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Nonlinear crosswords

74 grids that have to be parsed using special rules

Sometimes crossword answers can't easily be read just by looking at the grid.

Sometimes special rules apply that change how the grid must be interpreted.

Inclusion here is somewhat subjective but these puzzles all require special data handling in our software. Gimmicks include answers that turn corners or fold up, rebus elements that have to be interpreted differently in different directions, wrap-around answers, elements that float outside the grid, and more.

Puzzles are ordered from most recent to oldest.

Click any thumbnail to see the full view.

Sun 11/9/2014COLORFUL CHARACTERS
HOLESBLUEJAYBRICK
WAHINEYOTEAMOETHANE
AGASSIFEELBADLEONID
TARTSLAWTEALPANE
TRAILMIXESMILLIHELEN
NEILTOEPEAS
MAGICACETATESTONE
YIPPROMINENTELI
ASPENYELLOWSEAEDGER
ONSTAGEBESETBTWELVE
MOTHERRESELLSRELIEF
IMOSITARSLANAISGNU
NERDFESTBULBSETS
GREENTEAHAPBLACKEYE
LOSSATLASELOI
LIGHTHARMONICABERRY
ALAIFORMLETTERSDIEU
RIBMOTELBASALBEL
VULGARNEONGASLIABLE
AMELIAATPEACEEMBOSS
SONYSTORKMOON
Colors have to be added to letters formed by squares in the grid. Look at the crossword to see what I mean. You end up with BLACK I, YELLOW C, GREEN T, BLUE J.

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Sun 9/7/2014ALL-ENCOMPASSING
RICHETAUPETEAMS
CELLARISWARVACATE
JUNKETSAKELASTOREUP
APAAHASAREOPERLGA
FOULWATHERORSONWLLES
ALLAHZENODELTQUANT
RATSONSVUIDOCUSSES
SUEDINNERSHAH
ASPSOAPEDTETRISOTO
REARENDEDWHICHEVER
TWENWEYAWD
SEASCAPESMISTLETOE
YINORDEALBORNEOERR
EMMAMASERLASH
SCRAMSSUNFEESTASIS
ALEROAPEDUSDAIVANA
BOLLWEVILSDONTSWATIT
EVAELANLEDATOPIDA
RETINALGIRLSIRATELY
SETSTOADWEKRECITE
STEENBETSYENEMY
Answers need to go through the compass points in the correction orientation.

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Thu 8/14/2014
LTDSERRPALS
SHOPALEAHOLIC
DELIBEPIERATE
GENTVALLEBEN
TAOSAIRDARE
EMUCITROENMAR
LETMEBEANOMALY
REEDDEMO
DELILAHTRAITOR
EMOOMICRONOBI
LEARGREHOED
UNDERHUSPASS
IDIDNWITTDOIT
SENDSASLANOTE
EDGYYEEONYX
Six answers go under a bridge and re-emerge on the other side.

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Thu 7/17/2014
SUNSCLANNOLTE
ONECOGLEENORM
PMUHWHALERECAP
HEROINCDEFATT
STOOLOATSATTY
LLAFPOSITION
STNTMSELMORE
PROLIFEINASNIT
AURORAUNCSAS
RETRAUQSNEAK
ELHILUISPULPS
TOESTANNODEAL
IVANAYGGIPRIDE
RESINLURKOGRE
ESTEEEPEEWHET
Parts of words go BACK, so for example, PMUHWHALE needs to be read as HUMPBACK WHALE.

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Sun 6/29/2014DOWNRIGHT TRICKY!
CHINICECUBESCALESIP
OAHUMOSHPITEAGERPRO
BRAMONPITCHANEGGIKE
BEDECKSVIKEHOTPOCKET
SARIFAMERONEAREDS
HOGCALLERBLINDBID
EMUNOMARMILUSAGE
MANCAVEYEARLYPHYSICAL
ITCHESTIVATERUESELL
LEHRERHSIAABSCISSA
IVEMADEADECISION
PASSEDONEROSNODOGS
FRATILKSAMSNEADAFRO
FILMINDUSTRIESBEARFUR
TATASPUPIDLERBBB
MSPACMANPADDEDBRA
ALIIROARMIMESYALE
WINNDIXIESCARINSTALL
FBIASINKNAZIERAINCA
URNRENEEBRITCOMNCIS
LAGANGRYCONDONEGEDS
The El CID theme means that CID answers create an L shape by making a turn.

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POW Sun 6/8/2014STRIKE ONE
MOPIDIOTICMAAMABCS
AHAVAMPIREOSLOSLIT
SMILEYFACESTILTIOTA
KYRABILTHEARTOFWAR
BEENMPAAIOUODE
ARTOODETOOLESSERAPES
RERUNSERIKLEESBELA
AGARSMAGNESIACANST
RUMSBEAUTYCONTEST
ALPLACESITALIENS
TALCANTMRIDONS
REHIREDRJFORTLOO
EVERGREENTREERICO
EBONYLOPEAREDDEMON
MLLESHOOZIONMODINE
BODYDOUBLEFOOFIGHTER
OCTARMGASPINGE
SKIPTOMYLOUALAACME
SAMEREMODESSERTTRAY
EDENARCSEMITTEDUKE
DERNLSATNUDISTSXED
Some letters have to be crossed out with an X.

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Thu 3/20/2014
TALESQUABACDC
ALEXOUNCEDORA
PINTPATEGURNER
ASTORDOSREGAL
STORAGIGNORE
THEMSTEAL
BMWSTANKSLEAK
AIRYOUSKI
AXISTOWNSJEAN
TASERKALE
COLLEGGAZEBO
ORATETUBSEVER
ABRIDOOFARBIGA
TIGEAFOREETAL
STERFUSEDLENS
The word GET is twisted various ways.

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Thu 1/9/2014
ZIPSMESINTEL
ASEAUTASNOONE
PLAYTONHDIRGE
PECBANAIESTER
ASHTONNNAPEEL
FOOTEDYET
DRUBSARRHESUS
OOZEBRELOQUAY
ENZYMEAACUBED
ATMSBROAD
PATCHOFADLIBS
SARAHRAICEVAT
PROTOSUTEJIBE
ESSENELEREDEN
DEERETMSBELT
The SAN ANDREAS FAULT causes theme answers to shift down to the next row mid-stream.

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Thu 1/2/2014
IBARSALLAFLAT
RECAPDUOMOOCH
MACHINESVARACE
ARENOLTETONER
UPLATECHINESE
OPTICSSHAVERS
DOETHMOIRES
ANDIWALLMEMUS
GEAREDPLANK
FRANCISDEFTLY
GLUTTONDEAFTO
ROSIEACORNROE
ORSONTHERULESB
FEINTEARTOSEA
ETAPEDIRSASSY
This puzzle confused many solvers. MACHINESV means we're looking for a V-ending machine or VENDING MACHINE.

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POW Thu 12/12/2013
CEDILLAESIASON
OPENOUTNASTASE
RAMBLERGRAMMAR
NUIAGESAGOOKD
ELLEOSAGEMAAS
RELYTGIJANN
STEEDSONIONS
BEAMGIGI
COVERTISAYSO
BOLOAWECOHN
DENTKNITSSURE
ENDPADTHAILIN
EGOTISMABALONE
MARINERNEMESES
SYSTEMSERASERS
ERASERS means you still get valid words when you erase all the R's.

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Sun 12/1/2013TWO HALVES IN ONE
BBSDIPTPAINETHANOL
EEWENAAETNASUITORS
RAENILBEINGPREENED
GREATDIVIDEWINS
MENTALNOTESHOESEWES
AREOLETHEREANDAGAIN
NSYNCSEAOASTTHATSO
ABESHUMPWHALE
SMORESMASSDOERDA
CHOPINFINECONCLAVES
NUTTEDENGCOWLABORS
BLOSSOMEDBONNOCELOT
CARVIDTONESCREEN
PAPERBOOKMAKO
LOOSERLAWSDIXSODOM
BROKEMOUNTAINESPANA
SALSWOODSLOSSLEADER
WARPBACKINBLACK
NIAGARAOPINEKIAILE
IDCARDSLOGOSENLSUR
POETESSDIANESOLTBS
Back in Black is the clue to write BACK into four black squares.

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Sun 11/3/2013STOLEN PRODUCE
OBAMATHAWMOTTOCLAP
PARISOONAENRONLAIR
EMNSHEHRDSREINEERLE
LAOSXENAGRAPELEAVES
JCOLEBOILSIXNAYS
ENGARDEBODESBTUS
COMPOUNFRCURCARRTSE
GLEANSIACTDATEBOOKS
ANNIINSECRETSPRIT
ELLEHEKATEESME
OCHNSSSTERLEMONDROPS
CLAYDAUBEDADEN
HARPONAVYYARDITEM
RUMDBILEYNALATEEMED
ESSEDYSBANANASPLITS
ORLETUSKSSHELLAC
SEADOOOUSTSSTIRS
OXODNVERSIYALARANNA
LARSERASEFRUITFLIES
OCTOTILLSTERRLIBRA
STANONSETCAPEAESOP
Fruit letters have to be yanked out in this Stolen Produce grid.

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POW Thu 9/26/2013
BALLDOZENHALF
EPEEIRATEIDEA
SIAMESECATGMAC
TENONSHIPSHAPE
INTOLATENT
WONEDYSYER
EGGRIOTSSEGER
SLOBCLOCKDODI
TENORKOALATAN
LUVDRUMOMG
SCOTIAMILS
DEATHSTARGALOP
AGRIIAMACAMERA
YULETRACYPEER
SEASSIDEDSPOT
Number from 1 to 12 have to be added in the correct clock position to make sense of the theme answers.

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Sun 9/1/2013PERSONS OF NOTE
DENZEL1JOGGEDLOUF
ORIOLESSAMURAIBLANC
ONLEAVEPLANETSLATTE
DSLSICHORNECHIMEIN
TASTEDEPELIASASET
HISTORYRETORTS
MACANEYALEMHO
VARIANTJABTAMAEAR
HITITFATIMOFFSTADIA
ARCYOGABAZAARFLIRT
NTHSEEKSACEDTACO
DUBAIREEFEREVANBUR
ROOMERAWAREVELOCITY
USXDOWNQEDARETHAO
BOTSOYACLELAS
PHENOMSHOUSTON
GASLITFEEAREANTED
OCTAGONSWANNEGGKOA
DEATHAALARGEMOANING
ELMO5TSARISTARGONNE
LAPSLINDATGEORGE2
Number in Down answers are replaced with the appropriate names of figures on American bills in Across answers.

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Thu 8/29/2013
TTADROLDEMYHR
YHTNAMOELIOTE
RETRACENACIRRUH
OSHOERDNALOC
AELSTOTSTIMO
EUGESANIRTAK
KRYPTOAIG
GIMLETEOFNEWT
APOSEINES
TYPHOONBRIDE
REUSEIPUTELY
ANTGLENSEWES
BROOKLYNCYCLONE
BORNEOEIREHOV
INSEAMROTSCHE
Answers swirl counter-clockwise around the EYE of this Hurricane grid.

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Sun 8/25/2013CAPITAL L'S
EWERNAPAEELERCACTI
BARITONESUVULAORLON
BRIGHTESTROCKCONCERT
SENSORTOPEKAENVATE
RECORDESQDENVER
JUNEAUIONSUTERO
MANIDOSAGEREISSUING
TRIPTYCHSATEENENDUE
ASTEROEDLABRATCEDE
RIDLOSETOCAVESIN
SAPBOSTONAUSTINTEA
PREMEDSDOESNTLET
RONAOHDARNDESCITES
IMACSORDEALRISKFREE
GALAPAGOSTERESAFONZ
RINGOCECEALBANY
HELENAPARATTLEE
ITOCIDPIERRETRAVIS
THISISATESTINPATIENT
UNSETLORCAABUGSLIFE
POESYYOYOSLCDSSLOW
Six-letter state capitals have to make a mid-way L-turn to answer the clues.

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Sun 7/7/2013BONUS FEATURES
FAMERMEWLADAPTBULL
INONEOCHOLIMOUSINES
LITUPUHOHUPTONOGOOD
LMORENOMAAMLAPD
ARENDTENGINESHUTUP
ETHTERAENACTOMORE
LIONCUTUPUMOREMAGE
MOMAISOBARITONYSER
ONEUPHMOREBALTITOE
RESLISTGLOMEND
BUTWAITTHERESMORE
ALACAPNYALEBRA
SONORLONPLAITEGBDF
SUNGTOROEMINEMOREO
AVEOHMOREEMORENOSE
IRREGBUTNOTRAMKTS
LESSISTHATSAONAGER
LAMPBOOMERCLIOS
PARANORMALLOKIKENYA
APOSTROPHEARESLATEX
DEBTEDGARRESTEMORE
But wait! Ten theme answers turn a corner to add MORE.

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Thu 6/6/2013
ESEPISAISWEAR
CONCEDEDSPELLO
ARTICLESLANDAU
STRIKEOSAWTOIT
HOEUPCNOR
FERRETSONAPS
OEDSUETDIP
TEENAGETRILOGY
IRSMESANEA
TACOPAPERBAG
AREYAONOI
ASPECTSTEAROOM
CHILLOFALLINGO
NASSAUITOLDYOU
EMMETTTONYMOT
Five theme answers have a FALLING OUT.

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Sun 6/2/2013STIR CRAZY
SAMCOOKEOLETABEADS
OLEANDERSOLOSGUSSET
TALKEDABSTREAKUMPIRE
IDEAERECTCMSMIV
ORRSGILTLOSTLOVE
BINTHEFACEMYBHEAVEN
PERHORAHISOROED
SEABSUVSHEIFERISM
AMEBAMOONDANCEELHI
AMPBBOOKDRESSBS
BPERIODSCRIPSURPASS
HOPONTOAMEANBOA
ONINSCENARIOSONEBC
TECBBEARDBBOYAMIB
RAUSTOATLUMPAGO
STAYSLATESOMETHINGB
HIREABLEAPEAHATE
OSEBUBTCELLBAAS
BANGELTHECOLORPURPLE
UNDOESAALTOSAILBOAT
PETITGRASPANALYSTS
RED and BLUE have to be mixed to make THE COLOR PURBLE.

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Thu 5/30/2013
BAHSSCARFBADE
OLEOTIMORILER
WOLFDNABBEGITA
LEDTOLOSLOBOS
WEIVRETNITIXE
JEANNIESOAR
ALTNAPNYLON
CHEWORCTAEIVE
KIRBYSECFEW
ELANNEUTERS
WONTISEODYSAE
OMAREPPSDIVAS
VEGAEASTTOWEST
EGGYCLIOSANKA
NAYSTIETONTSB
Four theme answers run EAST TO WEST and go from E to W.

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Thu 5/16/2013
DINETEEMFORKS
JOELHALOANNIE
ETALECHOLLAMA
DARINCHINESE
OOHLEANTO
UALTRANSMISSION
LSATMOTOTHESE
LITPIOUSKSU
MATTERINKDRIP
AGEEXPECTATIONS
NONAMEGUV
MANOVERBOARD
ITGUYZERORUBE
QUESOMENUCRIB
SMEARAPOPEAST
This MAN OVERBOARD theme requires MAN to be written outside the grid three times.

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Thu 4/18/2013
ATOYOOLMODES
DRNOPOMEAMATI
MIDDLEMANFELON
INVAINROFILING
TIDNAPSLOE
SELAHASTIME
ERIKAPIPPIORB
RACILULLSOWER
IRELEADAPRADO
NATIONATLAS
MCIVAARADS
MECHANICTOPLIT
ALLOTROCKLEDGE
SLIMEARIATOUT
TAPEDLEGALPS
Five theme answers have to climb a mountain range.

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Thu 4/4/2013
GASRAPSADSORB
URNLATBRONCO
SMALERAZTECS
POSEASHOPON
UPCKUAIILS
SATNIRVANA
AYERSGAF
FEAOFHEIGHTS
NUITAORA
ROOMESOHED
OOFPENNAAR
PUNICILAND
ATONALSETSOFF
RETORTULWOE
TRENDSPLOPNEW
This puzzle has ten LARGE PRINT squares.

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Sun 2/24/2013I SURRENDER!
FIFERALCOTTUNTRUE
INURESMALARIALOWEST
RTERYTSAHATAEBUTIPAC
EELEATSMELDFLEX
ARSSNITAYEBIASPIP
TSPSCLEMEXTENTHOSE
IHEHTROFDAEHELAPSE
IGLOOPBAMEADOLLUP
PYLONSLIBSNEBULAE
OMSKEPAULETCATERS
RENSENOESOL
SHEAVESTONERSSLAP
PALTERSATTNALPINE
DHTIWSORTLOIARNAZ
RERATEUORGEMOSEVIG
ARESVINNIEBREAGEMS
WEDBINDFTDBIRDRAH
MANSALARONTOONO
CNUYRCLFETIHWEHTEVAW
LUSTREARRIVALYEMENI
ETCHESGOSPELDURAN
"Back down" answers are read backwards to the beginning and then down from there.

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Thu 9/6/2012
ACTEDVEGREAMS
HIRESALIEABBIE
AVANTPIZZAJOINT
BIDROTARY
LEISUREARANTXA
BUNTSAPES
ENSUESSOSIBM
LIENOAHUBARI
LOCKTEENAMEN
ANTPORDABSAT
AHSOBEAKS
EGOTRIPGOESMAD
SPLITSECONDPAW
HAIRSADANO
SAENSKNEEMARCO
ESSAYESTINTEL
Answers split and join in this odd non-standard grid.

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Thu 8/23/2012
ELIMENEAGENDA
CIMARRONLEGION
HAPZTUHCEIGHTY
ORSOPELHCS
ATLASHISP
BEBESPALATNEY
EVENSOREMISNT
LEARNINGYIDDISH
INTOLAOROADEO
ZTULKONSOLEIN
ESPATMESS
ZTIBIKASAP
ALLTOOEZOOMHCS
HIPHOPAERATORS
ASSESSSSTSWET
Yiddish answers are, appropriately, read right to left.

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Thu 7/26/2012
FATETVSPOTVEDA
EQWSREHIREODOR
RUESONACONTINWM
MIRIOUSSICON
INPERPETWMMERLS
OSLOSAYOKSTOP
LBSLOISOAF
DOYOWNDERSTAND
TAUTIERSAG
ATTATHAISFROS
MAPLEIGNISFATWS
BALLSALESTAP
VACWMSEALEDHARE
ISEENAMINGMWMW
NESTSTPETEMASS
Rebus squares read UU Across and W Down.

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Thu 7/5/2012
SASQU2CHEX3ING
SWEETPEALEDGER
NEWDEALSARTURO
CLINTVAVA
SAND4DIEMNET
ANAEROBICAMASS
RAPMUSICBRO
AGAINSTDOORONE
SNOZEROINON
MCGEENOCONTEST
ORORAID5AGES
TASEELIAS
ENESCOAMARETTO
LIESONCARESSER
6AKERSSHIFTKEY
Down clues use digits, Across clues use the SHIFT-KEY equivalent symbol for those digits.

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Thu 6/21/2012
ALOHAEPAPSALM
MAJORTIXOHGEE
OZARKHOLEROUND
KEYSJENITWASI
ELULOGRE
HEYMOMMAHARAJA
TRUEUPATTYBOL
EARNSISSYYOYO
SSTLTRSFIERCE
TESSERAEORATES
AGESPURR
ARGYLEGARSASE
VARIETIESPOLKA
IRONSVETELVIS
DAWGSSKYADAPT
Parts of six answers (i.e., the clue numbers) have been entered in the grid for us.

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Thu 6/14/2012
SADMEDICKNOBS
NOEAXIALASCOT
ANASTASIATATAR
REDRUMMIRYATE
WARPSREDANES
FAOELOIBIPEDS
IGOTENNEADS
REDUPISPSERIF
TRACHEASIRE
FOSTERREDSGAD
ILLOGICSAITH
LEINAHSPROTON
MOCHAEARTHTONE
CLEANEVITANCR
REDITREDONRED
Seven Down answers turn right on RED.

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Thu 5/10/2012
ZIGSKNOWQUISP
ISEEARCHUNTIL
SUITEMATEISERE
THEASPLETSEAT
KABUKIENID
SAWMILLSSRA
EUROPEANSELOAN
REPOMANESTELLE
ERATOCATBALLOU
OSSSTARDATE
IBARTAKEME
BAILEYSPARADE
MAFIACOURTSHIP
AMASSALVAAPEX
CARTEPDASJUMP
Some of the Down answers must JUMP over the circled "words that can follow JUMP", as in JUMPball.

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Sun 2/26/2012BACK TO THE START
LAMPSLACASAGABFESTS
ISAACEXACTSEVERMORE
PERSONALSHOPTONIBRAX
OCTOPODHIMOMNEAREST
EDUCEATINTRY
ANTIDEPRESSLAVYOWZA
MORNSTINTVIDALSOIL
ONOFFOPSWHEELIEURB
KEGLERPLEASUREPRINCI
LAZELENSTREADON
SCOTBIERSLAPSEMENO
YODELERHAIRAMAD
PHYSICALGEOGRADARKER
HITMCQUEENOIDJONAH
OBEYAIRESPURERCECE
NASALSEZARTICHOKEHE
NEADELTAELON
BACKENDROOTSADSPACE
UNDERGROONTHEWATERFR
RELEASEDMALONEARTOO
TWISTTIESLEWEDRUSSO
Theme answers go "Back to the Start." Append the first three letters to the end to get the answer.

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Sun 11/6/2011BAKER'S DOZEN
TREADAMSPROMACDC
ROTINORMANLARABONA
OMANNONVIOLENCESOUR
HALFLIFEDIETSRECKON
SNOOTLLDSSHOCRISPY
CIRCEBOTTOMLESS
MOLAGHASARACTSUP
BAHENNEETALIIAPRS
INCOGALTARSALAESOP
DCNINEMONOSDAMNIGA
SHADOWSWIFTLYCALDER
FUMPAWLSKOALINTENS
ORRISHEFCABOTADDIE
RIENYOYOMAVERBOER
AGAMASOILNEVAVWS
MIDOCTOBERLYSIN
BROACHANSACHETACET
RENNETVOIDSOVERCAME
AYENRIOTSHIELDSOKIE
GAGEINRELENSESMETH
ALARBETSRETROSSS
Twelve cakes are "upside-down."

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Fri 10/21/2011
LLEDELATESHE
TERRIFLEWINCHES
INSIDEASTRO
CEPIRACYRATRA
SNBAGYMAS
MAIDAMFMGPS
NERTIABEAKERI
ELDESTROYINGANG
SEMCEEDLEADIN
SINAXISEDEN
IRPSTANNF
EARUPINLAIDCL
ORALSTRIFLE
CHARTERISLESLIE
EEDEVADESUCC
Several answers "cross over" from right to left or bottom to top. In addition, three 15-letter entries have two answers; one that spans the grid in the normal fashion, and one that starts mid-string and wraps around. This puzzle and the one below were part of the 2011 "CROSS" WORD contest by Patrick Berry.

  [PDF]

Thu 10/20/2011
SPASBBCBNER
LAMPBARABBEDE
ALORSBANANAOIL
BESEATEDCARNEY
ALASSKIT
BADDERVEILALL
WIRESTEENSLEI
AMORBANDBFOAL
SEWSMITSVINNY
HENPALSKARENB
JUTSDINE
ASLANTBEANTREE
CLOCKEDINAROMA
HUNKRATSBANTS
EGGBBEEPAST
Rebus squares must be read as BLACK in one direction and WHITE in the other.

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Thu 8/4/2011
UPSSTASISESPY
ZOOPINATADARE
INFIELDSINGLES
DANCERDRY
STREETPIANO
AIRERSGAITDOR
SCORENOLTEDEA
SECTMETESGALT
ECKBOARSFOYLE
SACANTITOSSED
SPACEOPERAS
SKYTIMING
WENTBARHOPPING
DADAARMADANAE
STYXGINNEDEWE
In this bar-hopping grid, four Across answers and two Down ones skip over blocks.

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Thu 7/28/2011
BARBSHALTSWAN
ODERSILASAHSO
GOUINSMOKETOPU
GRATESONTOIL
SEPTAMEASUREDU
LTRLETINON
BRAEASTOECOLE
LUCSITUFORTOR
INUSEESTOTERP
PATINASHBO
STANDSUTOOPERA
BUSHITSATRAP
UDOSCOMEUSHORT
HAVEALEROIDEE
WYESNAXOSSEED
The UP rebus squares work normally for Across answers, but Down rebus answers must be read upwards.

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Thu 7/7/2011
SOARLAGELNINO
ATTESTTOBYENOW
CONCERTOBRURON
SHOURASKITERS
LICERICA
FEEDONBASILICA
ONMENOUMPSHAM
ADORESTETBONE
LOTGESURNEPIS
SWEARSINISLETS
REPADALL
CHAOSNHLOCTAD
NEBUSEEARMURVE
BALLERIMNOFOOL
CREASETEAFINE
The traffic sign NO U TURN is "literally violated 12 times," meaning that each time an answer hits a U in the grid, it takes a 90° turn.

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Wed 5/4/2011
ADDSAPARTLORE
DEANCABERODOR
ZITITILDAVETS
FPHONELINEA
PORTWINES
AMIESBANHORAS
MARTSASIINOIL
IDASBLINDGOBI
SANALLEGROSOD
SMIDGERWRITHE
IRESANTP
YESMASTER
BLOWYATESIOWA
BIBIOSTEOEXIT
QUITUTURNDOZE
Five Down answers take U-turns to spell out palindromic answers including AIBOHPHOBIA, the fear of palindromes.

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Sun 5/1/2011LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE!
STRAPBARGAINSLOP
COUSINAGELIMITEIRE
WORSTNIGHTMARECOMETRU
ANTEATERIMPKNOTT
TEESCALFINEEDHELP
THESOUTHPOLERROR
SAMOASEABEDALUMNI
ENTRYLEVELJOAFTSADZ
LOOTSAERSTATATOE
MGMHASTDISCWITSEND
BOTTOMOFTHECLAS
STEEPLEITSYLEANSON
PIXYARKSVETDELAY
ANOESSAABJECTPOVERT
RETINTACTIONROADS
TAINTABSOLUTEZER
ARCHRIVALRITZDUMA
PEELEEONATTHETOP
THERESNOWHERETOGOBUTU
ARTIAGLIMMERPIERRE
PESTEASYONEFRANS
Theme answers curl up at the end to find the final letter in this optimistic grid.

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Thu 11/11/2010
ABBESPOLKTSPS
MARCHOLIOWHET
ATARINYESOOZY
NHZUHOZUOZHU
DEOTWIGVORTEX
ASSIZEAGARONE
TURNTURNTURN
TAISOENATYA
SNOISSIWNOOW
OKDHORARUSTED
SHIRAZYANGHMO
ZOHZCZOHZOOZ
ERICLASTTORTE
WINKELIETOPER
EDGYDISCOMERS
This grid must be rotated 90° left or right, or turned upside down, to make sense of five of the answers.

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Thu 10/21/2010
AMPSLAWSSHUNS
LEILAURACOREA
UTAOPCITANDOR
MANBOTTOMROUND
SLOPFIERIER
HEMORIGHOT
OMICRONSROMANA
MENTALPARTIES
ENGINEDIAGRAM
NOENDBLANC
MOUEELBOWS
PIECRUSTSELVIN
POLESITTEROUZO
PLANJEERSCLEO
SENTARRETKENT
The slightly offset central clump of black squares must be interpreted as BLOCK for eight theme answers.

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Thu 10/7/2010
SSTHANTHEFARS
ILOVELAHIBACHI
DEVICESREBATED
EWALKSALEEOE
SHELHEAVY
SERTASTATES
SECTOHSKENOBI
IRRHEXAGONGOD
DOOWOPAPUMANE
ESWIPEPATTI
TIRESIDDO
SKAMOUNTAINS
INSPIRESALIERI
DETENTEEMERGED
EWINDERDESODE
The answers on the side are all SIDE, making a six-sided HEXAGON. Each SIDE answer bends around a corner.

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Thu 7/15/2010
PAWLIMPPASSTO
IPOLOCIICEPOP
ENTRANCEXENONS
REAIMADMIRER
SANTARILEGTOS
TSKTSKBASRA
YEWSAHHBALLOT
OXOWHYOATANO
GARDENSNLIWON
ALKIEONEILL
STASAHABAGENT
HISTORYDWEEB
ATONERFORMULAS
MILTIEENYAELP
ALIENSDENGRES
The Down clues in the bottom left make no sense until a SECRET extra answer is added below the grid. Click the thumbnail to see how it works.

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Thu 6/24/2010
DIAGNNCOFAMED
ETHIOPIANTHANE
MAILSACKSDANTE
MLKETHEPROBLEM
EYESTOSEEDYRS
COILCIGS
ITMAKESNMETHOD
CHORDOOFSPYRO
BODEANSAREPEL
MRSULUENSETOME
PANGNEVE
SHASTEVIERANT
TAKEASTEEPNMBA
AGINGSEMIOTICS
MATINTRANSACTS
PRADAOSEEDIVE
Three horizontal theme answers take a nose dive on the word NOSE before continuing across the rest of the grid.

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Sun 6/13/2010FLAG DAY
METALSERENOWLALAW
RBIMANROMANIAMOBILE
SBEANCOBAINAGAMAS
SELESGYMSCENT
MESTIZOSHEPACQU
INCITESCALAMITOUS
STALESTATARUNTIESTO
SARIRELANDPSHAW
MINISTSSCOWLELI
ELECTRUMDOHHEWABLE
EEOCITALYISAT
MALTASENHLARSLONGA
AVEERASESANBOUT
LOEBSREBUILTKIT
INKINDFRANCESISTINE
GOONSTRIKEENCODES
PYCSDSOSNARLSAT
EASTKAPPDENTI
OHMAGEDIGEARBOOKS
NOEXITFERENGIAERIAL
SONIADORSETPRESTO
Rebus squares are interpreted as color names going Down but as tri-color flags going Across. Replace the flags with appropriate country names for the Across answers to make sense.

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Sun 5/16/2010DOUBLE CROSSERS
FASERINTHERDSPANO
AREGOANDRETTICHETER
DEFOGBEAUFORTHECTOR
ENAETEKENNYPEAHEN
SANGRIASLESREEFSLR
YAMMERERLESSTIA
DONNECAVSATTERSGT
VOWDWAYNEABUSEETHE
IDEAMANOLDCARSTROT
CONVERIONJENNIFER
ESSEEMUSIRTGIARCA
DURATIONCONTRTION
GTOSSAVANNAITSALOT
SAINERHOPANDNOTEKE
ULMDETERSMAIKIDDI
CLEPRAYCELERITY
KILPRODPHDTOLUENES
PITIEDSEARSALTIDO
COMICSHOLLOWEDIONIC
PLINKSSTEEPENSORECK
LITTLTSETSESNESTS
Double Crosses is a "Split Decisions" puzzle inside a regular crossword. Some squares hold 4 letters in a 2x2 box. Across answers use the top and bottom rows. Down answers use the left and right columns. This one is available only as a PDF.
Thu 5/7/2009
OSTERAWEINSPIO
LORRENEUROPATH
IMAMSTALKRADIO
NAMATHREIDUNU
ESSADARNMAAR
JUREGAY
PROUDPAPAFRODO
ROUNDSTHECORNER
EERIEHISORHERS
ORIODES
STARNAPPYANC
IRSSAVESITFOR
ZEPPELINSTHORO
EVICTIONSCRUMP
OINTHENEWHULAO
The rebus elements here can each be represented by a circle but they need to be interpreted as RING, CIRCLE, ZERO, or HOOP. In addition, each rebus must be decoded differently across and down.

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Thu 5/29/2008
ONEABARBQHAIG
LAMBACURAARNO
ERIESTRETCHESA
STRAPSTAIACH
THATIAGORAMAI
RETARSENIOHALL
AXENEWTOPEL
MOVEATOWN
LILOPOKECPU
ONEMANBANDSARP
OVAPEETETIRES
KITEXTASSISI
ATHESTREETABED
ORELTANTOAONE
NORMOYVEYCUTA
Rebus entries read ACROSS one way and DOWN the other.

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Sun 3/9/2008SPLITS AND MERGERS
HIGHCBIOFORDIOCESE
ONEALASCRIBEENROLLS
INNIENOTIFICANHELPIT
TRANSLATETIATAPE
UKEIHAVESIMBASIR
TIEDMETEIMPOSITIONS
ELLERBEEAMAINTOV
BOYSSTARKNESTS
TABOOBOOGIEHOETIP
EVENTHORIZONDIASPORA
MALEAUELMOTTEGAD
PLUSSIGNDISACCHARIDE
TOGUGHBORERSFLEES
SNAREONICESPAM
IDAFEASTCARRADIO
DRYVERMOUTHLONININA
EAUSMURFJINGONET
OMNIRTEHUNGARIAN
DONTBEASTRANGERGRETA
ANALYSTINHOUSEHERON
RANLATEMANATETASTY
This is a more sophisticated version of a standard right-angle turn puzzle. Some answers split off in two directions and some answers merge with others.

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Sun 2/3/2008JUST FOLLOW DIRECTIONS
LOFTDEADONUPSIDEC
HELLOERNESTELEONORA
TOMEIERESTUHARDLOOK
TIECLIPSPOPGUNAANDE
PICKEDSMISLEDPAYEES
STEROSIERTIS
ACCSALINESTWOHEADS
LOOSSLATSWOONXMEN
LOUTSOLEOTEEFSTALE
ALREADYSUPRASCARRIE
TRIADSTEAKAILEY
SMELLYJOININGREMLIN
OASISFERNNEMOSELMA
CLANDLEIFSAGEWING
KINGLEAREASEONTSOS
AUKSPATESOHM
SPAWNSPEARLSCLEANSE
PALEOMOESHALIARLIAR
ONEFLESHHANSOMOASTS
SETTINGSARTUROAWAIT
EDASNERSTANDCDINE
In "Just Follow Directions," each theme answer takes a right angle turn, going either UP, DOWN, LEFT or RIGHT. That direction becomes part of the answer. It's easier to look at the grid than to explain, so click the thumbnail.

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Wed 10/31/2007
WASPSWKRPMSRP
AGORAOLIOOTOE
XAXESLUGSOPAL
TSOFTHETRADE
IMAMPEETRETS
QUEENEDSUED
TURNEDTISEJIF
EMOTESODAPINE
SUBSRAREVENTI
TUEHATTHOAXES
KIWITENCENT
DCIVROAMEDDY
JEANEKIRKPAT
AIRSACTENIECE
NODEOAHUDELLA
ENTYSLOPASSET
In this Halloween puzzle, six rebus squares read TRICK in one direction and TREAT in the other. Three have TRICK Across and TREAT Down; the others have the reverse.

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Thu 10/11/2007
GABORCHIPARAB
AGREEOATHMEGR
GEORGECLOOONLY
ADAASOFNESTEA
DELTAMEWSTN
GRACIELAYER
REXHARRISREHAB
AVEOSAMOATELE
YESESBENSTILLE
SAPIDSIMPER
OVAGADKITED
REGIONPISAESP
BRANFALLINGSTA
ENIDRAULINKER
DENYYAMSCUSPS
Falling stars drop off the edge of a cliff.

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Thu 7/26/2007
ONEGHOSTSNOT
RANRANTEDALSO
OUTEMCEESTEST
STORYRPMTHREE
ISLESIOR
BARSIDOSPORTS
ELEEPINROBERT
FITDSTOAFSEE
OCASEYAPESEAN
GERMANRELWEST
INCSNIPE
APPLEPEAADAMS
NOSEHENRYIBYA
OKAYENAMELITS
NETSALSASTHE
Every answer on the right-hand edge of this grid wraps around to the left to complete the phrase.

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Sat 3/31/2007
SWAPFACTOSLAS
HERSEBOOKAIRP
ORTSRENTSUNDE
RESTIMATESTEER
SIMIGLENNM
ILLERNARY
PAINSAUNAUPRI
SINGAMENDSEAS
ONERLODESERIE
FAROPREDE
STINEDNAPE
POREDINCAPACIT
ATESEVERTRUMI
NANTTAXESCRIN
KLESANTSYHENS
Rather than wrapping around to the same row, answers here do a typewriter-style carriage return and continue on the next line.

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Sun 10/22/2006LINKLETTER ART
ATALOSSCROCIOCANADA
SHRIVELALTHOLOWERED
PENNAMERESAWDALLIED
SOOTIDOLSRELAXLAPS
GUYSDYES
MARGBESSOATSSLUE
GLORIATISEUPEMISMS
MAKESTEMOSTOFNASDAQ
ARTROSSANOANT
GRATAESNARLERTOEING
TENDEREARTED
EASILYVANESSASMITES
VIPAPOGEESEAN
ROSITALARGERTANLIFE
POWDERORNAVATOATEE
THEEKARTIRESWONG
MEMOBETH
TOADEMMETATEINFOPS
INRANGENETWTLOLITAS
NUCLEARTRADELAYSOUT
ASSIGNSSONYSSHEKELS
Seven answers pass through the big H in the center of the grid, incorporating that H into the answer word.

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Sun 4/30/2006LIGHT THINKING
ARIELIOWHAMSHEDD
SULAMINXHILOSCAREO
PILLSBURYBAKEOPALACE
INTOTOEMOTESDINESIN
REREADSOKAINTRUDE
EDYPIKERDATIVERES
WHEELOORTUNECOERS
AUDISENSANTEBIC
CREPTTOBAGOFENDEDO
TAPERORAGISAACLIE
ENOUSETHEOSWITCHURI
DISSPUESHASOENDER
OCENTERTEASETSEESO
AMCBEECHNIEISTS
LARGESAWNOSHOTGUN
ECOLAREDOORLOPSWF
OCAMPUSMOMEMPOWER
ARREARSBAILEEAEROBE
RUSTLEDESSERTANDCOEE
DEAREROSETETUIHERS
OSTERSTASDADADST
The "light switch" rebus entries all need to be read OFF horizontally and ON vertically.

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Sat 4/1/2006
HOSETADIRONON
IKESORRSEEMTO
TALSSENATESEAT
OPLACETOGO
NITAAHLOGICAL
SOARANIASAMI
CELENAMORED
OUTSIDETHEBOX
ENLISTEDABA
WEAVENYCARNO
ERNESTOOILOMI
OVERFLOWET
DREAMWORKSFARS
EILEENMEAFITI
ECHOESARYSTAN
THINK outside the box to solve this April Fool's puzzle. The word THINK must be written four times outside the grid. Click the thumbnail to see how this works.

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Thu 3/9/2006
SQUARINSIDE
SUNSETCANNING
BETIDESEPISODE
UNIAXISSPURON
LCECNGADSLAW
HDLTHREEAMID
EMSALSORANS
ACEALAIQSSGT
DRYSDALEUHF
MEETEMERAREC
SPECSLOWASHI
SCARABSOREPEN
RETIRESFARMING
INCLOSEFACEIT
THEBOXUQSNO
By contrast, this puzzle requires that you think inside the box. Three theme answers are read by tracing around the perimeters of 5x5 boxes.

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Thu 6/23/2005
CHESTERJETSKIS
REDTIDEADAMANT
ORIOLESMILITIA
UNSPENTBELLA
CIOSHOYERBA
HANDLEORASIMI
LIMAPERUNOD
MANINOUTERSPACE
IREARGOSIES
SLAVYMADRAFTS
SOREREDEIRA
ELIANBELARUS
SERVANTEYELIDS
DETENTEREVENGE
SLOTTEDTRIGGER
To understand "Man in Outer Space," you must add the word MAN six times outside the grid; three times to the left and three to the right.

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Thu 12/2/2004
QUESAOMEPOKER
ALLIDTELSDNAH
NEWTSTAKEADIVE
DEESNOTILLTEA
ASSURENIMH
PEARLASIMOV
SUNALIASLOVE
THEYREALLFOLDED
AURALAURAERA
THORPEWROTH
NEUTWHOMPS
LABTRITONSEAT
EMOTIONALCIRRI
NEWSPCRADECKC
SREPATAVSRIAH
All the answers along the top and bottom of this grid are folded up. Start reading normally across and then fold down and go underneath to the left.

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Thu 4/1/2004
GNUMAMBONATAL
NAPONLOWERODE
ABSNOISSIWNOOW
WSINOXINSCENT
DODILTRS
ANEMICOIHOSSIW
HADACVAMPPSI
EBONHSIMIHURL
ROWTOOTTENET
NONIWOOZFARADS
COHNUXOR
ACHOONOMINOMI
SNOINONIXIWURN
ATONEOPENANEG
WINGSTANGYDDE
Seven answers must be spun upside down to be read correctly so, for example, M becomes W and vice versa.

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Thu 3/25/2004
PAPASHASTAIVY
OPUSTORPORFAA
WIRYAERATENCO
WESLEYRADUATE
OCEANYEPREBA
WEDDNAFIDEL
ALYSSARABBI
DIRECTEDBYLEE
SIMMSINRAGS
ARIASYAPTRE
PENNTHAASHEN
LIBYOVERNMENT
ADOIGNOREAFAR
NOVNUDISMCAME
TEESPARESKNEE
Across rebus entries must be interpreted as YANG and down ones as YIN. This may be the first NYT puzzle with this kind of double rebus trick.

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Sat 1/3/2004
WINSSIGMASPAM
ASEAPLEADMAXI
LOWTSRINGSAGED
TUTORIALARE
ROUTEDDONTTER
TARDALIBEE
POLSWANESARN
ABEJOHNDOECID
REFAMITYEKES
ESTPETESYN
RETLANEUTAHAN
TONOPERAHAT
THOUNOCTEDNOSE
AMOSONTAPCOTE
DOZEDEALSETYM
This minder bender (literally) is considered one of the toughest puzzles of the Will Shortz era. Click the thumbnail for details.

[Across Lite]

Thu 8/21/2003
CCSALASKAPOPE
ORTNORMALFLIP
TIPDATINGSCENE
TSARNITSOSAGE
ASTIRSTABS
MALTESEAMFM
STUBARNAWHILE
HIPPITYATISKET
OCTANETRISEWE
TKOSSMOOTHS
STURMYOLKS
ACHOOSNAPNANO
CHEAPSKATESZIG
RIFFREDIALECG
OTTSSTOCKYSKY
Twelve answers have to be read twice, once with an I and once with either an O or A to find the answers.

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Thu 6/19/2003
TENUREDDENG
NINETYDEGRODEO
EGGBEATERINIGO
EEREUGENES
DROPILIESHEAVY
SINSCANT
VISTAHENTAROT
IDEALALGUPEND
MIDSTPALRIVES
ILENENAE
GREATODDSONRED
LEGPULLSAY
ACREDISRAELITE
STEREVINGROOMS
SOTSBARNONE
Another turner.

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Thu 5/22/2003
DIVATATASTRIP
ARABADINPOETS
YALESANDIDEST
ONEDIMMSIONAL
NITRAY
MARINAHEELSON
ALICEAUTOLOBE
DEPARTMMTSTORES
TRONIDLEWREST
VONSTAYPADRES
GNUEIN
GLASSMMAGERIE
TROOPATANRAND
BAYOUALTOASTI
SWAMPBEESSHOE
For Down answers, this is a normal MAN rebus but when two MAN entries are side by side for Across answers, interpret that combination as MEN.

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Sun 4/1/2001TURNDOWNS
ROEGCAPNAMISSSLANG
IBARAREAMANLYRILER
NOSIRREEBITHINKILLPA
KEEPONROHEAPSOABAS
PLACEBOELSLABELS
ASWELLASLAMEBRAIN
PAHLDSEMBRYONEVER
OVERMYDEADBOYOUREDA
DORIAISSUEDOSHINF
REGGAESPRYERYELLAT
GOOSEYGAMELY
CENSORGREEDYASSIST
UTATOGSTEPININOIL
FATCHANTHATSANEGATI
FLORACASHEDONOMAV
INFESTERSLANDMINE
REPEALAERERASURE
ARIDACREWAITSENTUP
NOTONYOURLIGIVEITARE
ADOUTALEAFOVERAXIS
TENTHLEDGEREGSLIST
Eight theme answers "turn down" at the end to complete the phrases.

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Sun 5/14/2000TAKING TURNS
BUTIDLOOKFCRAGSTIR
OMANIITALOPOCOHOLE
APINGESKERAUTOERLE
SIPREDLIARSUNGPUN
TRAESOENNESPARSEST
SENDSAWAYAPSEBENDER
USINGUNSEATWOODY
BOERTONGMUUMUU
OFFONATPALSRAPTURE
NLFEVADEEMBANKSPAN
GAODINERSULSTERHIC
OTRAAGLAREAPHIDISA
SETRATEOXENETABLES
CLENCHINKYELSE
STOATTRAITSELIDE
CORNERORBSSTOVEPIPE
REVERSESETATVATMAV
ANISTASTATAENOBYE
WALLOVIDGALASUNION
LILARENOERASEROBLE
SLEDEDGERIGHTAHEAD
Another turner.

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Sun 4/11/1999SPRING DREAM
RITUALINTELETHUNCA
ONEEYEMARCOPEAGREEN
MPACESTATIONINPRISON
PUCKSASOFNOSALETSE
THEHAJECONOMICS
RATCICHLIDTOUGHS
ELFWARMTOTENTNEAT
POTCARAPACESEESTUD
OFFDROVEONSORPHANS
STARRCARTLOADSHIFT
MOOKTIEALLEYONA
FILMSSANTAANANEHRU
FALLSONLEERUSSEAOL
ELIEUNDTEPIDITYKAN
USEDVEESCHEERYERA
DESIREBALLADSLTD
NONLINEARBEHAVE
ICESTALAGIAMAERINS
NAGASAKIUPSTADOWNSTA
CLARINETMEETSTHEIRS
HIDEDRYEDENSTORTES
In this "Spring Dream" at tax time, IRS is dropped from eight answer words.

[Across Lite]

Sat 3/13/1999
CENTSTPKURDS
ALTOSHOEAMUSE
TNEDPLANEPASTE
FISSIONPIUHIT
INTSEGMENTECO
TOSCAHARMSKI
UNTAXASSIST
PROHIBITION
CHEESEONEND
OATMOHSCABLE
LIETERMITEREA
GRRITYGARCONS
ADOBEXANDERNOY
TRUEREGISEZRA
ESTESSEAWYES
In this Prohibition puzzle, various sorts of alcohol are missing from the theme answers. It's not a normal rebus because the gimmick applies in one direction only.

[Across Lite]

Sat 5/10/1997
COEDSHIPADLIB
HALEPOKETRADE
ITSAOVENVIRAL
CHERKNEECHO
YGRFITHSHOW
DIVIDEAMBIT
EMIRSTPATGAS
JPEANUTTERSWICH
ASSEMAILERMA
TSARSTABLED
BEAVISTHEAD
OLDSNOSSORS
AIDESYETIEXIT
STETSAGESMESA
TERSEWORMINKY
Similarly, this clever and elegant puzzle has no IFs, ANDs, or BUTs in the horizontal theme answers. Click the thumbnail for details.

[Across Lite]

Tue 4/1/1997
BREWMOBYJANE
OOZEOBIESILAS
UAREONEBACKTOSQ
TRANESSUINTAS
ESTEABLE
BLIMPSRAILYARD
AUDIEMERSWOO
LCIRCLECOMESFUL
EROASONLOUSE
DEMIJOHNMEWLED
CITYREVS
SEVENSTIDEEBB
PTICKETROUNDTRI
ATLASOUTSENID
SEEPMESAYAMS
One theme answer goes BACK TO SQUARE ONE, another COMES FULL CIRCLE, and the third seems to have a ROUND TRIP TICKET.

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Sun 9/4/1994PLAYING THE ANGLES
SMUDGEDUNCROSSDUCAL
TAPIOCAPOLONIAOSAGE
ELBROUNDTHEBENDGENES
ALOTSERETELEOLDEST
LEWISSOMMEACEAE
GELTSPAKNUCKLLEFT
AIRSEASOMBREROEARLE
PRETEXTBOOENTHUSES
LIATEASPOONSOVEREAT
USSRSLOEMEEKSAI
SHEETCURVERANGDELES
TUTSLOBTARSRSVP
ALSORANELABORATEHAI
PETUNIASULEBALLADE
ENACTFOOTLESSDIAPER
RIGHTSTONEBALTAKE
ALANSSEGOSSEDAN
FELONYTESHETTAERMA
AXINGCORNERTHEMARKOM
NEPALOBVIATEMOLIERE
SCONEDEEPSEASKEETER
This early right-angle puzzle used a diagonal line in some squares to indicate the turns.

[Across Lite]