Thanks to all of you who solved our last contest crossword, whether or not you figured out the meta and submitted an answer. Writeup, solution, and winner below the spoiler space, which will consist of adorable kittens.
Looking at the theme entries, we can see that all of them can be preceded by the word TEA to form phrases or compound words. In fact, the title has the same property: both ROOM and SERVICE can be preceded by TEA to make a new phrase. Solver Tamara sent us a beautiful image demonstrating this:
Our randomly selected winner is Ben Zimmer! Ben has elected to receive Puzzles for Democracy.
I enjoyed doing this! Hopefully we get to do it again soon.