Also Known As:
Honeycomb takes its name, naturally enough, from the shape of the grid, a tessellation of hexagons. The puzzle was invented by Tom Johnson and the first example appeared in the August 1974 issue of 'Puzzler'. The publisher of 'Puzzler', Alfred Guttman, awarded Tom a £5 bonus for the idea.
Each hexagon is formed of six triangular 'spaces' in which are written the answers to the corresponding crossword-style clues. In some puzzles, the answers are all entered into the spaces in a clockwise direction; in others, the direction will depend on whether the clue number is odd or even. Which of the six spaces each answer word should start in is indicated in one of a number of ways.
For the solver, Honeycomb can be easier than a standard crossword, as all the answer spaces (bar those on the outside of the Honeycomb) intersect with other answer spaces, so solving one clue may give you two letters of the answer to another clue. That the solver also knows the position of those two letters in the answer word makes it easier still.
The very same feature of the Honeycomb puzzle that aids the solver, makes life tougher for the puzzle setter. Not only must all the answers be six-letter words, but all the answers must also intersect – which seriously limits the number of available words that can fit into any particular answer space.
There is a fitword version of this puzzle, ie, without clues, but with a list of words to be fitted in the grid, called Hexagon.