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After solving some clues, you'll want to connect the words somehow. Horizontal connections work differently from vertical connections.

start, connecting

If two words are connected horizontally, they should form a common two-word phrase or compound noun. If two words are connected vertically, they differ by exactly one letter (as in a word ladder).


When you successfully put together the pieces in each section, you'll get the shape of a letter but with one piece missing (the connections between pieces are sometimes needed to disambiguate the letter, e.g. A vs R). You can always deduce the missing word from the two adjacent words and connections.

extraction, missing

Arrange the 20 missing pieces into a big loop, where horizontal and vertical connections should work the same way as the rest of the puzzle.

extraction, final

If you read the letter shapes in order of the loop, you will get four 4-letter words separated by Xs. The answer is the word that can go in the middle (i.e. it makes two-word phrases with the words to the left and right, and is one letter off from the words to the top and bottom).

1040, e.g.
Certain precipitation
Certain precipitation
Certain Starbucks size
Common wetland bird
___ effect (physical phenomenon involving magnetism)
Friend in Australia
Piece of DNA?
Something often not included
Status or reputation
1849 or 1936
Black ball
Completely exhausted
Exciting soccer event
Food often responsible for gas
Knight's aide
Out of charge
Purse or satchel
Stadium movement
Status of some e-mails
Tourist attraction
Word before and after "or no"
2009 animated film with talking dogs
By far the best in a category, briefly
Layer of paint
Lifting equipment
Musical riff
One can be warm or cold
Quantity measured in BPM
Relative of a stoat
"Say ____!"
Winter morning sight
21 proof?
Amorous start?
Applejack, e.g.
D&D class
It's rude to flip it
Like the air on Mount Everest
Mary-Kate, for one
Most of the human body, it's said
Piece of a Kit Kat
What it's like outside, per a popular song
A knight might try to accomplish one, in a puzzle
Drop behind?
Something very relatable, in modern slang
Spooky sound
Start to morning or night
Word often abbreviated as its sole silent letter
Word on some traffic signs
Zerg activity
Absolutely nail, in slang
Annual season
Become an expert in
Family group
Hormone producer
It's fired by some artists
Make less healthy, in a way
Tear up
Ten Benjamins
Wing it?
Action on Facebook or Discord
Asteroid composition
Core essence
Eden, e.g.
Half a ___ is better than none
It might be shaken off
Stood up
Take the L
Zero, in some games
Aid in some prayer
It often leaves a bitter taste
Mama or Papa, in a fairytale
Object whose color was much debated in 2015
Polo, e.g.
Sam's home, in fiction
Source of some pressure
Stock unit
All alternative
Cap's counterpart
Frugal person, often
Hired mercenary
It might be curried
It's kept by a conductor
Occasion to rise to?
Outdoor bowling locale
Surveying instrument?
Truly enjoy
Willing, colloquially
Counterpart of complete, in logic
Court action
Either of two humors
Half of the Dynamic Duo
Like many prize money amounts
Material applied to bows
Something you might want to buy, but not get
Sporting object shaped like the Monster logo
Tiny pencil
With "up", like a speaking doll
Bet against, in a sense
Crossword contents, colloquially
Make multiple small incisions
One might be "of the arts"
Squirrel away
Subject of cinema
Typical hangout for teenagers
When you might say, "Winter is coming"
Where many castles are built
Break into pieces
Cut corners
Denzel Curry, for Billie Eilish's 2019 tour
It might be jacked
Like many things on Black Friday
Melodramatic show
One expressing thoughts
Place for a quarter
Separate, like a group of rats
Spam container
Spreadsheet feature
Where definitely not to go when social distancing
Building material in a fairytale
Eighth Amendment concern
Pants suspender?
Purse part
Red or white, perhaps
Slowly decline
Symbol for conjugate transpose in quantum mechanics
What a sign in front of deep water might say
What's at the end of the line?
Certain lagomorph
Common fairytale villain
"Eat, ____, Love"
Event with objection-able language?
Hands on a wrist?
Kind of criminal group
Reed's place
Tinder success
Use one finger, perhaps
What a person awoken from a coma may ask for
What some bands do
You might do this to "Hello, World!"
Express anger, perhaps
It might "save" you
Make money
Object that can be seen from outer space, supposedly
Period that always begins on a Wednesday
Put in a .zip file
Setting of Flatland
Short melody
Spice that comes from a berry
Subject of estate planning
Typical homework assignment
Clog, e.g.
It might be put away
It's aired
Meeting leader, often
One's usually 2 or 3 syllables in length
Part of a bicycle
Quarter of a walk
UI consideration
What has the goods?
Common data type in programming
Fabric produced by some insects
Having low pH, as a food
High in alcohol
Leaving time?
Polynesian garment
Serve tea, e.g.
Some think life originated from a type of one
Time for one to shine
Where things might get heated
Feature of some cafés in Japan
Herbie the Love Bug's model
It's often stubbed
It's sometimes represented by the peach emoji
Low poker holding
Small amount
Something broken between competitors
Song that spawned the mondegreen, "I won't chew the steak"
Word on some receipts
End counterpart, on a keyboard
Golf action
High in minerals, as water
It's unlikely to freeze over
Like Plan 9 from Outer Space
Part of a spreadsheet
Pokémon type super-effective against fire and ice
Sight in some R-rated films
Song in a musical
Sound unit in linguistics
What some dogs do
Word at the end of many fortune cookie misreadings
Messy eater, e.g.
Opposite of signal
Part of an egg
Runny liquid, at times
Set afire
Shallot or onion
What some angels are made of
Yellow action