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Today's Puzzles / The handy January 25 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on January 25, 2017, 04:20:18 PM »
Bruce Haight began constructing crossword puzzles five years ago. Many of them involved what he calls "stunts." One puzzle had no E's, one had no three- or four-letter words, one used only nine different letters, one used each letter of the alphabet at least four times.....but, unfortunately, the "stunts" required the use of a lot of questionable entries. Haight submitted 38 crosswords to the New York Times before puzzle editor Will Shortz finally accepted one in 2015. Haight's puzzle today is titled "Hand Jive."

"Pay attention, man!" is DIGIT. In today's crossword, "Dig it" is to be read as "digit." The word comes from the Latin digitus ("finger; toe") which derives from the Greek deiknynai ("to show"). A digit is a finger, a toe, or one of the numbers 1 through 9. A zero is usually considered to be a digit as well. Each theme answer ends with a type of finger:

"C'mon, loosen up!" LIVEALITTLE
Place for lefts and rights: BOXINGRING
Market measure: STOCKINDEX
General principle: RULEOFTHUMB

"Thumb" comes from the Latin tumÄ“re ("to swell"). The origin of the phrase "rule of thumb" is unknown. It refers to an oft-used, albeit inaccurate, method of measuring distance or alignment and  involves extending an arm and holding the thumb in one's line of vision. The first known appearance of "rule of thumb" in print is a 1685 book titled Heaven On Earth, which quotes a sermon given by James Durham: "Many professed Christians are like foolish builders, who build by guess and by rule of thumb and not by Square and Rule." Obviously, using one's thumb and guessing at a measurement is not any kind of a "rule." It's the opposite of a rule -- but the phrase somehow entered our vocabulary.

The little finger is often called a pinky or pinkie. The word comes from the 19th-century Dutch pinkje, which means "little finger" and is the diminutive form of pinke ("pink"). In the United States, a wedding ring is traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. The custom derives from an ancient (and mistaken) belief that a long vein connected that finger to the heart. The vein was called, in Latin, vena amoris ("vein of love"). A Wikipedia page explains the wedding-ring customs in various countries:

"Far out!" is NEAT. So today's crossword includes "Neat" and "Far out" and "Dig it." I know this is 2017 but those three phrases are more befitting 1967. I suppose, then, we could say the puzzle itself is boss, fab, gear and groovy. Right on!

General Discussion / Re: Word counts / limits
« Last post by mmcbs on January 20, 2017, 04:44:11 PM »
There's one editor (John Samson who edits the Simon & Schuster MEGA Crossword Puzzle books) that has a strict limit of 12 3-letter words in a 15x15 grid. That works out to about 15% if you have 78 words. This constrains the theme entry lengths somewhat, but as pointed out earlier, the 3-letter words are limited, so that's the reason for it. For most markets I think the quality and variety of the incidental fill overall is more important than the 3-letter word count. But clearly, when choosing a grid to fit your theme entries, selecting one with fewer 3's would be advisable.
General Discussion / Re: Word counts / limits
« Last post by 4wd on January 20, 2017, 01:18:01 PM »
no problem :)
General Discussion / Re: Word counts / limits
« Last post by Wallokes on January 20, 2017, 01:07:18 PM »
Thanks, that's helpful!
General Discussion / Re: Word counts / limits
« Last post by 4wd on January 20, 2017, 12:42:00 PM »
Try to keep your 3 letter entries down to about 20-25% of your grid, though if you go a little over that
its fine. I find some grid designs wont work unless you go a little over. Reason being there aren't much
cluing options for threes, longer entries have more possibilities.

General Discussion / Word counts / limits
« Last post by Wallokes on January 20, 2017, 11:05:16 AM »
Are there any rules of thumb on the number of 3 letter words that a puzzle should have?  For example, if I have a 76 word puzzle should I try to limit it to no more than 20 or 24 3-letter words?
General Discussion / Anyone willing to field some theme questions?
« Last post by Wallokes on January 19, 2017, 10:38:24 PM »
Hi all,

I'm starting to dip my toe into the constructing waters, and had some questions about (specific) theme ideas and their plausibility/difficulties I might anticipate with them. If anyone is willing to let me shoot them the occasional email with a question or idea, I'd appreciate it enormously--if you reach me via personal message I'll switch over to email if you prefer.  Thanks!

General Discussion / theme queries
« Last post by DKROPP on January 18, 2017, 11:50:58 AM »
Is there any concern about confidentiality when discussing theme ideas with a mentor or editor?  I have an idea for what I think would be an excellent theme, but I'd hate to lose it.  I really don't mean to offend or cast aspersions, but I'm just very new at this and want to protect my brainstorm(s).  Thanks for your help and understanding.
Etc. / Re: multiple submissions
« Last post by 4wd on January 17, 2017, 12:05:01 PM »
You should wait a bit, replies are sent via contact method attached to your submission.

Check out the publisher chart page it'll give you an idea as to response time for the
various outlets. If you've waited way longer than the regular response time feel free
to contact the publisher.
Etc. / multiple submissions
« Last post by DKROPP on January 17, 2017, 10:29:03 AM »
After having submitted a puzzle to a publisher for consideration, do I have to wait to get a denial of interest before submitting to another publisher, since most or all publishers insist on exclusive copyright (are denials sent, or does the author just never hear anything?)  Thanks from a hopeful newbie :)
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