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This puzzle is part of the Puzzling Stack Exchange Advent Calendar 2022. The accepted answer to this question will be awarded a bounty worth 50 reputation.

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Solve this small crossword composed of candy canes, then figure out a thematic four-letter word hidden within the grid!

enter image description here

Across:
1 Eleanor of the Beatles’ Help! (4)
5 Sitcom which spawned the spin-off Frasier
11 Nestlé bar known for it’s bubbly texture
12 Yell from somebody running to an elevator (4, 2)
13 St Nicholas, perhaps
14 Drink
15 Essential for multiple day hikes
16 Believe unquestioningly (3, 2)
17 Rubs in
20 Center of excellence?
21 Number at the top of many clocks
22 Feature of many online profiles
25 It might result in +1 or -1
27 Richard Whiteley and Des Lynam, for Countdown
31 Old-timey chem.
32 Conceive
34 Island with a capital on the Indian Ocean
35 Person stroking domestic animals
36 Arabic pontificate
37 Sixth planet from the sun
38 Earliest epoch of the Jurassic period

Down:
1 Fight against
2 Close again
3 Praying statues, in Ancient Greece
4 Letter between E and W
5 X, perhaps
6 Heads straight to location (5, 2)
7 Napoleon was exiled there
8 This clue kneads one
9 Tall Indonesian mountain
10 Ladders have many of them
18 One who lives and breathes
19 2016 Olympics locale
22 2012 Robert Pattinson film (3, 3)
23 Popular island about 30km from Naples
24 Not me or you
26 Traditional Spanish dish made from masa
27 They don’t lie, per Shakira
28 Ancient theatres
29 Badger’s burrow
30 Nickname of footballer Antonio Pecorari
33 Enid Blyton character first introduced in The Mystery of the Hidden House

Happy holidays and enjoy the puzzle!

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice puzzle, certainly one that was in the solving process. Damn the slowness from me. $\endgroup$
    – Stevo
    Dec 15, 2022 at 6:16

1 Answer 1

11
+50
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The finished grid:

Grid

Notice:

On each of the four sides, the two answers can be joined into a single word or phrase by adding a letter:
BRON + CHEERS -> BRONX CHEERS
STEP + OTHERS -> STEPMOTHERS
SATURN + LIAS -> SATURNALIAS
BATTLE + HIPS -> BATTLESHIPS

So the added letters spell out XMAS!

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  • $\begingroup$ Whew, that was speedy! 100% correct, good job! $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2022 at 4:34

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