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Here's an interesting idea for a puzzle I came up with (not sure if it's been done before). The idea is that it's kinda like a crossword, and also kinda like a word search.

Here's how it works:

  • You start with a grid of letters and a list of clues
  • Your goal is to shade in some of the squares on the grid so that it becomes a crossword, such that:
    • Every clue is matched to exactly one word in the crossword
    • Every word in the crossword matches to exactly one clue
  • Words in the crossword go horizontally or vertically, and only forwards (not backwards; like in a normal crossword)
  • All words in the crossword are at least 2 letters long

To solve you must:

  • Show the final solved grid, with the proper squares shaded in
  • List every word in the crossword grid with its matching clue

crosswordsearch

Text version:

S I P S S Z I P
A D I P P E R R
F A M A N S I C
D R A M A T I C
A I R Y E Y E S
N D O X X X B I
Y O C S I M P T
A W K W T A R M

Clues (In no particular order, in parenthesis is length of word)

- 501(c)(3) Org. [abbr.] (3)
- A pebble's father (5)
- Adobe product [abbr.] (2)
- Common archive format (3)
- Baby sound (2)
- Important body organs (4)
- One of four classical elements (3)
- Company necessity [abbr.] (2)
- Type of computer memory [abbr.] (4)
- Math Constant (2)
- Crime checker [abbr.] (3)
- Da! (2)
- Don't do this (4)
- Food checker [abbr.] (3)
- Emergency sign text (4)
- Garbage action (3)
- Gargantuar's friend (3)
- Half of the name of a paper game (3)
- Orange peel adjective (5)
- Nacho chip action (3)
- Standards Organization (4)
- Unix cli tool (3)
- Unwanted emails (4)
- Will Smith meme word (2)

Any feedback or constructive criticism for this puzzle would be greatly appreciated

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This type of puzzle is known as a Backwords or Black-Out puzzle. I'm afraid they've been around since at least as far back as the 1970's! But people do say the best things are invented twice, so well done for going for it and putting one together :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 5 '20 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @Stiv for the compliments! I guess there are many different types of puzzles out there $\endgroup$
    – thesilican
    Jul 5 '20 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ Is it supposed to be that every word in the crossword has a clue? You've said that every clue has a corresponding word, but does it go the other way too? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jul 5 '20 at 22:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ While you're clarifying that, it might be worth making it explicit (if it's true) that we never have one word matching two clues or one clue matching two words. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jul 5 '20 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ Feedback as requested: Many of the clues are very vague and difficult to pin down or are ambiguous (I've heard babies make lots of sounds, and "Don't do this" can produce many answers...). Perhaps some stricter cluing would help, fewer answers that are acronyms (they're very hard to spot), and not so many red herrings please (I've found multiple body parts and computer parts...)! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 5 '20 at 23:01
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I believe the solved grid is as follows:

enter image description here

Words matched to clues:

- 501(c)(3) Org. [abbr] (3) IIE
- A pebble's father (5) A ROCK
- Adobe product [abbr.] (2) PS (PhotoShop)
- Archive format (3) ZIP
- Baby sound (2) MA (as in 'Mama')
- Important body organs (4) EYES
- One of four classical elements (3) AIR
- Company necessity [abbr.] (2) PR (Public Relations)
- Type of computer memory [abbr.] (4) DRAM
- Math Constant (2) PI
- Crime checker [abbr.] (3) CSI
- Da! (2) TA (TA DA!)
- Don't do this (4) DOXX
- Food checker [abbr.] (3) FDA
- Emergency sign text (4) EXIT
- Garbage action (3) RID
- Gargantuar's friend (3) IMP
- Half of the name of a paper game (3) TIC (where 'half' is technically a third OF TIC-TAC-TOE)
- Orange peel adjective (5) ZESTY
- Nacho chip action (3) DIP
- Standards Organisation (4) ANSI
- Unix cli tool (3) AWK
- Unwanted emails (4) SPAM
- Will Smith meme word (2) YA

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  • $\begingroup$ This matches very closely with what I was working on. The social media clue was giving me trouble. One difference I had was computer part as "DRAM" and a pebble's father as "AROCK," keying in to the use of the article "a" before pebble $\endgroup$
    – user69943
    Jul 5 '20 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielC Yes, now that the enumerations are present I also agree with those words (see my reworked solution which I was editing when you commented!) :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 5 '20 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ very nicely done! $\endgroup$
    – user69943
    Jul 5 '20 at 23:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Stiv yes this is correct! Good job on completing the puzzle, and thank you very much for your feedback. I will try to put more effort into clearer and more specific/less ambiguous clues in the future. $\endgroup$
    – thesilican
    Jul 5 '20 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ Also the explanatory notes and web links in your explanation are a very nice touch $\endgroup$
    – thesilican
    Jul 5 '20 at 23:52

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