Toward A New Understanding of The Honeypot Puzzle Fragments [Hivemind Review]

Toward A New Understanding of The Honeypot Puzzle Fragments is a print zine of 12 crossword puzzles by Parker Higgins and Ross Trudeau.

Booklet cover: A vase covered in hexagons and bees. Title reads, "Towards A New Understanding of the Honeypot Puzzle Fragments by Parker Higgins and Ross Trudeau."


Style of Play:

  • Printed puzzles

Who is it For?

  • Crossword lovers
  • Story seekers
  • Players with at least some experience

Required Equipment: Pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: No game clock. Times to solve will vary based on crossword experience. Our reviewers noted about 20 minutes per puzzle, for a total of about 4 hours.

Price: $12

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Note that when visiting the website to order the puzzles, be aware that the solutions to the puzzles are at the bottom of the main page, where a stray click might easily reveal them.


Solvers fill in a standard crossword grid using normal rules. Inside the grid there are 7 shaded squares which provide the letters needed to solve clues placed around the exterior of the grid. These answers are filled in using NYT Spelling Bee rules: letters can be doubled, not every letter needs to be used, and there is at least one clue that uses all of the letters.

Illustration of a bee against a yellow crossword puzzle background.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Toward a New Understanding of the Honeypot Puzzle Fragments is a 12-part crossword zine with a faux historic background that both delights and intrigues. The authors have made a huge advance in crossword technology by combining the standard crossword format with the mechanics made famous in the New York Times Spelling Bee. Each grid interior contains seven shaded squares that, when filled in, provide the letters necessary to fill in the exterior part of the grid using Spelling Bee rules. Each exterior puzzle contains at least one pangram, also in the spirit of Spelling Bee. The crosswords rate about a Tuesday/ Wednesday on the NYT crossword scale, though they are smaller; while the entire grid is 15×15, four rows and columns are utilized by the Spelling Bee meta puzzles. All in all, the two layers of puzzles combine well with modern and often pop-culture heavy clues to make a series of entertaining puzzles that I would recommend to any crossword enthusiast.

Denise Kuehner’s Reaction

This collection will appeal to people who like crossword puzzles and Spelling Bee, the NY Times anagramming word game. It cleverly joins these two puzzle formats together in a way that was new to me. The amount of time each puzzle took for me to solve was similar to a Thursday NYT crossword puzzle. The booklet of 12 puzzles can be ordered online, but note that they are not downloadable as pdfs or solvable online; the booklet is only available as a snail-mailed paper zine, with solutions available online. I enjoyed these puzzles and hope there will be a sequel.

To get a sense of the crossword puzzle style, you can visit Rossword Puzzles and get free standard puzzles constructed by Ross Trudeau.

Fro’s Reaction

As a former Lit major, story enthusiast, and daily crossword player, I loved that these creators not only offered a twist on the traditional crossword puzzle format, but also created a work of historical fiction to accompany the puzzles and justify their existence. The printed booklet neatly laid out the backstory upfront and provided clear instruction on how to approach the puzzles’ interior/ perimeter structure. While I really enjoyed the concept of an interior letter bank that helps the solver approach the perimeter clues, I admit the occasions where I didn’t need to use the letter bank were very satisfying. Approachable yet challenging, Toward a New Understanding of the Honeypot Puzzle Fragments offers something for both crossword aficionados and newer solvers. If these were to be made available in a digital format, I could easily see adding them to my daily crossword routine, with bonus points for ongoing additions to the mythology of the Honeypot Puzzle Fragments.

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