In January of 2015, xwordinfo.com posted a collection of Eugene T. Maleska's New York Times step-quote puzzles. I clicked through and was delighted. I'm not a fan of quote puzzles in general, and the structure specifically of step-quote puzzles leave them well short of modern standards for theme density. Moreover, because the quote is deliberately broken up, there's gibberish in the grid.
Despite all of that, I loved Maleska's step-quote puzzles, and decided to try to make one myself.
The grid size limits the possible lengths of quotes for any grid. Would one of my mathematically-inclined friends like to figure out the formula for a grid of X by X? Most step-quote puzzles start at 1-Across and end in the symmetrical corner, but there are exceptions, and a cheater square in the NW and SE corners is fairly common.
It looks to me that all of Maleska's puzzles imposed a limitation that none of the quote parts could be real words. I followed this rule but was frustrated that the best quote I found for a 15x puzzle was "Never let a rhinestone go unturned" (Dolly Parton). I couldn't break that up without a real word in one of the steps.
So Mae West's ÒI used to be Snow White, but I drifted" is the second-best quote: not as good, but familiar enough to make this a fairly easy puzzle.
Maleska's 100th birthday seemed like a perfect opportunity to unleash this on the Cross World. Plus, we're sure that by now you figured out that it is Maleska's mug that decorates the puzzle's main page. I hope you enjoyed it.