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General Discussion / Re: Do i need some software or something?
« Last post by mmcbs on March 22, 2017, 09:42:04 PM »
Most constructors use Crossword Compiler. It does a great job of organizing everything, creating grids, managing word lists, suggesting clues, and formatting for submission. It's a Windows application, but some Mac users use it with the Windows simulation process (don't know the actual terminology). - to properly fill grids you'll need the Professional Grid Filler add-on. I think it is essential if you plan to sell puzzles professionally.

There are other options, but I haven't tried them. See software link in the resources section of this web site.
General Discussion / Do i need some software or something?
« Last post by packs on March 22, 2017, 05:06:47 PM »
I'm a new crossword writer and I've  been creating my puzzles in MS Excel.  It works pretty well.  I can mess around with my grid, use the empty space for word lists, alternate words, and possible theme answers.  I can use different tabs for different versions of parts of the puzzle that I am trying to finish.  But when i want to create a final document, things get a little unwieldy.  Is there some CW specific software I should be using (especially if I want to start submitting) and will it allow me the control and flexibility that Excel does?

Thanks again!
General Discussion / Theme consistency with wordplay
« Last post by atco418 on March 22, 2017, 05:01:48 PM »
When using wordplay to alter familiar phrases for theme entries, is it generally better or more desirable, whatever tricks the wordplay uses, for each of the base phrases to be related in some way, particularly if the wordplay is consistent?  For example, I did a puzzle a while back where I used words with "IN" in them and moved it around the same way each time to make a new word (e.g. SINK / SKIN or CHINA / CHAIN), but my base phrases have nothing really to do with each other (SINK LIKE A STONE and GREAT WALL OF CHINA). 

Is the consistency of the wordplay enough to tie the whole thing together, or should links between the base phrases themselves be seen as equally important?  If I had titled that puzzle something like "Moving in," would it have been better if my base phrases all involved movement or relocating instead of being well-known but arbitrary?

I assume the answer is yes, but I'm interested in what people think.
Today's Puzzles / Initially, it's the March 21 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 21, 2017, 06:25:30 PM »
Today's crossword by Kevin Christian -- note his initials -- includes five two-word answers with the initials KC. I doubt that a crossword creator named Quentin Xerxes or Jeremiah Zander would be able to do something similar.

Hang out with: KEEPCOMPANY
Large venomous snake: KINGCOBRA
Martial arts move: KARATECHOP
Home of baseball's Royals: KANSASCITY

"Strikeout victim of poetry, and a phonetic hint" to those answers is CASEY. Ernest Thayer's poem was first published in the San Francisco Examiner and was often recited by vaudeville performers on stage. The full title is Casey At The Bat: A Ballad Of The Republic Sung In The Year 1888. With two outs in the final inning, two runners on base and the Mudville team down by two runs, Casey had a chance to tie the game or win the game.....but he was over-confident and struck out. Thayer said he used the name "Casey" because he had an Irish friend with that name but many historians believe the character was based on baseball player Michael "King" Kelly. Here is the poem:

And here is Disney's 1946 animated version of the tale:

The word meaning "diagonally across from each other" has several variations: kitty-korner, catty-corner, kitty-cornered and catty-cornered -- but the original word was "cater-cornered." Its first known use was in 1848 and it derived from the now-obsolete "cater", meaning "four," from the Middle French quatre and the Latin quattuor.

"Here, in Haiti" is ICI, which is not used in English. "Bogotá boy" is NINO -- but that is wrong. The word is "Niño." "Thumbs-down vote" is NAY. "Yea" is an archaic word meaning "yes." "Nay" is an archaic word meaning "no." In the United States Senate, the House of Representatives and most state and city legislatures, oral votes are taken on bills and proposals. Each member says either "Yea" or "Nay." But why, other than long-standing tradition, do our legislators continue to use those archaic words? I think they should say "Yes" or "No" like everyone else does. Yea, I really think so.
General Support / NY Times Puzzle Link
« Last post by jalperin on March 19, 2017, 12:16:29 PM »
For the last week or so, the link to the NY Times puzzle page does work.

Get:  {"status":"ERROR","errors":["Not Found"],"results":[]}

Is this temporary or no longer available through crucuverb.

General Support / Re: R.I.P., CrosSynergy
« Last post by jordanpg on March 18, 2017, 03:53:05 PM »
Also wondering what happened.  I'm in year 2 of a 5 year subscription.

On March 1, the from field changed to "CSXWord Puzzles" and the subject line changed a little bit, too.

On March 2, the subject line reverted to the old form, the from field remained changed.

Received the last puzzle on March 4.  Nothing since.

No updates on the website:
General Discussion / Re: Mentorship
« Last post by Ethanwilson on March 15, 2017, 12:46:53 AM »
required to qualify as mentor construction is:
1.the capacity to exchange abilities and survey a contractual worker's abilities
2.capability in development contract organization
3.specialized capability in at least one development disciplines.
Book Releases / New York Times crossword puzzle books
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 14, 2017, 11:01:22 PM »
Oh boy! On May 16, 2017, St. Martin's Griffin will publish seven volumes of New York Times crossword puzzles. Each volume contains puzzles from a particular day of the week. It's good that the books are spiral-bound so the pages will lie flat -- but each book includes only 50 puzzles. Why not a hundred? Anyway, I suggest getting all seven volumes from a local bookstore. These stores need our support. But if you absolutely have to get the books from Amazon, here is the link to volume one -- or would it be considered volume two? When exactly does the "puzzle week" begin?

The New York Times Best of the Week Series: Monday Crosswords: 50 Easy Puzzles
Today's Puzzles / A big hand for the March 14 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 14, 2017, 05:03:04 PM »
Crossword creators are clever when they make a puzzle with a word that can be combined with the first word of several different phrases -- but they're really clever when they make a puzzle with a word that can be combined with each word of several different phrases. Today's Los Angeles Times crossword by Roger and Kathy Weinberg falls into the latter category. I assume they are husband and wife. This seems to be their first published crossword:

Immediately: FIRSTOFF
Like most TV dramas: HOURLONG
High stadium tier: UPPERDECK
Performer's exit direction: STAGERIGHT
Sports bet based on total points scored: OVERUNDER

In advance, and where you might find both parts of those answers: BEFOREHAND

"Dangerous Amazon fish" is PIRANHA, which is a Portuguese word deriving from the Tupinambá pirá ("fish") and ánya ("tooth"). The Tupinambá were a tribe that lived along the Brazilian coast. The tribe, and their language, are now extinct.

"December song" is NOEL. We sing The First Noel and perhaps don't really know what the word means. Noël is French for "Christmas carol." The word also refers to Christmas itself. It comes from the Latin natalis, which means "birthday" and is also the source of the word "nativity."

Damon Gulczynski's New York Times crossword includes SALADDAYS ("Youthful time in one's life"). The expression was coined by William Shakespeare in Antony & Cleopatra (1606). Cleopatra, expressing her regret over her youthful dalliances with Julius Caesar, refers to "My salad days, when I was green in judgment, cold in blood." Four crossword answers are names of actors -- and salads:

Road Trip actor, 2000: TOMGREEN
12 Angry Men actor, 1957: LEEJCOBB
Anatomy Of A Murder actor, 1959: ORSONBEAN
It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World actor, 1963: SIDCAESAR

According to legend, the Cobb salad was created in 1937 by Bob Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood. Sid Grauman, owner of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, was there late one night and was hungry. Cobb started throwing things together to make a salad: lettuce, romaine, watercress, avocado, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, chicken breast, bacon, salad oil and olive oil. He chopped the ingredients into small pieces because Grauman was suffering from a toothache. Grauman liked it and started requesting a "Cobb salad" every time he ate at the Brown Derby. The salad became popular and was added to the menu. Is the legend true? Possibly -- but it is more likely that chef Paul Pesti is the one who created the salad.

One of my favorite I Love Lucy episodes is "Hollywood At Last" (1955), She is instantly starstruck upon seeing actor William Holden at the Brown Derby. She keeps staring and then.......well, I'm sure we've all seen it. Here is an excerpt:
General Discussion / Re: Bad crosswordese, and word lists
« Last post by gohuskies on March 10, 2017, 11:45:30 PM »
I'm pretty new at this too, but I don't think any constructor actually wants to use NLER, SSGT, WNW, or any other crosswordese. But if I've got themers/nice long entries, I'll pay the price of an NLER to make it work - sometimes there are alternate themers/long entries/block arrangements, but sometimes there aren't and that's the best combination of smoothness and liveliness.
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