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General Discussion / Re: How do you guys come up with good crossword clues?
« Last post by 4wd on April 11, 2017, 09:44:18 AM »
I usually don't rush the clue writing process, I'd spend a week or two writing clues. A slow and steady approach works best for me, sometimes I'd get a clue idea when I wake up at night or just going about the everyday routine, so just giving yourself that time to ease into it you tend to write better clues and come up with unique ideas.

edit: added a little more detail

within the 1-2 weeks spent on clue writing, I'd spend time improving initial clues, crafting different variations or brand new clues for particular entries, having multiple cluing options comes in handy as they can be used in future puzzles.

General Discussion / How do you guys come up with good crossword clues?
« Last post by ryanspuzzles on April 10, 2017, 05:51:28 PM »
Hey everyone!

Cluing is my biggest obstacle in constructing a crossword. My main strategy is to vary the subject matter across entries so that the puzzle is at least entertaining. But more often than not, the set of clues I come up with is pretty bland. It's especially hard to come up with the harder clues that rely on wordplay and misdirection (the kind you see in Friday and Saturday NYT puzzles).

So I was wondering: What are your strategies in coming up with clues? Also, are there any good references or resources out there that you use to help brainstorm?
Today's Puzzles / The April 9 Sunday puzzle
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 09, 2017, 05:20:00 PM »
Today's Sunday puzzle -- or perhaps I should say "unday uzzle" -- is by Gail Grabowski and is titled "Spout Nonsense." That first word is to be read as "SP out." The eight theme answers are familiar phrases with the first two letters, SP, removed:

Plumber, at times? ELLCHECKER
Herb-carrying semi? RIGOFPARSLEY
Unlikely to get sick? ILLRESISTANT
Flat-bodied fish depiction? RAYPAINTING
Boxer in the wrong profession? RINGCHICKEN
News of a crude carrier sighting? OILERALERT
One with a questionable sense of fashion? IFFYDRESSER
"Jush one more, bartender," e.g.? LITDECISION

"Spiffy" dates from 1853 and comes from the 17th-century British dialect word "spiff," which meant "a dandy; a well-dressed man." The origin of "spiff" is unknown. The 18th-century British slang word "spiflicated," which means "drunk," might be related to "spiff" -- and it might not. In modern-day British slang, "spiflicate" means "to destroy or annihilate" and "spiffy" is often "spivvy."

A spring chicken is a chicken from two to ten months old which has tender meat and can be boiled or fried. (Yes, I know that sounds inhumane. If you eat chicken, try not to think about how the meat got from the farm to your plate.) The use of "spring chicken" to refer to a young person dates from 1879. The term is usually used in the negative sense, e.g., "That woman is no spring chicken."

"Many an emailer" is AOLER. Many crosswords include ALER or NLER, referring to a baseball player in the American League or National League, but this is the first time I've seen AOLER in a puzzle -- and I've never seen or heard any of those three words anywhere except in crosswords. AOL was formerly America Online. Officially, the letters AOL no longer stand for anything, just as the letters KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) officially no longer stand for anything. The word "email," which means "electronic mail," dates from 1982 and was originally spelled "e-mail" but now is more commonly spelled without the hyphen.

"Pet problem" is PEEVE. A "pet peeve" is a minor annoyance which bothers a particular person more than it bothers other people. Among my own pet peeves are people who loudly talk on a cell phone in public, people who say "for you and I" instead of the grammatically correct "for you and me," and people who insist on writing LOL after comments that are not even the slightest bit amusing. The Get Amused humor website has a seven-page list of pet peeves:

There are many nice things about having a pet peeve. You don't have to feed it or have it spayed or neutered or take it to the veterinarian or the groomer -- and you can have as many as you want. They make no noise and the neighbors will never complain.
General Support / Re: Post a Puzzle
« Last post by ahimsa on April 05, 2017, 09:25:33 AM »
I used to be able to download attached puzzles (.PUZ files) but I just tried it today and it didn't work.

I'm not sure what's going on.

Edit: I meant to add that I also tried to upload a PUZ file and that didn't work, either.
General Discussion / Re: Crossword Tracker
« Last post by Pangram~Man on April 03, 2017, 10:37:51 PM »
Thanks for the info & the links.

Great resource for constructors!

Keep up the good work, Mr. Gales!
General Discussion / Re: Crossword Tracker
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 03, 2017, 08:12:06 PM »
The Crossword Tracker website is run by a company called Crossword Tracker. Yes, really. It's a Florida limited liability company based in Seattle and registered in 2013 to Jonathan D. Gales.

General Discussion / Crossword Tracker
« Last post by Pangram~Man on April 03, 2017, 07:00:58 PM »
Does anyone know who runs Crossword Tracker?
General Discussion / Re: Themeless Submissions... ?
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 02, 2017, 03:53:25 PM »
Dave, you might try contacting Puzzlewright Press, a division of Sterling Publishing in New York City. They regularly publish books of themeless puzzles and might accept submissions.

Today's Puzzles / The profound April 2 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 02, 2017, 03:45:17 PM »
John Lampkin is a composer, musician and piano teacher living in New York. He began creating crosswords in 2008 and more than 100 of his puzzles have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other publications. Today's is titled "All In Favor" and includes eight familiar phrases altered by the addition of "pro":

Positively charged vehicle? ONEPROTONTRUCK
Competition at the geometry fair? PROTRACTORPULL
Website search response with an attitude: PAGENOTPROFOUND
"I'll give you five bucks for your Egyptian water lily"? LOTUSPROPOSITION
Quality control job at a maraschino factory? PROBINGCHERRIES
"A penny saved is hardly worth the effort"? IRREGULARPROVERB
Miscreant handling letters: MAILINREPROBATE
Feature of Charlie Brown's head? CIRCULARPROFILE

The English word "pro" comes from the Latin pro, which means "in front of'; in favor of'; on behalf of." 

During the first several years of the Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown's head was ovoid, not round. (And Snoopy walked on all fours like a normal dog.) Here is the first Peanuts comic from October 2, 1950 -- and yes, Shermy's comment was shockingly mean-spirited:

"Writes ths clue, say" is ERRS. "Err" or "errs" appear quite frequently in crosswords. Puzzle makers have a difficult time coming up with different clues for a word that is used so often but today's clue was pretty clever.....or should I say "clevr"?

"'Scuse Me While __ This Guy' & Other Misheard Lyrics: Gavin Edwards book" is IKISS. In the 1967 song Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix sings, "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky" but it does indeed sound more like "kiss this guy." In Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising, John Fogerty sings "There's a bad moon on the rise" but many people hear the line as "There's a bathroom on the right." Another misheard lyric is Queen's "Kickin' your can all over the place" from We Will Rock You. Many people swear Freddie Mercury was saying "Kickin' your cat all over the place." Ouch! More than 119,000 misheard lyrics are posted on the KissThisGuy website:

And now if you'll excuse me while I, uh, kiss the sky.

General Support / Re: Post a Puzzle
« Last post by atco418 on March 31, 2017, 02:29:35 PM »
I've run into this issue on both my computer (a really old mac, so I figured it was me) and also on brand new PCs at the library.  I can post in other places, but attachments never seem to work.
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