The Joy of Puzzling: Touchword (CONTEST!)

In this two-part contest, you'll get to solve a puzzle, learn how it was made, and try your hand at making your own puzzle!

Part I. Solve a Puzzle!
In a crossword, words cross each other; in this puzzle, they merely touch. More specifically, every letter shares an edge with at least one identical letter either immediately above or immediately below. The top and bottom rows are considered adjacent. (You can think of it as a diagramless, cylindrical Share-A-Letter puzzle.)

Arrange the letters in the shaded spaces to form the final answer, an 8-letter word. After solving, go to[answer], replacing [answer] with the answer, to learn how this puzzle was constructed and get tips on constructing your own!
1 Certain / With !, animated series about patriarch Stan Smith: 2 wds.
2 Some party decorations / Like unposed photography
3 Opposite of weakness / Substitute: hyph.
4 The Rite of ____ (Stravinsky work) / θ / Supreme Norse god
5 Orange-colored peach relative / Systematized
6 "Chattahoochee" singer Jackson / Perpetrate, as a crime / Chaos
7 A type of custard / Speeds of musical works / One of 31 at Baskin-Robbins
8 ____ of foot / Trade fair / Develop
9 Puffs rival / Neither fish nor ____ / Alabama lead singer Randy
10 One thousand grams / Foam dart gun brand / Bloated
11 Baloo's occupation in TaleSpin / Large vessels like Noah's / Blob of sour cream, for example
12 Former monetary unit of Spain / ____ out a living (barely squeaked by) / Pry
13 Button next to Power on the NES / Key beliefs / 12 hours after midnight
14 Grint who played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter flicks / Novelist Shreve / The ____, the Witch and the Wardrobe
15 Title role for Christopher Reeve / Salad dressing variety with garlic and oregano

Send your answer to the above puzzle to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com before 11:59 PM Central time on May 25, 2018 to enter Part I of the contest. After the deadline, one random entrant with the correct answer will win a signed copy of the April 2018 issue of Games World of Puzzles, which includes a Touchword by me!


Part II. Make a Puzzle!
Now you get to write your own Touchword puzzle! To learn how I made the above puzzle, go to[answer], replacing "[answer]" in the URL with the puzzle's final answer in lowercase letters. It is not necessary, however, to watch this video or even solve the above puzzle to enter this part of the contest. Your puzzle must obey all of these rules:

* The puzzle must obey Touchword rules.
* The puzzle must be 15x15.
* All entries must be at least 4 letters long.
* No entry may be repeated. (Having the same 15-letter entry in all 15 rows technically satisfies the above rules, but is such a lame puzzle that I will refuse to acknowledge its existence.)
* Unlike the puzzle above, there is no need to select 8 cells to anagram to a final answer.

You are allowed to seek the assistance of one test-solver to make sure the puzzle you send me doesn't have any typos, inaccurate clues, or other bad things I won't like, and to ensure the puzzle is fun to solve. To increase my chances that I receive high-quality puzzles without typos, the test-solver is eligible for the same prize as the constructor! Teamwork makes the dream work, as they say.

Send your completed puzzle, its answer, and the e-mail address of your test-solver (if you had one) to [NOT TO ME!!!], before 11:59 PM Central time on May 25, 2018. The puzzle and its answer should be in plaintext, with the clues for each row separated by slashes or line breaks. After the deadline, /dev/joe will then send the puzzles to me in random order and with no bylines. I will judge which puzzle I like best; its constructor and its test-solver (if any) will both win signed copies of the Spring 2015 issue of Will Shortz's Wordplay and the August 2017 and April 2018 issues of Games World of Puzzles, which include puzzles by me! The winning entry (and honorable mentions, at my discretion) will also be reproduced on my blog for my readers' enjoyment. The following things are likely to win me over:

* Fresh entries.
* Interesting overlaps.
* Interesting clues.
* PG-ratedness.

The following things will not win me over:

* Too many obscurities. (Don't use the Portuguese word for "tablecloth" or the names of about half a dozen characters from manga comics that only about 100 people read. Even obscurities that I happen to know will be frowned upon if I don't expect my blog audience to know them. I believe the best puzzles give the solver a fair shot at solving the puzzle with their own wits!)
* R-rated things (I want to reproduce the winning entry on this highly PG-rated blog, so none of George Carlin's seven dirty words, for instance, should be in the clues or the answers).
* Etymological relatives, especially obvious ones like two compound words that share a root word in common, are frowned upon. (BLACKBOARD and BACKBOARD is not an interesting overlap.)
* Submitting the puzzle to me instead of to /dev/joe is an absolute no-no! No matter how good your puzzle is, if I know who wrote it, I cannot trust my judgment to be completely impartial. Seeing the entries without knowing who wrote them ensures that the prize goes to the puzzle I like the best, and not the person I like the best. So again, DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR PUZZLES TO ME!!!

You may only submit one puzzle, but you can change it at any time before the deadline. You may be the test-solver for any number of other entrants.

Good luck, and happy constructing!

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