Guest Puzzle by Grant Fikes
You may recall a couple weeks ago that because of depression surrounding this recent election season, I didn't have a puzzle that week. Two of my regular solvers, Grant Fikes and Chris Hendricks, both suggested that I post a Guest Puzzle in case I have another week with no puzzle scheduled. Grant even sent me a Sudokurossword for me to use! I had already made a "4X Game" puzzle when he originally sent me this (and I also have a different one for next week as well), but I didn't want his effort to go to waste, so I accepted his offering, and now I'm posting it here for you guys to solve (though I ultimately changed three of his clues beforehand. I hope he doesn't mind)!
This puzzle comes in two parts. The first part is a sudoku, which you solve normally (the numbers 1-9 appear once in each row, column, and 3x3 box). Each row has a crossword clue next to it; the shaded cell corresponds to the crossword entry in which that answer belongs. (For example, a 5 means that the answer to that clue belongs in 5-Down in the crossword grid.) If you want to really challenge yourself, you can skip the sudoku entirely and try to fit in the crossword answers without knowing where they're supposed to go, but I wouldn't recommend that.
Once you're done, unscramble the shaded squares in the crossword to form the FINAL ANSWER: A nine-letter word
Once you believe you've figured out the FINAL ANSWER, send it to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (though I'm more likely to check the second one) and I'll put your name on a solvers list once I post the answers in about two weeks. You can also use those email addresses to give me some comments and feedback (or get a hint from me in exchange for a "hint star", more details for that are on the sidebar to the right) or send me the answer to last week's puzzle, if you haven't already figured it out. If you have a printer and want to solve this puzzle on paper, just head below the break for a version you can print out!