Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.62
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So I had the staggered stack in the middle, obviously, from the start, but what I did not have originally were the 12-letter entries cutting through them. What was even farther from my mind was that one of the 12-letter entries was from my seed list and just happened to fit there (21-Down). There was originally another pair of squares which originally had the grid at 70 (7-Down was going to be five letters long), but I noticed I could break through cleanly in those two spots and that was that.
What you see as the clue for 37-Across, I swear to you, was the fourth full iteration for that entry. I had three completely different clues, and had second (third… fourth?) thoughts on each one of them before I arrived at this one. I’m pretty happy with that one (obviously, I kept it).
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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.
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