Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.33
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The structure for this puzzle is a little unusual for me, because I don’t usually like to build sections like those semi-closed-off areas in the northwest and southeast. (As I recall, I’ve only done something like that a couple of times on this site.) Those sections are a little more wide-open than you usually see — usually, the “choke point” of the closed-off section is 3 letters wide, but this time it’s 4 letters wide (at 24-Across and 44-Across, in this puzzle). The reason it’s 4 letters wide is because I really wanted the nice interlock between 3-Down/27-Across and 37-Across/23-Down, and the seed at 3-Down is 11 letters long. If I’d put the answer at 3-Down in the third column, that would have forced me to put a three-block bar in rows 4 and 12, which would have forced a pair of three stacking three-letter answers in the northeast and southwest. (I prefer not to have stacks of two or more threes in the corners.) Thus, 3-Down is in the 4th column, which forced me to keep those corners at least four squares wide.
I often talk about my seed list for answers, but I also have a seed list for clues. 23-Down was in the seed clue list, so I was glad to get that clue-answer pair out there.
You can probably guess what novel inspired the entry at 37-Across, but I won’t give it away here… no spoilers!
My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is, by far, the tidbit at 1-Down. I could have gone in many different directions with that clue, of course, but that fact in the clue was too good to pass up. Wow.
As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?
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