Constructing => General Discussion => Topic started by: irvson on September 20, 2011, 10:09:32 AM

Title: Help With the Fill
Post by: irvson on September 20, 2011, 10:09:32 AM
As this set of queries re: Fill will show, I am new to creating crosswords. The responses I've gotten here so far have been helpful, so I'm hoping that will happen again.

The attached GIFs show the NE corner of my grid. My question concerns the best way to proceded with the fill.

Step #1 shows what I started with. Using the cruciverb database, any of these searches produces more than 500 possibilities -- way too many to start with: (i??????) (n??????) (t??????). The tutorials I have read suggest filling the longest blanks first, but -- given this stack -- that will require an unreasonable amount of time. To (hopefully) speed things up a bit, I went to
Step #2.

Step #2 shows one of several possibilities, given the letters showing in Step #1. So now I have to choose where to procede: "ib," "no" or "tr." Experience might dictate which of these three rows would be the best choice, but I don't much of that -- experience, that is.

Step #3 shows the choice I made. (Actually I tried "ia?????" first, but that didn't work.) From this point, I think it's mostly trial and error. I open a few browser windows and, using the cruciverb database, list searches like (no?????) (e??) (r??) (i???a) etc. Then I look at the possibilities.

This is very time consuming. I know that creating crosswords can take time, and I'm OK with that. But if there are steps that I'm missing that might speed up the process a bit, I'm hoping someone here can point out these steps.

Title: Re: Help With the Fill
Post by: XMAAS on September 20, 2011, 06:06:22 PM
How about:


Title: Re: Help With the Fill
Post by: irvson on September 20, 2011, 06:20:28 PM
Thanks for the reply. Your fill would work, but I have already used "trainer" -- something you can't see, of course, with the GIFs I sent. But what I'm really looking for is not specific fills but suggestions about the best approach to creating fill.
Title: Re: Help With the Fill
Post by: VB on September 28, 2011, 08:52:33 PM
Okay, so I'm going to give you a fill, but what I'm really doing is giving the story of how I filled it, which I hope you will find useful.

First, nothing looks awful.  There's potential trouble with the INTH going down next to that E since there'll have to be a vowel after the N, which means that the down next to INTH would have to be ?$v$vE ($v = a vowel) if a vowel went after the T in INTH, so that needs to be a consonant. W might work (TWINKLE and HOWE, for example), but R looks a lot more promising, so I like your R there.

Now what? Well, you wrote IBERIAN, and it's a fine word, so let's go with it. I???A will be tough, especially with an A next to the I (e.g., INDIA crossing NOMINAL would leave me with AA??T, which is hideous). How about IONIA?  Perhaps a bit crosswordese, and I don't entirely like IBERIAN crossing IONIA (how much European geography are we going to talk about today?), but let's see. What can I do with the N? I searched and found NAIROBI. I find that word very appealing. It just sounds good to me. Most people know that it's a big city in Africa even if they don't know that it's the capital of Kenya. Doesn't work so well with IBERIAN, but I like NAIROBI more, so NAIROBI is in, and IBERIAN is out.

?B??T is going to be ABORT, EBERT, UBOAT, or UBOLT (don't like it but could live with it). The I in the third letter NAIROBI would be very happy to have an E after it in the down, so let's look for TRE??O? and TRE??E? words. I found TREASON and then caught IMPETUS, which, after some work, gave


I don't like TOSEA very much, and UBOLT is not as good as UBOAT, but it's okay.

I also looked at the TRE??E? words and found TREKKED and TREKKER. That double-K is nifty, and the first K looks good for ARK. How about NOKIA?  Oh, look, IMPANEL.  The best I could do with the rest was LIRAS and IRA, which is hardly wondrous, but TREKKER is fun. Of course, if you think that TREKKER is dumb, then this line is over, but if not, maybe


is better.

I also generally try for the most boring, easy fill that I can get so I have something, then I go back and get more adventurous once I know that it's a feasible fill.

That's how I would work through it. I hope that this helps.

- VB
Title: Re: Help With the Fill
Post by: SJS on September 29, 2011, 12:40:46 PM
That was cool of you to take the time to go through all that VB, nice job.  Boring, then adventurous is an interesting tip too.
Title: Re: Help With the Fill
Post by: irvson on October 03, 2011, 04:15:10 PM
Thanks, VB. I agree that it was very good of you to take the time to look at my problem. What your response teaches me is that I'm on the right track. It takes time and "research." I've read comments by at least one pro that it takes him three to four hours to complete a puzzle. At this point, I'm happy with three or four days! I've attached that corner as I finished it. Time to get back to "work. Thanks again.
Title: Re: Help With the Fill
Post by: JLU on October 04, 2011, 12:56:17 PM
I don't know how many words you are using, but I have found that filling the grid is much easier if you use 76 or 78 words.  This advise came from Nancy Salomon.
Title: Re: Help With the Fill
Post by: irvson on October 04, 2011, 03:10:43 PM
76 words for this one. Good source for advice, but I don't understand why -- I'm assuming a 15x15 grid -- 76 to 78 words would make things easier.