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Question from a newbie

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I just joined this forum as well as the listserv (CRUCIVERB-L). I've been solving crossword puzzles for years. I'm not very fast but I do enjoy them.

Recently I thought it would be fun to try to create one. I don't ever expect to sell it. I thought it would just be fun to do. Since I'm so new here I plan to do a lot of reading before I post many questions. However, I thought I'd start out with one question about themed puzzles.

I've been thinking about a "missing word" or "deleted word" theme. I have looked around at many of the links provided on this web site (e.g., Theme Types, Notes from a Mentor, Sage Advice) but I still need more information.

Can anyone give me some tips about missing word themes? My basic idea was to have four common 3 word phrases or expressions, with a common middle word, and delete that common word to make them into 2 word phrases (not common phrases, more like wacky phrases, phrases that "work" but are weird). Is this an okay idea?

I have lots more questions about this, such as how clues should be written (for the original 3 word phrase or for the resulting 2 word phrase?) but I don't want to make my initial post a long one so I'll stop now. Any links to information about missing word themes, or your own thoughts/experience, would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,


"Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives."

... or if you don't like Shakespeare maybe Nike works:

"Just do it!"

Thanks for the encouragement!

Mostly I wanted to make sure it was okay to have a word missing from the middle of a phrase. I remember lots of puzzles with words missing from the end or beginning but have not seen (or don't remember) any with words missing from the middle.

Taking out a word from the middle means that the resulting phrase, which is the part that actually goes into the grid, is not "in the language." I kept reading about how important it is for things in the grid to be in the language. I was afraid that words missing from the middle would be the wrong approach.

For example, if my common word was METAL then I could take the phrase Full Metal Jacket (type of bullet, well known movie) and end up with FULLJACKET.

I was thinking that I would write clues for the original phrases. Then I would put METAL in the middle of the grid with some clue describing it plus saying that this word is needed to make the starred clues make sense. Does that sound about right?

If you like it, do it.  One never knows if others would like it until they have something to see.

Theme answers don't have to be in the language, but they do have to have "surface sense".  This is a concept I struggle with myself, but basically it means your phrases have to sound like they could be in the language in some alternate universe.  FULLJACKET would seem to qualify.

Even better would be if you could connect all of your made-up phrases in some way (perhaps in the way they are clued) or if you connect all of your target phrases in some way (like FULLJACKET, they all derive from movie titles).


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