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General Discussion / Re: Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by Glenn9999 on May 04, 2016, 10:05:54 AM »
Check out Sage Advice on the left and the thread under Construction - Etc. called  "General rules for filling in a grid?"

Thank you for your response.  I've seen most of the "Sage Advice", but I'll take a look at the other thread.  What I saw initially seems helpful.  The only real thing I don't see a clear start on is how to do fill in order to find the most success in filling the area with at least one other word that could be interesting (besides theme entries).   

As I've been a bit slow for time and my work on trying to learn how to do certain types of grids I still can't finish, I'll probably have more questions/need of assistance when I can walk-through what I have here.
Today's Puzzles / Mental floss: The May 1 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on May 01, 2016, 05:36:37 PM »
Kathleen Fay O'Brien came up with a very clever theme for today's Los Angeles Times crossword. The title is "Floss" -- which is to be read as "F loss." Each theme answer is a familiar phrase with an F eliminated and the spelling changed:

Hooting, mostly? OWLLANGUAGE (Fowl language)
Saying 'Break a leg,' say? STAGERITE (Stage fright)
Plumbing school basic? WRENCHLESSON (French lesson)
Astronomers' monthly reading? ORBSMAGAZINE (Forbes magazine)
Supply at the thermometer factory? READYMERCURY (Freddie Mercury)
Perfect apartment deal? GOLDONLEASE (Golden Fleece)
Beet-flavored drink? ROOTCOCKTAIL (Fruit cocktail)
Traditional wisdom about hustlers? DANCELORE (Dance floor)
Song about a yellow ribbon? OAKBALLAD (Folk ballad)

Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of Queen, whose hits included Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions, Another One Bites The Dust and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Mercury, who was born Farrokh Bulsana in Zanzibar, died of AIDS in 1991.

In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of a golden-haired winged ram and is a symbol of authority and kingship. In the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, which dates from around 300 BC, the fleece is sought by Jason so he can rightfully assume the throne of Iolcus, a city in Thessaly, Greece.

The "folk ballad" is Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree, written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown. The song was based on a folk tale about a Union prisoner of war returning home from a Confederate POW camp in Georgia. In the song, a returning soldier had asked his girlfriend to tie a yellow ribbon around an oak tree in front of her house if she still wanted him. The soldier, riding in a bus, is amazed to see one hundred ribbons around the tree. In 1973, the song became a number-one pop hit for Tony Orlando & Dawn and a top-ten country hit for Johnny Carver. Levine and Brown also wrote two other big hits for Tony Orlando & Dawn, Knock Three Times and Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose.

"Ipanema greeting" is OLA, which is not used in English. "Scottish hillside" is BRAE, which is not used in English. "Every, in an Rx" is OMN, which is likely not used by anyone except for a few physicians and therefore should never ever appear in a crossword. "Omn" is half of "Omn. hor.", which is an abbreviation of the Latin omni hora, "every hour." Using six letters and two periods in place of an eight-letter term isn't really abbreviating it. (And how about using the nine-syllable "WWW" as an abbreviation for the three-syllable term "World Wide Web"?)

The clue "10001 letters" at first made no sense -- but the answer is NYNY. The clue refers to the ZIP code of a 0.62-square-mile area of southeast New York. ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) codes were introduced by the United States Postal Service in 1963. For an explanation of what all those numbers mean, go to
General Discussion / Re: Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by RichP on April 29, 2016, 10:59:22 PM »
Check out Sage Advice on the left and the thread under Construction - Etc. called  "General rules for filling in a grid?"
Software / Technical / Re: Wall Street Journal New Daily Puzzles
« Last post by Glenn9999 on April 25, 2016, 07:23:52 PM »
Do any of you know if the Wall Street Journal daily puzzles--starting today!--will be available in AcrossLite format?

They have become available, just recently (AFAIR).  Follow off the pattern of the links that AllergyDoc posted, and you'll get the dailies.  For instance, the 04/25/2016 grid is at
General Discussion / Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by Glenn9999 on April 25, 2016, 07:04:47 PM »
I am interested in getting some questions answered about how to construct a crossword grid now, after getting into solving them for a year or two now.   Presently, I have not located any references that answer my questions. 

Are there any good accessible references in mind that specifically answer laying out a grid in a good way to facilitate fill, how to determine or help whether fill is possible, or any rule of thumb on how to best create fill?  I feel I made a good first try, but ran into problems that took a whole weekend to try to work out that I couldn't do it too well trying to fit a "interesting" word or two in and ended up with several boring words in the whole grid (cue Wah Wah horn).  And if I can't find other words in the grid that I'd be excited to see...

Also, what makes a "good theme"?  I came up with a good basic one to do this learning grid off of, but hopefully for what I do, I hope to find something that's as exciting to me as some of those fill words I like to see.

But the main thing is if I'm going to do it, I need to learn how to do it correctly.  And in that sense, have at least the chance of being published.

So, any suggestions?
General Discussion / Re: Crossword Compiler 6 or lower?
« Last post by fggoldston on April 24, 2016, 12:11:10 AM »
Thank you!   I appreciate that.
Today's Puzzles / The em-inent April 22 crosswords
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 22, 2016, 05:05:38 PM »
Today's Los Angeles Times crossword by Jeffrey Wechsler includes STICKEMUP ("Robber's demand"). Four long vertical answers have the letters EM stuck to the beginnings:

Snoopy starting a trip? EMBARKINGDOG
Lining with raised decorations? EMBOSSINGAROUND
Mideast leader's personal CPA? EMIRSAUDITOR
Insurance for royalty? EMPRESSCOVERAGE

STICKEMUP made me think of Jack Benny's most famous comedy bit. Benny was quite generous and charitable in real life but on radio and television he portrayed a tightwad and miser. On a 1948 episode of his radio program, Benny is confronted by an armed robber who demands, "Your money or your life!" Benny didn't respond. The robber repeated the demand: "Look, bud, I said your money or your life!" Benny elicited a lot of laughter with his reply: "I'm thinking it over." The clip can be heard at

"____ work: menial labor" is SCUT. The term "scut work" dates from around 1950 and its origin is unknown. It may derive from "scuttle." It may derive from the Irish slang word scut, which refers to a foolish or contemptible person. It may derive from the Old English scitan, which means "excrement." It may derive rom the now-obsolete Scandinavian word scout, which meant "to treat with scorn" and came from the Old Norse skuta or skute. It may derive from a slang word used by medical personnel to refer to junior interns. To add to the confusion, James Joyce's 1939 novel Finnegans Wake includes this line: "He was immense, topping swell for he was after having a great time of it, a twentyfour hours every moment matters maltsight, in a porterhouse, scutfrank, if you want to know..."

"Hair care brand since 1930" is BRECK. Breck Shampoo was launched by John Breck in Springfield, Massachusetts. For more than 50 years, Breck's magazine ads featured pastel portraits of women who became collectively known as "Breck Girls." Among the more famous Breck Girls are Cheryl Tiegs, Farrah Fawcett, Brooke Shields, Christie Brinkley, Kim Basinger, Cybill Shepherd, Jaclyn Smith and Patti Boyd, former wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton. The Breck brand is now owned by the Dollar Tree discount store chain.

Cornell University graduate Robyn Weintraub has been creating crosswords since 2010. Her puzzles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times and she created a Cornell-themed crossword for the 40-year reunion of the class of 1971. Her New York Times crossword today has no theme but it does have some clever clues, such as "Bass parts" for FINS, "Thoughtful gift?" for ESP, "Sharp shooter?" for NAILGUN and "Fox coverage that might be controversial" for FUR.
General Discussion / Re: Crossword Compiler 6 or lower?
« Last post by stickler on April 21, 2016, 06:11:40 PM »
If you follow my instructions a file with the same filename will be produced with a different extension (CC4-5.1 uses a .CC4 extension, versions above use .CCW). However, I suggest you use File->Save As CC4-5.1 and change your filename so you don't mix them up. When you "Save As", a new file is created and the existing file is not affected.

David Stickley for free international cryptic crosswords
General Discussion / Re: Crossword Compiler 6 or lower?
« Last post by fggoldston on April 21, 2016, 01:46:03 PM »
Thanks!  :) I got an e-mail telling me that the specifications are a little out-dated on this site right now for some of the publishers.  I sent them a puzzle though a long time ago and have heard nada...  I thought maybe it might have to do with the format I used.  But now I am thinking that it might simply be that they didn't want it and it is easier to ignore the puzzle then to respond with a rejection.  But that would be rude, unless of course the idiot who sent you the puzzle didn't follow your specifications that you went to so much trouble to post!  In which case, I can just see the receiver getting the e-mail, trying to open the attachment and thinking, "Argh! Another one who can't follow easy instructions!  I will file this in the 'Constructors who don't follow my instructions' folder."  I mean I sent it early January...  I will follow your instructions but can you tell me, will this nullify the newer version of the CC I have or can I have both sitting on my desktop?
Thanks again for the response.
General Discussion / Re: Crossword Compiler 6 or lower?
« Last post by stickler on April 19, 2016, 06:17:54 PM »

When you go to Save As, the current CC format is the default shown by "save as type" under the filename entry line. Other types are available by clicking on the dropdown arrow, including XML and the one you want CC 4-5.1.

You can also save (export) in Across Lite format in CC by using the File->Export function.

David Stickley for free international cryptic crosswords
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