Solution to Fish Hybridization

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by Brian Chen

This is a puzzle about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, specifically the “capture quotes” (there isn’t an official name for them) that the player character says when they catch a fish, which are specific to the fish species. This is clued by the title and flavortext, which includes “hybridization” a.k.a. “crossing” of “fish”, which are a kind of animal, and “2020” to specify the version.

Each clue references the capture quotes of two fish, which have the same number of letters. Overlap the two fish names and take the matching letter to extract the answer, SEA BREAM, another kind of fish (albeit not one in Animal Crossing).

This fish has the highest quantity of elements like lead and mercury, which means people who catch it tend to blame somebody else. “I caught a black bass! The most metal of all fish!” BLACKBASS
“I caught an angelfish! That other fish told me to do it!” ANGELFISH
It is generally recommended that catchers wear a suitable kind of protective liquid when catching this fish, which is an ideal addition to dessert. “I caught an ocean sunfish! Good thing I'm wearing ocean sunscreen!” OCEANSUNFISH
“I caught a cherry salmon! It's the perfect topper for a marlin sundae!” CHERRYSALMON
This fish requires significant room to transport, which means people usually try to catch at least two and transport them together. “I caught a dace! Hope I have some space!” DACE
“I caught a carp! If I catch another, they can carpool!” CARP
People who catch this fish say that it symbolizes having opinions that are worthy of consideration and being pretty good at anger management. “I caught a blue marlin! Listen to this fish. it's got a point.” BLUEMARLIN
“I caught a bitterling! It's mad at me, but only a little.” BITTERLING
People are often inspired to want to catch additional fish after this one, but with the caveat that none of them should be the same species. “I caught an oarfish! I hope I catch morefish!” OARFISH
“I caught a piranha! Sure hope it was the only one!” PIRANHA
No matter which of the terrestrial, aerial, and aquatic forms of this fish you catch, you should always be wary of its mouth. “I caught a zebra turkeyfish! Land, air, water--make up your mind!” ZEBRATURKEYFISH
“I caught a great white shark! Watch out for its jaws!” GREATWHITESHARK
Reactions to catching this fish tend to emulate pirates and Barack Obama in a famous meme. “I caught a gar! Yar! It's a gar! Har har!” GAR
“I caught a dab! Not bad!” DAB
Catching this fish tends to produce emotions of strong affection, but also, it's worth repeating, selfish possessiveness. “I caught a moray eel! When you're in love, that's a moray!” MORAYEEL
“I caught a mahi-mahi! It's all mahine-mahine.” MAHIMAHI

Author’s Notes

Lots of testsolvers who hadn’t played Animal Crossing were able to realize that the puzzle was about it, but not that the puzzle was about capture quotes. It’s not that obvious that capture quotes exist from cursory internet research, but (at least in my head) it should be much more obvious to anybody who has played the game and gets repeatedly confronted with the terrible puns whenever they catch a fish. So I hope this puzzle somewhat rewarded people who had actually played Animal Crossing or who decided to watch videos to understand how catching fish worked more deeply. (And for those of you who did this puzzle without having played Animal Crossing, I hope you got a kick out of learning about these terrible puns.)