Out of Shape #7: Can’t See the Forest

Wood that it were so simple.

In theory, these 12-puzzle series rotate easy-medium-hard every three puzzles and then ratchet up the baseline difficulty after each rotation. In practice, the last two Out of Shape puzzles may be as hard as any puzzles we ever publish. Sorry/not sorry/except sorry/but again not. The good news is that this month definitely resets back to easy. Er, easier.

Speaking of eas(y/ier), The Rackenfracker's variety-only era came to an end last week when we published The Nerfracker, the first in our series of introductory cryptics. We trust it will remain a worthwhile diversion to seasoned solvers, but we wanted to build a path from which new solvers could step up to a puzzle like today's.

It's just 18 clues, but it's also our most cursed attempt at providing crossers since this misbegotten fella. This is a Trees logic puzzle, a format we came to love on Sporcle, the vaunted internet trivia supersite where jmsr has another fiefdom of mischief. We're adapting a puzzle from the doyenne of the form, Katie Wandering — thanks, Katie. (If you would like to solve today's puzzle as pure logic first, she's got you covered.)

Thanks to Andy and John for the test solves, and to Will Nediger for his edits. Will-watchers will want to watch the wires a week from Wednesday (a date chosen only to prolong the alliteration).

One last note: We landed on The Rackenfracker's PDF layout specifications because we needed a clean, uniform look that could accommodate puzzles of all sizes and fit them onto a single page as often as possible, while still maximizing white space for the sake of both marginalia and eye/brain strain. However, when a puzzle is small enough, we'll also make a PDF with bigger faces and roomier setting because ain't none of us getting younger.

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