Word▶️ #3: Unknown Knowns

A bursting-at-the-seams crossword that's light on the variety and heavy on the puzzle.

Word▶️ will come to you in four sets of three-puzzle bursts of increasing difficulty — and lo, here's #3 — after which we'll start again with a simpler puzzle.

That said, our sniffer may need fine-tuning. We had slotted this puzzle as our first "stumper" just because it's giant-sized, with 25% more clues (and 50% more entries) than Look Over the Manuscript. However, its variety gimmick is much gentler than that puzzle or even On First: In this one, the clues are the clues and the answers are the answers, with no adulteration other than having been written by the two of us.

We've been bruiting a ratings system — not as in ★★★★ but as in content "warnings." We don't have our arms all the way around it yet, but we'd flag this puzzle for having: 50+ clues; a couple of vocab-type words; and a cultural center of gravity that might stretch some Gen Z or non-American solvers. Of course, that's the problem of ratings systems — they sound like "here be dragons" when all we mean is "here's the relevant page from the herpetological field guide to help you enjoy your walk." We trust you'll find this puzzle pretty a-komodo-ating.

Thanks as ever to our test solvers Andy Stilp, John Sams, and joeadultman, and our editor Bill MacDonald.

In this puzzle, there are nine unclued theme entries. The completed grid reveals a path comprising 27 squares that suggests the common domain of these entries and explains why clues are not needed. Unchecked letters in the theme answers can be arranged to spell RICHLY WORN FILM.

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