Solution to Tic Tac Toe

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Answer: DEFY

by Ben Yang

The hidden constraint on the answers to the given clues is that they need to contain three consecutive alphabetical letters. This is hinted at by the title, which is meant to suggest the phrase "three in a row". We may also notice the suspicious trigrams in some of the more constrained answers.

The answers to the clues are:

Trickster vulnerable to their own name backwardsmXYZptlk
A fear of aliensxeNOPhobia
Killing trees to clear landDEForestation
Epic Greek kingagameMNOn
Levelheaded statecaLMNess
Expertise at assessing people or situationsaSTUteness
Term used to describe the original source's accountfiRSThand
The MIT court commonly known as "The Dot"mCDErmott
Explorer of hell in arguably the most famous self-insert fanfictionaliGHIeri
Rowboats, or other similarly sized vesselsdinGHIes
A condition of reduced sensibility or thinkingSTUpor
Former name of a populous Eurasian cityconstantiNOPle
Test given without warningpOPQuiz
Edsger of an eponymous algorithmdIJKstra
Rattail or pixie, e.g.haiRSTyle

Next, we notice that the first letters of the clues give the instruction TAKE LETTER AFTER. Extracting the letter after each consecutive triple gives the cluephrase PHONE THREE PLUS Y. The three consecutive letters on the 3 key of a phone are DEF, which combined with Y gives us the final answer of DEFY.