Solution: A Crossword

Written by Jakob Weisblat and Yannick Yao

This is a diagramless crossword puzzle, though there aren't that many clues for a 15x15 grid; it turns out to be a cryptic-style grid, where every square in an even row and column is black (one potential clue to this is that every answer has odd length). Whenever two numbers for the same clue are given, across always comes before down.

1. Face of rock gem, e.g.FACET
1. Fabric bluffing as animalFAKE FUR
2. O’Brien on night TVCONAN
3. Gave a foot bounces to keep the beatTOETAPPED
4. E.g. assassins who snipe if u pay themHIRED GUNS
4. Evening shout to your spouse as a “greetings”HONEY I’M HOME
5. Solo’s sonREN
6. Spinning recital?DJ SET
7. Used for GPS & phones, with “frequency”ULTRAHIGH
8. Man, what Hercules cleaned!STABLES
9. Long winner of Jeopardy!: a Seattlan (has blog).KEN JENNINGS
10. Grp. at IAHTSA
11. A game of very intense play on draft day, and lotsa viewing TDsFANTASY FOOTBALL
12. They can make it! Sea voyages, USA to e.g. EuropeOCEAN LINERS
13. Like, accrue a heapRUNUP
14. Radioactive veggies’ sharp chromaNEON GREEN
15. Use to remember outset ltrs. of wordMNEMONICS
16. U.K. beverage with bubble and citrusORANGEADE
17. What you term a total lunar eclipseBLOOD MOON
17. Waiting place for big carsBUS STOP
18. A sneeze you’d hearACHOO
19. Resists against; disputesOPPOSES
20. Pleasing travel - going to some lovely or noble spot w/ a cameraSIGHTSEEING TRIP
21. Go NE & be in OrlandoTAMPA
22. Water goes in BonnRHINE
23. Raise ___ barTHE
24. Newton, Archimedes, Riemann or Euler’s fieldMATHEMATICS
25. Root fourTWO
26. Shapes having two plus three anglePENTAGONS
27. So, heaven gardens!EDENS
These words fill into the following grid:

While solving the clues, solvers may notice that some of them are strangely phrased or even downright ungrammatical. Clearly, they weren’t the best possible clues we could write for these answers. Solvers may also notice that some of the clues are very long, and that the very long clues correspond to the longest answers. In fact, each clue can be placed in a larger grid in the same locations as their corresponding answers:

Taking the places where this grid overlaps with the answer grid, we get the squares highlighted in yellow. Reading those in row major order, we get the answer, FUNNY PAGES.

Author’s Notes

The inspiration for this puzzle came from an unlikely place - imagining if a crossword grid were made of the same material as a diaper and could expand if water were added. That's what inspired the first few titles of this puzzle, but nobody understood any of them so we changed it to this.

We initially planned to improve the clues after the first round of testing (if u pay them, two plus three angle, etc.) but we ended up keeping them since we thought they were funny and the first set of testsolvers thought their ridiculousness made them a clear target of further observation.

Our favorite clues are 1-Down, 4-Across, 9-Across, and 23-Down.

We're sorry about the entry DJ SET, which was harder than expected - we intended to change the clue but then there were more fires to put out, and it wasn't vital to extraction. We hope it didn't trip you up too much.