I brought my buddy Herb my new Crossweb puzzle to try, and he wrinkled his nose.
"No way. Far too difficult. Besides, there's only one type of Crossword puzzle I like and this is NOT it."
What is Herb's favorite type of Crossword puzzle? (2 words)

To find out, solve the Crossweb.

Crossweb rules:

  • Almost every clue is a definition-less cryptic clue (wordplay without definition). Answer lengths are given. All clues except the final answer have the same definition (guess what). Answers are generally a single word except as noted.
  • Each full straight line (beginning and ending with a circle, and possibly containing circles) in the grid represents a single answer to one of the clues. The answers do not bend or change directions (disregard minor wiggles).
  • Place a letter in each circle. Only crossed letters (letters shared by two or more answers) appear in circles. Uncrossed letters are not part of the puzzle. You may fill in uncrossed letters on the lines if it helps you keep track of things-but it is not required and ambiguities are permitted.
  • Each answer begins at a circle numbered by its length, heading off in some direction. Each number can indicate multiple answers of the same length, but each answer would head in a different direction – answers can cross but only at a single letter.
  • Each answer must start and end with a crossed letter, and run in a straight line until it reaches a circle where the overall line ends. This circle contains the final letter of the answer.

Here is an example to help understand placement: (placing 4 answers; no clues)
Sample Crossweb

This is difficult but can be filled in with logical deduction. Feel free to add in your logical reasoning as to how you filled the web.

Here is Herb's Crossweb to solve:

Regret until eternity (3)
Part of bad illness (4)
Camel lost its footing and got mixed up (4)
A corruption recedes before the first sign of evil (5)
Fawlty owner (5)
150, 0, 5, 2.718… (5)
Woman who discovered radium, I hear (5)
Broadcast time (5)
Bottomless Kazakhstani journalist briefly goes east (6)
Chinese leader heads right extremity of countries in largest continent (6)
Magnificent Seven, after fighting, can't start off photoshoot (6)
Small, cute bee homes (6)
Place kicked by a boot, I hear (6)
Feel broken up by noisy neighbors, initially (6)
Half-German following beer (6)
A source of growing in love (6)
Precious stone was put back behind squirrel bait (6)
Tale about a Venezuelan leader spilling tea (6)
Street for Oscar (6)
South or north, at the core, everyone lies, primarily (6)
Animal doctors lying around Iowa (6)
Flea confused by the sea (7, or really 3 4)
California and Nebraska take foreign currency (7)
Endless evils overwhelm Romeo after he follows tiny cult (7)
Color of corn kernel in Clue (7)
Actor-turned-president lost a veto ultimately, after beginning office (7)
Rockin' and rollin', Elvis lost energy and gained fat guts (7)
Luke, to Darth, hugging a very loud, small rancor (7)
Synonym for Herb's favorite type of crossword? (7)
All disheartened penguins retreat into frozen water (8)
Heavenly footstool of Athena (8)
Gamer bot gone haywire (8)
Short father and mother chase behind auto (8)
At first, Cynthia is late and ditches date to embrace Romeo (8)
Cinema, we hear, brings a bit of novelty (8)
My tacos, mangled, include taste of rice (8)
Knave advances first position and waves, ushering in red revolutionary (8)
Bilbo's dwarf companion (small, crafty) surrounded by wingless skin dwelling parasites (8)
Bucking-bronco-riding Simpson is boxed by a ram on each side, one facing him and one facing away (8)
Earlier today, resistance slipped into Spanish kingdom (8)
Originally, tectonic upheavals rendered America without its coasts (8)
Merry Rio dancer (9)
Place to forge pointed weapons? (9)
Even spies, followed by a foremost policeman, allow introducing a little nonsense (10)
Herb's favorite type of crossword puzzle (13 - two words)

Important reminder to get you started: Look at the '7' at the top center. An answer of length 7 must necessarily head downwards from there, as the lines leading left and right from the '7' are parallel and thus part of a single answer which must necessarily have length 6, beginning in the top right corner and ending in the top left corner. (Because of these two nodes, only '6' is labeled as a possible starting node).

Hopefully the bends are clear. The vertical line through 6,8 is bent (as it must be, per rules). The vertical line through the higher 5,8 is straight.

  • $\begingroup$ Your rules talk about words; would they be more correct if they referred instead to answers? I ask because the 13-letter final answer is described as being "two words". $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan Yes, updated! $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


Here are the clue solutions:

clue solutions

Here is the logic behind the assembly:

To start, we can use the unique enumerations - that places RUE, and also the initial letter of PEPPERMINT.
There's a "5, 7, 8, 9" circle - the 9s start with C and S, and there's no 5 starting with S.

step 1
Similarly, (4,7) must be M, so we can place MACE and MUSTARD (though the latter, not fully). Since PARSLEY doesn't end in any letter of MUSTARD, we can place PEPPERMINT as well. step 2

At this step, I wheel-of-fortuned the answer, but I will continue the placement purely logically.

The "SM" in a 6 allows us to place SESAME; the RE allows us to fill in the two Os of OREGANO.
step 3

Now, let's try to determine that remaining circle in OREGANO. It must be G/A/N, and it must both start and end a 6. The only such letter is G.
step 4
Now, the 5/6/7/8 in the top left actually has to be a B!
Also, there are two C...E entries, so we can fill those in arbitrarily.
step 5

Let's look at the middle-right section:

zoom in
The cell under the C must be either a T, L, or A - the ending letters of the 6s and 9s starting with S. It can't be L, because the entry going vertically has to be CATNIP. And it can't be T, because we don't have any more 7-letter entries with a T! So it must be A.
different zoom, with arrows marking entries

I've marked a few entries here.
Pink is PARSLEY, as previously determined.
Cyan must be C … [a/r/s/l/e], length 5 or 6. The only such entries left are CASSIA and CHIVES.
So, blue must start with one of A/S/I/H/V/E. The only 7-letter entries left that start with those letters are SAFFRON and VANILLA.
Red must be SPEARMINT. This means that blue can't be SAFFRON, because N doesn't appear early enough. This resolves that section of the web.

step 6

Moving on to the left side...

step 6 annotated
The cells I've marked yellow are the ends of the B words - they must be either L, E, F, or T.
The middle of these starts a 6-elter entry ending in L; this must be FENNEL. This means the other 6-letter entry ending at that same L must be SORREL.

step 7
So the 6-letter entry at the top must be SAVORY.

The 7-letter entry going down, intersecting BAYLEAF, must be one of our only two leftover 7s: CHERVIL and SAFFRON. None of our other B entries have a C in them, so it must be SAFFRON.
step 8

The remaining two ending cells for B entries are E and T; these are the start and end of another entry that is either length 5 or 8. THYME is the only option, which puts TURMERIC as the 8 going to the bottom.

Now things are falling into place - there's not much left.

The 6,8 near the upper left can resolve as CASSIA / CICELY / CARDAMOM.
ANISE is the only 5 remaining, so it goes down to the lower left, bringing ANGELICA with it.
step 9

LOVAGE is the only remaining 6, so it goes in the empty spot near the middle - this gives CILANTRO, then LICORICE, then CHERVIL. CORIANDER must then go down and left.

Then, the remaining cells at the bottom can be filled. step 10

Now, we have everything doable with pure logic - from the letter possibilities in the big across entry, it's clear that Herb's favorite crosswords are

filled grid

  • $\begingroup$ That was fast! Good catch on L-E, updated. And yes I made up a new clue type, I call it 'double overlapped definition'. Great explanation! $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ Also in case any one is trying to follow this, it looks like the 2 C-E lines got misannotated due to an incorrect statement, but all the circles turned out right so still correct solution: "Also, there are two C...E entries, so we can fill those in arbitrarily." (one of those is an overlap with M...E and should move to bottom of grid) $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 0:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Amoz Ahh, that makes sense - I was wondering what happened there! Will see if I can fix it without too much trouble... $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 1:05

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