Constructing => General Discussion => Topic started by: ABajcz on April 02, 2010, 11:21:55 PM

Title: Using the same word twice
Post by: ABajcz on April 02, 2010, 11:21:55 PM
Hello everyone, just joined the site!

So, my question concerns using the same word more than once in the fill. I know that, in a perfect universe, the same word shouldn't appear twice in any form in the fill, but I'd like to know what the hard and fast stipulations of this rule are. Right now, I'm constructing a puzzle that is bottle-necking around a word I'm pretty sure is going to have to contain a two-word answer with "UP." The only problem: "UP" is already in my puzzle as a part of a theme answer. The worse news? The two UPs would be pretty darn close together. Is this the sort of thing that is simply unforgivable? Or can an otherwise spotless fill salvage it?
Title: Re: Using the same word twice
Post by: jorkel on April 03, 2010, 11:08:23 PM
Most editors tolerate the type of word repetition you described in grids mainly because multiword expressions are preferred to single word entries ... and most of the former happen to involve short words like up, the, and, on, to, etc.  I like to think that any word that wouldn't be capitalized in a book title is fair game for repetition in a grid.  (But, one would not want to have a stand-alone entry like OVER in the same grid as HAND OVER).  Applying the above guidelines, one is probably OK with TURN IT UP in the same grid as BUTTER UP, but one wouldn't want to have a grid which contains both PAPER OVER and WAX PAPER.  I hope these examples help.

Keep in mind that most of the "rules" of crosswords are designed to provide a certain aesthetic ... or to weed out blatant sloppiness from constructors.  Since lively themes and lively fill are eminently important, the remaining guidelines are there to provide depth.  Sometimes guidelines are going to be violated while constructing, but if you violate too many of them their cumulative effect detracts from the overall aesthetic... and that's when you run into trouble.

-Joe Krozel
Title: Re: Using the same word twice
Post by: ABajcz on April 04, 2010, 03:33:50 PM
Thanks Joe, that's very good to hear! I can personally understand both sides to this coin, but I'm encouraged to know there's some flexibility as well. I know, as a solver myself, that two or three part answers can be very enjoyable to solve, so I've been trying to add as many of them to my crossword dictionary as possible lately.
Title: Re: Using the same word twice
Post by: JCL on April 07, 2010, 03:27:05 PM
On a similar note, thoughts on using words that have the same 3-letter combination?

For example:  rave and save, turn and burn.

Or something like "bitter END" and "bENDers"

Obviously you want to avoid this, but is it a deal breaker to an editor?
Title: Re: Using the same word twice
Post by: ABajcz on April 07, 2010, 04:28:46 PM
On that front JCL, I think I can safely say that that sort of thing is acceptable, if not sometimes unavoidable. For example, today's NYT has ELBE and ELBA in the same grid (4/7/10). I *try* to avoid having two very similarly-built words crossing each other or coming next to each other in the fill (I wouldn't have HONE and HOME going through the same O, and I wouldn't have LION on top of LOON), but, even then, sometimes you simply can't help it.

One thing I just thought of: With the examples you just presented, it might open up the opportunity to clue the two words together somehow. For example BURN AND TURN is poker-slang for flipping up a new card in Texas Hold-em. That sort of thing isn't always possible, but it would make that potentially stale fill more lively.
Title: Re: Using the same word twice
Post by: jorkel on April 09, 2010, 03:12:09 PM
It's OK to have the same 3-letter combination repeat in longer words.  It's probably even OK to have the entries PHONETAG and ONE in the same grid.