Solution: The Maze Runner
Written by Ethan
Working through the clues, you are able to fill in some of the crossword grid normally, though some words
just don't seem to fit. However, some of the clues hint at phrases with word BLIND.
Indeed, the grid can be filled if you fit the entire word of BLIND
into a single cell (a rebus).
Now, how can you see the answer? Note that the grid has two-fold rotational symmetry. Taking the letters at the respective symmetrical cells (on the other side) of the [BLIND] cells, gives LABYRINTH.
For example, the first BLIND (from top to bottom) appears in DOUBLE[BLIND]. The cell that is in the symmetric position of this [BLIND] is [L]ASTLEG, so you extract L. Repeat for the rest of the BLINDs.
This process is also identical to rotating the grid 180deg and taking the letters previously at the BLIND cells.
This puzzle was completely redone 4 times. The first 3 times I aimed for a thematic puzzle,
which led to ambiguous and unconstrained puzzles that didn't feel very satisfying to solve.
This puzzle is an improvement, though perhaps slightly overconstrained of having to fit BLIND in so often. This meant the
grid was filled with a lot more blocks than I intended, had lots of 2 letter words,
and words that are quite uncommon/barely words. Perhaps a different word besides BLIND or a different extraction method could
have loosened constraints.
At least I could still satisfy two-fold rotational symmetry and a singly connected crossword in the end.
The original 3 puzzles I wrote all used Braille as an extraction, which led me to think of phrases with the word BLIND in it. During construction however, I realized that using Braille probably wasn't possible to use to extract, with the amount of constraints I'd built for myself. This unfortunately meant clues meaning to only reference BLIND also hinted using Braille, yet Braille was not used. Testsolves sometimes tried to look for Braille first, but after realizing there didn't seem anything nice to extract, then looked at the "symmetric" part. We believed noticing that the grid was both rotationally symmetric and an odd number in width meant that the grid could not be divided in a clear way that would simply extract Braille.