n.b. Today’s puzzle is 21×21, so the clues may present above/below the grid rather than to the right.
First and foremost, I’d like to say a big ol’ honkin’ thank you to everyone who donated this week. I appreciate you! I’m going to leave the button here for one more week, and then you won’t see me passing the hat again until next January.
So, we iterated pretty hard on this one. We settled on the mechanic of moving an A-P-P string immediate down or up a row (to be either deleted or added to/from a base phrase) because the constraints of *only* “downloading” the string made things a bit too wonky. Reference the V1 iteration below, as well as the 16×16 version with abbreviated revealer. In both cases, the APP makes perfect sense vis-a-vis the placement of the answer it “joins,” but the answer it gets removed from subsequently gets, like, justified left or right to account for the “missing” letters.
As such, we decided to move the APPs both down and up (which seemed fair, given the MOBILE APP revealer), and *always* to/from the very beginning of the four pairs of stacked theme answers. The result is that the space “vacated” by the APPs are more visually logically black squares.
Getting clean fill with four pairs of long stacked themers (while leaving space for the vertical revealer) isn’t super easy, but we think this one came out pretty well in the end.
Happy solving, friends!