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Author Topic: Crosswordese Is Too Easy  (Read 3845 times)

Thomps2525

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Crosswordese Is Too Easy
« on: August 08, 2014, 05:03:33 PM »
Every day I do the puzzles in the Los Angeles Times, Register and Daily News and I'm starting to get bored with them because of the excessive use of "crosswordese," the short words that appear in several puzzles every week. In each puzzle, the three or four "theme answers" are usually clever and unique but the "fill words" have been done to death. I tried to come up with a list of the 50 words that appear most frequently. The list is not definitive. Someone will likely ask why I didn't include STET or OPIE. Anyway, here in alphabetical order is my best guess as to the most common Crosswordese. Can anyone create a puzzle that uses none of these words?

ADO, ALOE, ALOHA, ALP, AMP, ANTE, ARC, ART, ASEA, ASP, ATE, ATM, CPA, EAT, EDAM, EDEN, EEL, EKE, ELS, EMO, EMU, ENO, EPEE, ERA, ERE, ERR, ESPN, EURO, EVE, IRA, IRE, LEI, OBOE, ODE, OED, ONO, ORC, ORO, OTT, OVA, RTE, RYE, SPA, SRA, SRTA, SSE, SSN, STE, UKE, UTE.

Does anyone have a guess as to the single most-used word in puzzles? I'm thinking it's probably ADO or OTT. Mel Ott played 22 seasons as a rightfielder with the Giants and, thanks to crossword puzzles, he'll never be forgotten!

Thomps2525

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Re: Crosswordese Is Too Easy
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2014, 01:31:53 PM »
And now, one day later, I realize that my list of 50 should have been a list of 100...and maybe more. Yes, STET and OPIE should be included. Here are some more overly common crossword answers:

ABA, ABBA, ABET, ACCT, ACRE, AJA, ALAI ("Jai ___"), ALF, ALI, AMA, AREA, ARLO, ASTA, ATRA, AXE, BEE, CHIA, EERIE, EGO, ELM, ELO, ESTA, ESTE, ETE, INCA, IRR (abbr. of IRREGULAR), IRS, LOO, OBI, OGRE, OLEO, OLIO, ORE, OSLO, OTRO, RBI, RCA, REM, SLA, SLR, SNL, TAI ("___ chi"), TARA, TATA, TETE, TSAR, URN, UZI.

And the crosswords are guaranteeing that we will never forget AVA Gardner, BEA Arthur or Yoko ONO. If puzzle makers could create crosswords that include a lot of words containing J, K, Q, V, X, Y and/or Z, they'd be able to avoid using so much Crosswordese and the puzzles wouldn't be so repetitious and boring. That is my opinion. Opposing viewpoints are welcomed.




Thomps2525

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Re: Crosswordese Is Too Easy
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2014, 03:32:19 PM »
And now, another day later, here are more overused Crosswordese words:

AAA ("Auto club" or "Battery size"), ABE, ABLE, AFRO (AFRO? In 2014? Really?), AMES, AMIE, AOL, APT, DOE, EEE ("Wide shoe size"), EGAD, ISR (abbr. of ISRAEL), LAOS, LEE, LSD, MER, MSN, NRA, OAR, OAT, OHM, OLE, OLLA, ORATE, OREM, REO, SOL, TOGA, TRA ("___-la-la").

I'd like to have some volunteers in different cities to keep count of all the Crosswordese in the local newspapers' puzzles for the next month. I'll check the puzzles in the Los Angeles Times, Register, Daily News and Glendale News-Press. On September 10 we can post the results and combine the lists. Armed with a ranking of the 40 or 50 most-used words in puzzles, maybe we can encourage puzzle makers to start being more creative. (AFRO? In 2014? Really?)

Thomps2525

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Re: Crosswordese Is Too Easy
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 11:09:00 PM »
My month-long study is completed...and I did it all without any government funding!  Each day from August 10 to September 9, 2014, I kept track of the answers in six different crossword puzzles published in the Register, Daily News, Los Angeles Times and Glendale News-Press. In the book Puzzle Craft by Mike Selinker & Thomas Snyder, there is an admonition (on page 85) against using an overabundance of "crosswordese" words beginning with vowels. The authors complain that such words "get stuffed into so many bad crosswords." Indeed, of the 77 most-used words in the past month's puzzles, all but eleven begin with a vowel!

Many words often appear with an added "S." In such cases, I combine the two variations. For example, I include ALPS with ALP, EATS with EAT, and SPAS with SPA.  Many words that are usually quite common, including ABBA, ACE, AFRO, AGO, AIDA, ALOHA, AMP, ANTE, AOL. APSE, APT, ASEA, ATM, CEL, EAU, EDAM, EERIE, ELO, ELOPE, ETNA, EVE, ICU, IDO, LAOS, LEI, OBI, OED, OGLE, OLEO, OPIE, ORCA, OSLO, OTT, SNL, SSN, TSAR, UTE and UKE, appeared in only two or three puzzles in the past month. And now, ladies and gentlemen, here are the results of my study: the most frequently occurring words in crossword puzzles.

16 - ALE
14 - IRA
12 - ORE
11 - ALEE, ELI
10 - AGE, EEL
9 - ADO, EPEE, LEA, ODE, ONE, RTE, URN
8 - ARIA, ASP, END, EPA, ERA, ERR
7 - ABE, ABET, AREA, ART, ETE, IRE
6 - ALI, ALP, ASH, ATE, CPA, DNA, EEO, EMU, EON, ESP, ETO, ETON, OAF, OGRE, OVA, SPA, STAR, TOE, TRIO
5 - ACT, ADE, ERE, ETA, EKE, ERG, ETA, IMP, IRS, OAT, OPAL
4 - ACRE, ADD, ALOE, ALOT, APE, EDEN, ELAN, ELM, ELS, EMIR, END, ERIE, EVA, OAR, OBOE, OIL, ONO, ORO, PTA, SEA, TAO

I commend Merl Reagle, whose September 5 crossword in the Los Angeles Times contained only words of five or more letters. He said he was taking a break from the typical three- and four-letter words that are so common. See? It can be done!

 


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