kind of guidance often requested in ratings" for ??R??T??, which isn't very gettable; "Fox hunter's cry" for Y?????, which is obscure; and ?NE? for "poke someone". With so many unchecked letters, this part is more difficult than it needs to be, and the solver doesn't have anything else to rely on. I'd suggest making your clues for largely unchecked words much more direct.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for that! Yeah, I filled in the grid and then realized that some areas weren't checked enough. I'll be more careful cluing next time. Thank you for the feedback! $\endgroup$ – bobble Jun 25 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, I thought 1 was very obvious. Yes, it might not be fully accurate but it was definitely gettable $\endgroup$ – Sid Jun 26 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ As for parental, I think it refers to "parental guidance suggested", as per MPAA definition? I can see some links between "suggested" and "requested". But as always, your answer is great. $\endgroup$ – justhalf Jun 26 at 6:31

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