As indicated by the flavor, this is a puzzle about word / phrase transformations. Because 1.2 is equal to CLUES, this means that numbers correspond to indexing the given meta answer. From this, we can solve each of the crossword clues, and figure out what the corresponding transformation implies, to allow us to figure out the center word.
|Meta answer word(s)
|Move faster (as a horse's gait)
|Take the opposite word
|Anagram (or reverse)