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Cactus Canyon

Cactus Ranch

by Wei-Hwa Huang, Todd Etter (original concept)

In homage to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, this puzzle is a combination of a letter fill-in with a lot of OK answers and a Corral (also sometimes called Bag or Cave) puzzle. Each feeder answer goes with one of the numbers in the grid. Each given number refers to a certain group of cells according to Corral rules. For each given number, find the feeder answer that goes with it and fill those letters into that group of cells in the standard crossword numbering order of left-to-right, top to bottom (as shown in the sample answer of AGAPAE).

The lighter-gray numbers (in Gothic A1 typeface) are correct for purposes of counting Corral cells, but are smaller than the length of their corresponding feeder answer. The amount it is smaller than is equal to the number of times the bigram "OK" appears in the feeder answer; for example, the feeder answer ALICE B TOKLAS COOKBOOK has 20 letters, goes with the number 17, and "OK" appears in it 3 times. This suggests that the correct approach is to occasionally label a cell with just "OK".

[solution grid]

Each cell that is labeled "OK" conflicts with the other feeder answer that uses that cell in the orthogonal direction; resulting in a set of X-OK cells that are "OK" in one direction and a single letter in the other direction. Read the single letters from all such cells in standard crossword numbering order to get the answer of DOCK HOLIDAY PAY (a pun on John Henry "Doc" Holliday, one of the gunmen at the gunfight).