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This puzzle is part of the Monthly Topic Challenge #4: Cross-*non*-words


A blank crossword grid.

Across
1 - Catan resource
4 - Cables used to restart car batteries
5 - A piece of Earth's lithosphere

Down
1 - To apply backsplash, for example
2 - Grates on the front of automobiles
3 - Technique, or a technicality

Hint:

This "crossword" certainly doesn't look like a 2x2... right?
The clue for 3 Down has also been updated.

Hint 2:

A puzzle whose answer remains to be seen,
you should take a look at the spaces between.
The bigger picture will make your lightbulb go "bing"!
Now tell me - how does one build this thing?

Hint 3:

Piece by piece, someone surely has to be putting this together...

Hint 4:

Enumerations.
1 Across - (5)
4 Across - (7)
5 Across - (5)
1 Down - (4)
2 Down - (7)
3 Down - (7)

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    $\begingroup$ Intriguing presentation $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Oct 25, 2022 at 22:46
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    $\begingroup$ One thing I've noticed: rot13(Gur svefg yrggref bs gur pyhrf pbafvfg bs gur yrggref N, P, T, naq G, gur flzobyf sbe gur sbhe QAN onfrf. Gurfr pbzr va gjb cnvef (N/G naq P/T), juvpu tbrf nybat jvgu gur vqrn bs "2k2". Ab vqrn jung gb qb jvgu guvf vasbezngvba, gubhtu. Gurer rkvfgf n pbqr juvpu pbairegf yrggref gb guerr-yrggre QAN pbqrf, ohg guvf qbrfa'g frrz gb lvryq nalguvat.) $\endgroup$
    – SeptaCube
    Oct 26, 2022 at 22:17

2 Answers 2

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I think I finally have this, and it's taken me an embarrassingly long time to realise what's going on here (given how I spent most of my childhood)... but I believe the grid above should be completed a little something like this:

The diagram built out of Lego bricks!

Because these 'crossword clues' all actually point towards...

...the official names given to particular types of Lego brick!

1A Catan resource = BRICK
4A Cables used to restart car batteries = JUMPERS
5A A piece of Earth's lithosphere = PLATE

1D To apply backsplash, for example = TILE
2D Grates on the front of automobiles = GRILLES
3D Technique, or a technicality = TECHNIC

'Bricks' are the basic building blocks of Lego, which come in a number of sizes. 'Plates' are flatter pieces, one third of the height of a brick, while 'tiles' are like plates but without any studs on top, and 'jumpers' are like plates with the studs offset by half (so-called because they allow you to 'jump' half a unit). 'Grilles' are tile-like pieces with slots cut out along their length, and 'Technic' bricks have holes passing through them.

The full assembly of the 'grid' can probably best be seen in an angled shot like this:

Shot of same grid from an angle, showing relative depth of pieces

Note that my 'brick', 'plate', 'tile' and 'technic' lines have had to be made from multiple pieces of those types, as it is not common to find 1x5 dimension pieces in these types. The 'grilles' and 'jumpers' are pluralised in the crossword clues because the most common standard size for these tiles is 1x2, hence multiple would be needed to complete their lines in the diagram.

Note that this entirely explains why the row for 4A is offset strangely. Also, the '2x2' in the title probably reflects...

...the dimensions of the stereotypical generic Lego brick:

2x2 Lego brick

The black spaces of the grid even resemble this somewhat! Altogether, this theme makes perfect sense of Hint 3: "Piece by piece, someone surely has to be putting this together..."

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  • $\begingroup$ Congratulations! I wanted to let this settle for a while, but it seems you've been piecing it together all the while! (pun intended) $\endgroup$
    – WoomyRogue
    Dec 13, 2022 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ @WoomyRogue Ha! I've been mulling it over on my 'Following' list, turning to it from time to time without being able to work out how to make those words overlap with each other... But I've been watching season 3 of this recently with my kids, and all of a sudden it just clicked with me at last. Dashed across the room to raid the toybox! Great idea for a puzzle - thanks :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 13, 2022 at 13:45
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Partial answer:

Catan resource - either BRICK or GRAIN

Cables used to restart car batteries - JUMPERS

A piece of Earth's lithosphere - CRUST or PLATE

To apply backsplash, for example - ???

Grates on the front of automobiles - GRILLS

Technique - (too many possible answers)

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    $\begingroup$ "A piece of Earth's lithosphere" could also be rot13(cyngr) $\endgroup$
    – Evargalo
    Oct 26, 2022 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Evargalo missed that. thanks :) $\endgroup$
    – julialt09
    Oct 26, 2022 at 10:09
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    $\begingroup$ "Catan resource" could also be (rot13) jurng, fgbar, or furrc. (Some of those might not be "official" names for the resources but are used in common parlance.) $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2022 at 12:00
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    $\begingroup$ Those grates rot13(ner abg terng sbe pbbxvat fnhfntrf ba. Gurl'er tevyyrf.) $\endgroup$
    – Rosie F
    Oct 28, 2022 at 14:10

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