Solution to Plus or Minus

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Answer: CALANTHE

by Alan Huang and Jakob Weisblat

This is a crossword puzzle in which some letters, instead of being added to the word so far like normal, are subtracted in one direction. For example, AILS is spelled C A (-C) I L S.

AcrossAnswerDownAnswer
1. Suffers from illness (4)AILS1. Word with special or display (4)CASE
7. Pope John Paul II or Marie Curie, e.g. (4)POLE2. Advanced H.S. lab class (2 4)APCHEM
8. Download without permission, in a way (6)SCRAPE3. It was first transplanted in 1905 (6)CORNEA
9. Alternative to the other thing? (4)THAT4. Like 1080p video (2 2)IN HD
10. High schooler or eighth grader, perhaps, but usually not a sixth grader (4)TEEN5. It’s part of a building in English but it’s part of a sandwich in Italian (4)PANE
11. Like a mafia man (4)MADE6. Bristle (6)SEETHE

Filling in the grid, we get:

Taking the letters that are minus in one direction, and reading in row-major order, we get CALANTHE.

Authors’ Notes

This puzzle went through many, many iterations before we settled on this version. The initial idea was a puzzle all of whose squares were either "minus" (in both directions) or "plus" (i.e. 2-letter rebuses). However, we ended up cutting it down to this when that was too hard to construct.