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Series / The Cross Wits

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Game Show that originally ran in daily syndication from 1975-80, originally hosted by Jack Clark. Two teams, each consisting of two celebrity guests and a civilian captain, competed to solve thematic crossword puzzles. The celebrities scored points for their team captain by answering individual clues, but only the contestants were allowed to solve the master puzzle for bonus points. At the end of the game, the contestant from the winning team played the Crossfire bonus round for a trip, with help from one celebrity teammate.

A one-season revival aired for the 1986-87 season as The New CrossWits, hosted by David Sparks. This version used computer-generated boards for all the puzzles, as well as color-coding to indicate whether the subject was a person, place or thing. The winning contestant could pick any of the four celebrities for the Crossfire round, and anyone who won the grand prize was given a chance to win a car as well.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Announcer: The original series alternated between veteran announcers Jay Stewart (Let's Make a Deal, Sale of the Century) and John Harlan (Name That Tune, Catchphrase) plus then-disc jockey Jerry Bishop (later the announcer on Judge Judy). Michelle Roth was announcer on the revival.
  • Bonus Round: Crossfire, where the winning contestant and one celebrity teammate had 60 seconds to solve a themeless 10-word puzzle. Getting all 10 won a grand prize. For the revival, a team successful here won a trip, then got to play a 1-in-3-chance game for a car.
  • Bonus Space: The "Mystery Word" for the Sparks version; correctly guessing the word got the contestant a prize plus the points.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: For the Sparks version, the puzzles had different colors depending on what the solution was; red was a person, blue was a place, and gold was a thing.
  • Crossword Puzzle: The main premise.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Jerri played as a celebrity for one week, with Kitty Hilton (then-wife of game show announcer Bob Hilton) performing puzzleboard duties.
  • Game Show Host: Jack Clark, then David Sparks.
  • Jerkass: During one week of the original run, Alan Sues wanted to play the Bonus Round but wasn't picked until which point he stood silent the entire time and didn't help the contestant at all.
  • Lovely Assistant: Jerri Fiala in the original.
  • Pilot: Two were done in 1966 called Crossword, with just one celebrity per team. The host was George Fenneman, who was visibly uncomfortable and unrehearsed on Pilot A (with Michael Landon and Carolyn Jones) but more in control for Pilot B (with Tippi Hedren and Paul Lynde).
  • Rules Spiel: Handled, rather oddly, by Roth in the revival.
  • Think Music: Used during the "seven-second conference" in the main game.
  • Video Credits: Used in the Clark run; all four celebrities would have their names appear crossword-style around the box; after that, the screen would show the producer/director credits.