Re your question on the cross dissolve transition, note that when you drag a transition to the timeline it can be located to the left, center, or right of the cut. If you want to change it after placement you can either drag the transition box (the one with the swirly arrow) directly or through the transition properties:
Also take a look at Bill Hunts reply #7 in Timelapse movie in PSE10? It goes into detail about 'handles' that are also important to understanding unexpected results with transitions.
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Thanks Neale, someone else had pointed out that I needed to trim the clips in the timelien to make the transition work. Worked fine after doing that.
Great news. Handles are so often overlooked, and I seldom miss an opportunity to mention them, as they are very important. Neale feels about the same too.