“Cross-Pollination”

by Parker Higgins & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ

Special tribute bonus puzzle inbound!

When I pitched Parker on the base idea for this crossword, our first question was, “How much overlap is there between the crossword solving community and the 26-Across solving community?” Quite a lot, we expect, though we’re eager to see how intuitively this plays for the 26-Across uninitiated.

For the hardcore fans, however, we have a special treat. Sam Ezersky, the ‘Keeper Himself, is joining us on the Cursewords Live stream this evening to live solve our little tribute grid and talk All Things Hive. Tune in at 9p Eastern tonight (Monday)! Fair warning: we treasure Sam, and any 26-Across list kvetching in the chat will be met with swift moderatorial retribution! So keep it light and airy, friends.

In any case, leave us a comment! Was this a fun little collision of word nerd worlds? Would you solve another such puzz?

Happy solving, friends!

-Ross

13 thoughts on ““Cross-Pollination”

  1. Gee. I thought *somebody* would’ve commented by now! I’ve never played 26 Across, but somehow I was able to correctly solve the interior. Also, 4 of the unchecked entries. (I used the “solution/check” feature on Across Lite to confirm this.) Still stuck on the meaning of the circled letters — they don’t seem to anagram to anything — and can’t suss out what the implied 37 Across is.

    But I will share with you the AHA moment o’ the day: I discovered that 29 Down is NOT what the “op” in “op-end” stands for!!!!! Who knew? Well, obviously you guys did and am slightly — slightly — mollified by the fact that Ross, until recently, was in the same boat I was.

    Thanks for edifying me, and for the puzzle!

    1. So glad to have company in that particular boat, Kelly. And as for the circled letters, the daily Spelling Bee offers 7 distinct letters in that honeycomb pattern, and the goal is to create as many 4+ letter words as you can using those letters; each word has to use the central letter at least once. So, there isn’t anything special about those 7 letters on a day-to-day basis.

  2. I’m more of a crossword person, though I do dabble in 26A at times. I was pleased that I was able to get all of the “outer” words without cheating, especially 44A, which is a doozy. I imagine that 44A being the only pangram out of these letters must have been the seed for this puzzle?

    1. Just so, stmv! We went back and forth on the criteria for choosing the letters; you can imagine a scenario where we choose combinations where there are, say, 4 pangrams, one of which abuts each side of the grid.

  3. I’ve never heard of the NYT puzzle you refer to, and I was completely lost on this puzzle. I had to show most of the solution, and it still makes no sense at all.

    1. Thanks for giving it a whirl, TS. The Spelling Bee arranges 6 letters in a honey comb shape around a 7th, and the object is to come up with as many 4+ letter words as you can using those letters; each word has to use the central letter at least once. In this grid, the unchecked words on the perimeter are all words that would be valid Spelling Bee entries that use the letter bank described by the circled letters.

  4. I wouldn’t say I’m a “fan” of SB, but I do play/enjoy it sometimes, but I especially enjoyed this tribute puzzle to that puzzle. I had some trouble with some of the outer words, but excellent idea and execution ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Glad to hear it, m5! We’ve been getting consistent feedback that the outer words, particularly the ones abutting the south east corner, were the crunchiest aspect of the puzzle. You’re in good company there!

  5. Good puzzle (very puzzling, in spots). I was not aware of the game whose name is at 26-Across, so, after I (somewhat surprisingly) completed the interior, I used Google to get a description of it, at which point I filled in all of the boundary words, even the long one, relatively quickly, except for … 25-Down! I eventually walked away from it for a while and, two hours later, the answer suddenly came to me. Mental block of some sort, I guess … :-).

    1. Actually, my experience solving the ‘Bee tracks with this. With no clues per se, walking away and letting the synapses go dark for a while is the best method I have for jogging loose other words..

  6. Hi Ross. A VERY challenging puzzle. I have dabbled in the 26-across in the past, but my wife has really taken to it, and I celebrate her every day whether she is a Genius or just Amazing.

    The clue for 44-across refers to โ€œ… the pangram in today’s implied 37-acrossโ€. Iโ€™m puzzled as there is no 37-across word on its own. It is in the middle of the 36-across answer. Should that read 26-across, or am I missing something?

    Keep ’em coming.

    1. Challenging indeed, Dana… degree of difficulty probably varies a lot for “experimental” grids like this. Thanks for dropping in! As for the 44-Across clue, it reads “…implied 26-Across” for me! Are you solving on the applet or the .puz?

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