Wattwhip

I’d had ricochet words on my list of ideas for some time, but had never quite worked out what to do with them.  Something to do with rebounding off the sides of the grid, clearly.  But ricochet words, because of the reduplication, are quite long and rapidly become unwieldy.  And if you only use the single component, or, more precisely, a   single example of the shared element, well, it’s a bit short.

Or is it? Cue some experimentation where the first problem encountered was that the ricochet paths overlapped precisely as they came round a second time.  It was an embarrassingly long time before it occurred to me to have a non-square grid and, moreover, one where one dimension was odd and the other even.  Then the rebounds precess round the grid on each circuit. No overlapping.

The next question was which reduplicative compounds to use.  Even in the smaller grid the general (6-6) sort of length was not enough to allow each of four to rebound from a different side.  That pretty much obligated the use of HIGGLEDY-PIGGLEDY, which just pushed things on a bit.  I didn’t fancy clueing HIGGLEDY-PIGGLEDY, but the entered IGGLEDY was friendlier.  There was the question of what to do with the discarded letters – not a terribly inspiring set, so how about an obscure title?

And finally, it felt a nice touch to have solvers looking for three 12-letter answers and one 16-letter answer in a grid they’d already filled!