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"Fill entries must be straight" (translation needed)


Hi, all.  I'm new to the addicting new hobby of puzzle construction.  I was reading Nancy Salomon's advice about puns in crosswords.  Can someone rephrase for me what she wrote below?  I don't completely understand what it means to say that "fill entries must be straight."  Does this mean we can't pun outside the themes?  If we're dealing with a non-theme puzzle, can we pun then?

Nancy Salomon wrote:
"A pun used as fill will get you an instant rejection. Your fill entries must be straight. Sometimes a clue can be a bit punny, but if the fill entry isn't "real" it will look to the editor and the solver as if you've 'cheated.'"

Thanks for any insight.

Todd G:
I'm not Nancy Salomon (obviously  ;D), but I think I can explain this by giving an example out of Stan Newman's book Cruciverbalism.  Merl Reagle recalled using EYELOVEU as an entry clued as "Optometrist's cherished alma mater."  This is a pun entry, punning off the well known phrase "I love you."

If this were a thematic entry (not sure what else you could use here, maybe EARSTOU?), Nancy is saying it would be fine (at least if the puzzle theme is based on puns, like Merl's NYT puzzle for The Simpsons).  But since it's not a theme entry, and "eye love u" isn't a real phrase, it isn't a "straight" fill entry, and therefore verboten...

...except that Will Weng apparently allowed it.  Well, she did say she deferred to Merl as the expert on puns.  :)

Does that help?

Ahh, I see now.  So, it isn't that the clue can't pun, it's that the solution can't be a pun.  That's a lot clearer to me now.  Thanks.  :D


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