Heads And Tails
In this crossword, the meaning of the clues is irrelevant to the answers. Instead, the solver must decide whether to take the first or last letter of each word in the clue to form the answer. For example, the clue 'Vanilla ice cream' would give a three-letter word to be made from the letters V or A, then I or E, then C or M. The answer would be VIM or AIM, depending on which option fitted with its neighbours in the grid.
It is very easy to create a puzzle of this sort with meaningless or mundane clues, but why bother? If the object of the exercise is simply to provide two letters for a particular space in the grid, then the Split Decision puzzle provides a neater way of doing it. The purpose of having clues in the puzzle is for entertainment, so good clues will be evocative or amusing. This makes Heads and Tails surprisingly time-consuming to create.
As with Split Decision, the compiler must be careful to avoid alternative answers where letters are not intersected. If faced with A_T in the grid, and 'Obama for President' as the clue, the solver has no way of deciding whether AFT or ART is the answer if the middle letter is not intersected by another answer.
This is one puzzle where you can ignore the meaning of the clues! Simply put together either the first or last letter of each word in any clue to spell out the answer. So, the S, E, W of the clue Save thE Whales would give you the answer SEW.
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