Constructing => General Discussion => Topic started by: Pat F on March 28, 2010, 11:33:18 PM

Title: Theme Idea
Post by: Pat F on March 28, 2010, 11:33:18 PM
I am a beginning constructor ( I haven't been able to construct a full puzzle yet) and I am playing around with a few theme ideas.  My favorite has to do with celebrities whose names fit into units of measure, the answers would be:

PAARSECS ( Jack Paar, former host of Tonight Show, plus parsecs, astronomical unit of distance)
LYTEYEAR ( MC Lyte, rap artist, plus lightyear)
KILLAHMETER ( Ghostface Killah, rap artist, plus kilometer)
KILOGRAHAM (Graham Nash, singer, plus kilogram)

Any thoughts/comments/ideas/advice regarding these clues would be infinitely helpful.  Also any advice for a beginning constructor would be great.


Title: Re: Theme Idea
Post by: Alex Maione on March 29, 2010, 12:46:59 AM
I'm sure others would be able to expound more...but I think the theme would be "compromised" in a way by KILLAHMETER. Maybe it's a matter of pronunciation and nitpicking but I'm wondering whether it'd actually be pronounced KILL-OH-METER, instead of KILL-AH-METER.

Other observations:
1. Don't know MC Lyte; which makes me believe it might be bordering the line on too esoteric. (for a crossword at least)
2. Inconsistencies in using the names with either the prefix or not. For example, you have PAARsecs, then kiloGRAHAM. That might not fly?
3. First three theme answers are distances, last one is a weight.

I'm sure Joe could expound more on all this, he gives the best advice.
Title: Re: Theme Idea
Post by: Doorbell on March 29, 2010, 01:12:26 PM
Also, the first three entries are based on last names, but the fourth uses a first name.  Inconsistencies in the theme are likely to cause rejection of a puzzle.  It would be okay if you had two last names and two first names; or (re db0255's point) two units of distance, two of weight; or all four entries using different measures.

But I think the theme is interesting, if you can find exactly the right four entries.
Title: Re: Theme Idea
Post by: Pat F on March 29, 2010, 09:46:19 PM
I thought these issues would come up.  I agree that MC Lyte is too obscure and I am going to scrap that answer, but I have though of a few replacements:

NAUTICALMILES (Nautical miles and Miles Davis)
SQUAREAKERS (Square acres and David Akers, football player)

Again, I am concerned about theme unity, as far as first name last name and distance versus wait measurements.

Title: Re: Theme Idea
Post by: Tom Baring on March 30, 2010, 07:55:13 PM
SQUAREAKERS doesn't make sense.  An acre is already a unit of area.

What if you simply used names replaced by units?  Like GRAMNASH, DAVIDACRES, etc.?  I think for consistency you'd have to skip GREGORYPECK, because peck, the unit, is spelled the same as Peck, the name.  There must be some famous Foote out there.
Title: Re: Theme Idea
Post by: Pat F on March 30, 2010, 09:44:01 PM
Yeah, I felt like SQUAREAKERS was grasping at straws, but I am just writing down any idea I get.  I like your suggestion and I also thought of SHARONSTONE,  EZRA POUND and EDWARD FURLONG, although I don't those could be included with GRAMNASH but GREGORYPECK would work there i think.

Title: Re: Theme Idea
Post by: jorkel on March 31, 2010, 12:35:54 PM
Good input from one and all so far. 

As already stated, the parallelism of the theme entries will be key.  So, you'll probably have to go with all prefixes or all units, and you'll have to be on the lookout for any odd-man-out situations:  E.g., three units that are distances and one which is weight would lack parallelism.  Note that the latter can be fixed in various ways:  You could stick with all distances; you could go with a couple of each; or you could make no two units the same.  Be careful with the intermediate case:  some editors may not like it.

You seem to be on the right track building an arsenal of possibilities.  I'd say keep building it until something gives.  There are numerous ways this theme might play out, but it will all come down to finding the particular examples that fit a pattern.  So, don't have a preconceived notion of which pattern might work out:  try many of them until you find one which yields the most content.

The other constraining aspect will be theme entry length, so you'll normally have to pair up items (lengthwise).  Be advised that if there's an odd number of theme entries, the unpaired one can be either an odd or even number of letters:  The latter situation can be handled by having a 16-column puzzle (rather than 15).  So, don't be deceived into thinking that all those even ones must be matched up.

Toward generating more content, you can approach it from two ends:  You could get a list of celebrities from, say, an almanac and pull out names that are homophones of physical units.  But you might also get a list of units and prefixes from Wikipedia so you're familiar with the full list of what's available from that end.

Finally, stick with mainstream content that multiple generations of people will find familiar.  That's liable to eliminate the two rappers.

Overall, I like the theme idea.  Good luck with it.

Joe Krozel