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91
General Discussion / Re: New constructor's question
« Last post by Glenn9999 on March 15, 2018, 10:17:47 PM »
This is surely sound advice, but I'm having a difficult time picturing what this means in a practical sense. How do I identify constrained sectors in order to start there? Are there clues that you look for in the grid design or is it letter combinations that might originate from some of the longer or themed entries?

Once you get your theme entries laid out in your grid, you want to look for parts of the grid where there's odd combinations of letters that might be difficult to find words to match with.  For example, in my (only) grid attempt (so far), I had ??W??F as a possible word with the W and F being parts of my theme entries.  When you do it, you should have some idea from solving puzzles as to how words are constructed and what letters naturally fit together.

More or less, you want to identify something suitable for those areas first and then work the rest of the grid fill from there. 
92
General Discussion / Re: USA today crossword submission
« Last post by Glenn9999 on March 15, 2018, 10:10:49 PM »
As I understand it, open submissions don't happen with USA Today.  It's just the arrangement that's there.
93
General Discussion / USA today crossword submission
« Last post by brasarehot on March 15, 2018, 03:09:11 PM »
How come you can't submit puzzles to the USA today? Or can you?

Thanks!
94
General Discussion / Re: New constructor's question
« Last post by kwanjul on March 14, 2018, 04:33:05 PM »
Before you finalize your grid, you need to make sure that every down entry (assuming your themers are all across) has multiple decent options. A constrained sector would be an entry that has very few options for fill, such as E??H or A?F?E. When I'm doing my fill, I like to start with the long non theme entries, while also keeping an eye on the shorter fill that may be tough because I already have 2-3 letters committed to a 4-6 letter entry. For the 3, 4, and 5 letter entries, I take what I can get while minimizing obscurity and crosswordese.
95
Etc. / Re: WSJ 2017 Puzzle Statistics
« Last post by mmcbs on March 10, 2018, 03:20:00 PM »
Interesting stuff. No real reason to repeat the same clue/word combination, but no big deal if you do. In my books I avoided that and was able to adhere to it just about 100% of the time (especially within the same volume). But clearly some editors have "pet" clues for certain answers.

Just looking at the data available on this web site, NYT used ERA 23 times last year (that's pretty low for such a handy and legit word), with 20 different clues. Coincidentally, I used ERA 23 times in the books (450 puzzles) with about 20 different clues.
96
Etc. / WSJ 2017 Puzzle Statistics
« Last post by Glenn9999 on March 10, 2018, 12:17:02 PM »
For those that are interested, I analyzed all the 2017 Wall Street Journal crosswords and came up with some data regarding words/answers and clues.

https://glenncrossblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/wall-street-journal-crossword-most-used-words-for-2017/

This one has some information about the most used words/answers.  For instance, ERA and ORE both occurred 34 times.

https://glenncrossblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/wall-street-journal-crossword-clue-stats-for-2017/

This one has some stats regarding clues.  The first list is repetition in clues (i.e. same clue, same answer).  For instance, ALOT appeared with the clue [Heaps] 7 times.  The second list involves diversity of cluing (i.e. words that appeared with the most number of different clues).  For instance, the word ORE was clued 30 different ways in 2017.

I would have loved to look at some other sources, but I didn't have PUZ files available for that entire year.  Those were all the questions I had, if anyone has something different, they're always free to suggest. 
97
General Discussion / Re: $500 Crossword Prize
« Last post by uneequeone on February 22, 2018, 07:05:09 PM »
You need to carefully read the post...eventually once a month?  If you are not getting accepted now Good luck getting accepted with only twelve puzzles a year.

Don't get so excited.

98
Etc. / Re: Looking for a man named Bill B.......?
« Last post by XWordHobbyist on February 15, 2018, 12:43:05 PM »
You're looking for Bill Butler at LAXCrossword.com!

https://www.laxcrossword.com
99
Today's Puzzles / Honest, it's the February 12 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on February 12, 2018, 05:47:36 PM »
Jerry Edelstein has created many clever crosswords. A puzzle titled "Half moon" included phrases which began with MO and ended with ON. The grid of a puzzle titled "Square roots" included several areas where a square of four spaces contained the letters R, O, O and T. Today's crossword isn't clever -- but that's okay. Instead, it's historical. Here are the theme answers:

Trifling matters: PENNYANTESTUFF
Focal point in a theater: CENTERSTAGE
John Paul Jones was a commander in it: CONTINENTALNAVY
May observance for those who died in military service: MEMORIALDAY

"Statesman born 2/12/1809 whose surname can precede the starts" of those answers is ABRAHAMLINCOLN. The nickname of our 16th President was "Honest Abe." In Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and New York, Lincoln's birthday is a state holiday. It has never been a federal holiday, however. The birthday of our first President, George Washington (February 22, 1732) is a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. Most states now call that Monday "Presidents Day" to honor both Lincoln and Washington but the federal government continues to observe the day as "George Washington's Birthday." Here are 11 humorous quotes attributed to Abraham Lincoln:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/57794/11-abe-lincolns-favorite-stories

"Trite" is OVERUSED -- and the puzzle includes several words which are overused. But then, every crossword includes several overused words. Today's includes NEE ("Originally named"),LON ("Chaney of horror"), ELF ("North Pole worker"). CSI ("TV forensic series"), MCI ("1101, to Romans"), EATS ("Has a midnight snack, say"), ERNES ("Diving seabirds"), AREA ("Side squared, for a square"), STET ("Editor's 'never mind'") and ENOLA ("WWII bomber ___ Gay").

The Enola Gay is a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber and was the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb. On August 6, 1945, during the final stages of World War II, the Enola Gay dropped a bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, the Enola Gay dropped a bomb on Nagasaki. The pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbetts, named the aircraft after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbets. She was named after the title character in Mary Young Ridenbaugh's 1886 novel Enola; or, Her Fatal Mistake. The plane is on display at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.

In closing, allow me to ask: Why is Abraham Lincoln like a bloodhound tracking a criminal? They're both on the cent.

(Bad, I know.)




100
Etc. / Looking for a man named Bill B.......?
« Last post by mothra42 on February 11, 2018, 11:48:25 PM »
I am looking for the name of a crossword favorite named Bill. Last name starts w/ a B, but can't remember the rest. He usually did the daily LATimes puzzle, then the correct answers, w/ appropriate info for difficult  or arcane clues. He also answered messages from readers. When I gave up on puzzles, I lost his info. Now I'm doing puzzles again and would like to locate this man. Appreciate any help! Mothra42 :(
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