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#96823 - 02/24/03 08:52 AM How on earth do they create crossword puzzles?
Alex Williams Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1814
Loc: Spam Factory
Possibly a YART, but... how on earth do they make crossword puzzles? It seems like it would be impossible without a computer program, and yet they predate the computer. Can you imagine playing Scrabble against somebody who makes crossword puzzles for a living? Gadzooks.


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#96824 - 02/24/03 11:35 AM Re: How on earth do they create crossword puzzles?
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
1. Eschew words with lots of consonants.

2. Don.';t worry about the definitions. At least not until you are finished building.

3. Have a huge vocabulary.

4. Do a LOT of crossword puzzles.

5. Be willing to starve to death because you can't make a living doing it.

I sometimes find myself completing small parts of crosswords without looking at the clues just to see if I get the same results or if i can do "better" than the builder.

Often during the week I will complete two puzzles that come in one of the two papers I take, and I have found something very interesting. It is actually a rare day when the two puzzles are completely mutually exclusive. On most days (probably approaching 95 percent,) at least one word is the same in both puzzles. This doesn't mean much, other than that there are words that tend to recur because they fit together so well with other words.

Also there are trends in words used. Even five years ago I would never run into iatric, and then it started appearing two or three times a week.



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TEd

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#96825 - 02/24/03 11:57 AM Re: How on earth do they create crossword puzzles?
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13802
imagine playing Scrabble against somebody who makes crossword puzzles for a living

Not sure about those who *build crossword puzzles, but there is widely believed to be a negative correlation between being good at crossword puzzles and being good at Scrabble®.


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#96826 - 02/24/03 12:12 PM Re: How on earth do they create crossword puzzles?
Alex Williams Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1814
Loc: Spam Factory
In reply to:

Not sure about those who *build crossword puzzles, but there is widely believed to be a negative correlation between being good at crossword puzzles and being good at Scrabble®.


Interesting. Maybe it is because of all the common nouns and other idiosyncratic words used in a crossword puzzle that are not allowed in a Scrabble game. I once listened to an interview with several championship Scrabblers on the radio. People would phone in to offer jumbled words, and these guys could unscramble these huge words in the time it takes me to clear my throat. Apparently they memorize long lists of words of various letter lengths and various combinations.


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#96827 - 02/24/03 12:29 PM Re: Scrabble vs. crosswords
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13802
They're really two quite different things despite any superficial similarities. In the one you have a very limited set of letters to choose from and can form any word you want, in the other you have all the letters of the alphabet, and then some, in infinite supply but you can only put in the ones that belong.

I am good at crossword puzzles and terrible at Scrabble, but I can often do the Jumble® as though I were reading the answers from a list. I can do ScrabbleGrams® fairly easily if they use all the letters provided but have trouble if the word they are looking for doesn't use all the offered letters.


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#96828 - 02/24/03 05:27 PM Re: Scrabble vs. crosswords
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
I do okay at Scrabble, particularly when we don't keep score--I just like to play to see if we can use all the letters. But, like you, Faldage, I am good at scrambled words; in fact, if there are two days in a row that at least one of the Jumble words doesn't leap out at me, I start to get worried.
I made a cryptic crossword one time (hi, you! ) and you're right, Alex--it's really hard.


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#96829 - 02/24/03 07:53 PM Re: Scrabble vs. crosswords
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13802
The ASp and I know a guy who makes crossword puzzles. He's sold some to the NYT. One of us will ask him how he is at Scrabble, etc.

Cryptic puzzles are certainly harder to do than the normal kind, and not just because of the clues. With half the letters not crossed you get less support for figuring out what the words are. But, by the same token, I would think they would be easier to make. So if making a cryptic was hard, Jackie, think what it is like to make a regular one. I've tried upon occasion and have failed miserably.


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#96830 - 02/24/03 08:00 PM Re: Scrabble vs. crosswords
sjm Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 742
Loc: Akina
If you're committedly and enthusiastically lazy, as I am, you can use software to make it rather easier. I have a nice free crossword maker if anyone wants it.


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#96831 - 02/25/03 05:15 AM Re: How on earth do they create crossword puzzles?
consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
I play Scrabble passibly well. I can do most crosswords passibly well. I'm pretty good at cryptograms. The NYT crossword puzzle drives me crazy. I have a friend that is good at doing crossword puzzles including the NYT but doesn't play Scrabble very well. We've been playing on a weekly basis for about nine months and she has shown improvement but still has a ways to go. As in any game, Scrabble requires strategic thinking, competetiveness, and luck. Crossword puzzles don't. I've dabbled in constructing crossword puzzles and have had no luck at it.


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#96832 - 03/02/03 11:51 AM crossword puzzles?
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
Crossword Puzzle books are great on long plane trips! "Specially the ones with all the answers in the back.
My difficulty comes from the clue mst of the time. Sometimes the clues can really be obtuse. Drives me mad when I cheat, look up the answer, and find a common word I've figured out easily many times before from less obscure clues. Grrrrr! On a visit to UK I looked at the London TIMES crossword. EGAD! In two words : UM POSSIBLE!


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