This is partly for fun, and I hope it doesn't get closed on subjectivity grounds because although "which solution is the most elegant" is subjective, "the current solution is convoluted and ugly" is plain for all to see.
Anyway, I have a list in sheet1 like so:
*Thing* *type of thing* Apple Orange Larceny Cake Banana Murder
and in sheet 2 like this:
fruit confectionary crime Apple x Orange x Larceny x Cake x Banana x Murder x
and I want to to return col B in Sheet 1 like so
*Thing* *type of thing* Apple fruit Orange fruit Larceny crime Cake confectinary Banana fruit Murder crime
I will post my current solution as an answer. It works, I'll give it that...
How would you approach this problem?