Solutions for Act IV Scene 3 - Incomplete

The first step of this puzzle is obviously to fill out the cryptic crossword. The finished grid should look as follows (see the Addendum for how each word is derived):

The key step to this puzzle is noticing that every word in the grid can become a new word by adding a letter to its front or end (here any case like adding an S to the end of a word only to make it plural is not considered "changing the word" as its meaning is not significantly altered). For instance ELATED can become RELATED, or THOUGH can become THOUGHT. However in many cases the added letters and even their positions (start/end) are not unique, and there is no clear way to use these letters anyway.

Here the border supplies a hint - the smaller dots are strategically placed at the start/end of those words that touch the edge of the crossword frame, suggesting that the letters that can be appended in these positions are the important ones. The puzzle's title also confirms this - even the filled out crossword is in fact incomplete, and in order to "complete" it we must extend the grid beyond its frame as dictated by its edge words.

Still, however, some of the edge words have more than one allowable letter that may be added at the appropriate end to create a new common word. Specifically, we have:

It is clear here that each cluster of three creates a new word however, and this new restriction singles out a unique letter to be appended for each word. The resultant words, reading clockwise from the top, are AID, DAM, ARE, MID, ANT, PEE, RAG, and USE.

Considering again the border, we apparently must fill in the larger white circles in order to complete the crossword. It's likely we'll have to use the letter-appending trick again, and indeed here each large circle lies at the end/start of two of the three-letters words signified by the small circles. In fact in all but two cases, only one letter may be placed in the position of a large circle in order to make two new common words from the words adjoining it (e.g. on the left side of the grid, while USE may be followed by D/R/S and RAG may be preceded by B/C/D, only the letter D satisfies both conditions). We thus end up with:

Reading clockwise from the top-left, there is clearly only one possible word formed by the red letters (those at the large circles' positions) - REPAIRED, which describes what we've done to this previously incomplete crossword.


The crossword words are derived as follows, given in the same order as the clues:

Word Explanation
SAGE Double definition - SAGE both means "wise" and is a herb.
ERG A measurement of work found in energy.
FLORID F ("figure-head") + LORD containing ("has") I ("one") means "ornate".
ALL LLAMA - MA ("motherless") written backwards ("brought back") means "everyone".
ELF FLEA ("parasite") backwards ("turned") - A ("out a") means "little helper".
PEW PE ("sports" = physical education) + W ("work") means "bench".
TIN TRAIN ("21-across") - RA (Egyptian "sun god") means "can".
PASSE PA ("dad") + SSE (compass "points") means "old school".
EEL EVENLY without every second letter ("evens out") gives a type of fish.
ASTER STAR anagrammed ("shaped") containing ("about") E ("the end") means "star-shaped flower".
TRAIN Double definition - TRAIN means both "to drill" and is a form of transport.
GAP GP ("doctor" = general practitioner) containing ("took") A means "break".
RAY Double definition - RAY means both "beam" and is a type of stinging fish.
ELATED AT + ED ("journo" = editor) after ("following") EL ("the" in Spanish) means "cheered".
THOUGH HUG around ("hug") O ("hug", as in XOXO at the end of letters), contained in TH ("the endless embracing") means "all the same".
CAT CA ("about" = circa) + T ("time") gives CAT, and a male cat is referred to as a "Tom".
APT P ("quietly" = piano) contained in ("into") A + T ("shirt") means "fitting".
HEART HE ("guy") + ART ("painting") gives one of the playing cards' suits
BALSA A + SLAB ("thick piece") backwards ("returned") gives a type of wood.
TAR R ("right") after TA ("thanks") means "pitch".
ISLES IS LESS - S ("off-ending" = cryptic direction to remove the last letter) gives ISLES, of which Man and Wight are examples.
IMP I ("one") + MP ("representative" = member of parliament) means "troublemaker".
YET ET ("alien" = extra-terrestrial) coming after Y ("your head") can mean "still".
AWN Even letters of DARWIN means "bristle".
AIL ALI ("Muhammad") anagrammed ("sick") means "feel sick".
LISTEN L ("50" in Roman numerals) + IS ("=") + TEN ("10") means "pay attention".
GAS SAG ("sink") backwards ("back") gives a term for petrol.
AMEN A (indefinite "article") + MEN ("guys") gives "the last word" (as in prayers).
MAZE AZ ("start and finish" of alphabet) in ME (crossword "setter") means "labyrinth".
KEA KEY ("opener") replacing its last letter with A ("swaps end for a") gives a New-Zealand based bird.
WELT WET ("raining") containing ("outside") L ("left") gives a word for a mark.
OFF O ("egg", as per its shape) + FF ("fish heads") means "rotten".
MORAL M ("man" = male) + ORAL ("by word of mouth") means "honest".
AIMS AI ("top class" = A1) + MS ("ma'am" = miss) means "tries".
GENTRY GENT ("man") + RY ("extremely racy") means "upper class".
WIT W ("with") + IT ("computing" = information technology) means "repartee".
PEN Double definition - PEN means both "to fence in" and is something that writes.
EIGHT Sounds like ("noisily") ATE ("consumed"), giving the number of bits in a byte.
SLEEP PEELS ("layers") backwards ("up") means "rest".
ERAS ARE backwards ("regressing") + S ("seconds") gives a measure of "times".
TAD TOAD ("frog") - O ("loveless", where "love" means 0 in tennis scoring) gives a word meaning "a bit".
ASHES ASS ("fool") containing ("ate") HE ("the guy") means "remains".
REFER REF ("umpire" = referee) + RE ("about") backwards ("turns") means "recommend".
AURA A kind of ambience is contained in the phrase "dinosaur ages".
TAT Odd letters of TRAIT gives an abbreviated form ("simply") for the word TATTOO ("body art").
CRYING C ("last public") + RING ("phone") containing ("had") Y (algebraic "unknown") means "calling".
HAS HASH ("drugs") without its last letter ("mostly") means "contains".
LAY LA ("Hollywood" = Los Angeles) + Y ("unknown") means "reclined".
TEETH THE anagrammed ("strange") around ("orbiting") ET ("alien") gives TEETH, some of which are "canines".
SKIM SKI ("traverse snow") + M ("mountaintop") means "glide over".
PAST SPAT anagrammed ("out") means "over".
EVEN EVE ("first lady" biblically) + N ("nation leader") means "balanced".
ANT U ("you finally") removed from ("left") AUNT ("relative") means "bug".
LAW First letters ("capitals") of "like a world's" means "rule".
The answer is: repaired