By Justin Melvin, Tanya Khovanova, Wesley Graybill, and Robin Diets

This puzzle is, as the title suggests, a tribute to beloved puzzles of yesteryear. Each mini-puzzle is based on a puzzle from a different year in the range 2010-2017, inclusive, and each mini-puzzle reuses the puzzle's mechanic to produce a single letter.

The mini puzzles are presented in alphabetical order by the title of the original puzle. Rearranging them in chronological order gives the answer, `MEMORIAL`.

Solutions for each mini puzzle are as follows:

Title Year Solution Letter
Argh 2012 The mumbled quote is “A single opening transfixed the blob, forminf [sic] into a leechlike maw.”, from which you extract “maw” and take the first letter to get `M`. `M`
Be A Star 2015 CAP + RICK + CORNUS (the genus of dogwood trees) = CAPRICORNUS. Five stars means take the fifth letter to get `I`. `I`
Crimes Against Cruciverbalism 2016 Completed grid. The intersections of matching ‘crimes’ spell `ALPHA`. `A`
Great Minds Think Alike 2010 Great Minds Think Alike used references to previous puzzles as well. In this case, the reference is to Rite Awaits Myth by 2005, which was solved by 11 teams. Take the 11th letter of the title to get `M`. `M`
Heirplay 2017 The thumbs-up songs thematically clue “U Got the Look” by Prince. The thumbs-down songs clue the words `TOO`, `TOKE`, and `HUG` respectively. Removing those letters from `UGOTTHELOOK` leaves an `L`. `L`
Magic Mushrooms 2014 Solve the sudoku:
 1 2 5 7 6 3 4 9 8 8 4 7 2 5 9 3 6 1 6 3 9 4 1 8 7 2 5 5 7 6 8 4 2 1 3 9 9 1 3 6 7 5 8 4 2 2 8 4 3 9 1 6 5 7 3 5 2 1 8 6 9 7 4 4 9 1 5 3 7 2 8 6 7 6 8 9 2 4 5 1 3
If you zoom in on the mushrooms, then you see a tiny `VEGA` spelled out. This is the 5th brightest star in the night sky. Three of the mushrooms were -1 and one was +1, so 1-3 = -2, and taking the entry two after Vega in Wikipedia’s list of brightest stars gives `RIGEL`.
`R`
Plotlines 2011 The movie is Inception, and the character represented by the question mark is `EAMES` `E`
Something In Common 2013 The description is a mash-up of “Demons” from season 4 of Castle and “Demons” from season 4 of The X-Files. Take the fourth letter of `DEMONS` to get `O`. `O`

Re-ordered by year:

Title Year Letter
Great Minds Think Alike 2010 `M`
Plotlines 2011 `E`
Argh 2012 `M`
Something In Common 2013 `O`
Magic Mushrooms 2014 `R`
Be A Star 2015 `I`
Crimes Against Cruciverbalism 2016 `A`
Heirplay 2017 `L`