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Breakfast table survey


Simple question -- which, if any, of the five words below would be allowable in a major newspaper puzzle like the NYT or LAT?

2. CRAPOUT (the clue would be something like "Fail")

Any educated guesses welcome. Thanks!

I doubt any of those would be acceptable... JMHO.

1. BLOODIEST -- perfectly fine.
2. CRAP OUT -- fine; it's a great colloquial expression that's been referenced before in cluing just the word CRAP.
3. CHAMBER POT -- TOILET, BIDET, BEDPAN and ANAL are all acceptable. This one's just slightly more rustic. Still, including it is a matter of taste.
4. ABATTOIR has been clued as "Slaughterhouse" twice in the NYT, so SLAUGHTERHOUSE clearly is acceptable.
5. No, you don't get to include racial slurs. Use common sense.

A quick peek at the database can almost always tell you what you need to know. If you don't have access to it it's time to sign up ASAP. Keep in mind that while 4/5 of these are acceptable on their own, you cannot build a theme around anything scatological in nature.


I just looked for BLOODIEST in the database, and didn't find it either as a clue word or as an entry. If you're suggesting that the database shows you whether a word is permitted or not, then BLOODIEST is not permitted! But I wouldn't make that assumption; maybe it just hasn't been used yet.

Personally, I kind of shrank back from all of those words. Maybe that's because, when clustered together as they were, they seem more objectionable to me than when taken separately (too many horrible associations there).

FWIW there are a number of words in the database which I wouldn't use, but maybe I'm more delicate than the current NY Times editor.  For example, I'd never use ANAL in a puzzle - unless it was clued as an abbreviation for "analysis," which is what some constructors have done. I see that it has been clued with "___-retentive" in the NYT, which I don't think I'd ever use.

PS I agree that the database is useful, but I think it's most helpful to people creating more than just a few crosswords. YMMV.

I think bloodiest is fine, if not interesting. Crap out is also fine. I would hesitate before using chamber pot, but I think there's a precedent for using words of that nature, so go ahead. SLAUGHTERHOUSE could always be clued as "___-Five;" Vonnegut novel.

I actually have a follow-up question to this one: What about the expressions LETSONERIP and LETSONEFLY. I have heard these phrases in a sports context a number of times, but they also have a less polite meaning. What do people think about these terms?


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