Today's puzzle was constructed by nvp! Happy solving!
nvp says: "I couldn't make my initial mini-theme idea work, but a remnant of it remains in the middle of this puzzle. Let's just say I was immediately drawn to the shapes formed by the layout of this grid. I'm so happy to be a part of this awesome project and have enjoyed solving (or failing to solve) every puzzle in the lead up to this. Thank you to Malaika for being the first to publish an nvp puzzle and thank you to everyone who takes the time to solve it."