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Author Topic: Question from a newbie  (Read 1429 times)

ahimsa

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Question from a newbie
« on: April 16, 2012, 07:41:32 PM »
Hello,

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,

Marjorie

magus

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Re: Question from a newbie
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 07:47:07 AM »
"Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives."

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

"Just do it!"

ahimsa

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Re: Question from a newbie
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 05:20:51 PM »
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?

magus

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Re: Question from a newbie
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 09:54:18 AM »
If you like it, do it.  One never knows if others would like it until they have something to see.

SJS

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Re: Question from a newbie
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2012, 04:26:50 PM »
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).

ahimsa

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Re: Question from a newbie
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2012, 09:11:43 PM »
Thank you, SJS, for your very helpful answer. It helps to know that the phrases need to make some sort of "sense" after the missing word is removed. Surface sense seems like a good phrase to describe the rule.

As far as connecting the theme entries, rather than having all the phrases be in the same category (e.g., all movie titles), I was planning to have the same word missing from all of the phrases. For example, last week's Sunday NY Times puzzle had phrases where the word OF was missing from all of them. But the phrases didn't have any other connection that I could see.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 09:13:56 PM by ahimsa »

AlexBajcz

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Re: Question from a newbie
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2012, 07:07:38 PM »
I think this is a perfect theme type to try when you're first starting out. Cluing the resulting answers will be a little tricky--they'll probably need to be puns or plays on words--but that's a battle to fight later on.

My piece of advice is this: These types of themes tend to go over best when the theme is "revealed" somewhere else in the grid. Then, if a solver couldn't catch onto your theme, but they can solve the part of the grid where the theme is revealed, they don't get frustrated. Removing the word "metal" from phrases makes me think of an answer in the grid somewhere being "NOMETAL," which could be clued as "Note on an airport security sign, and a hint to the answers to 14-, 28-, 37-, and 45-Across." Or what have you. I'm just spit-balling here, but hopefully it's of some help to you anyhow :)

jetsco13

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Re: Question from a newbie
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2012, 12:14:09 AM »
i think its a great idea. not to mention fun.  ;D

btw, would you mind sending me one if ever you've finished one? would be looking forward for your puzzles.
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ahimsa

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Thanks, Alex!
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2012, 10:06:54 PM »
I think this is a perfect theme type to try when you're first starting out. Cluing the resulting answers will be a little tricky--they'll probably need to be puns or plays on words--but that's a battle to fight later on.
<snip>

Alex, thanks for your advice. I meant to come back and check on this thread but I forgot all about it. I've actually gone on to a couple of other theme ideas since I posted this message.

I have completed a couple of puzzles but I'm not ready to post them anywhere for critique yet (let alone submit them to an editor!). I'm only sharing them with a few friends that I know in "real life" who like to do crosswords. I have shown puzzles to one or two folks online via email. But that's it.

I'm in awe of the newbies who are brave enough to post their very first puzzle online for other folks to submit comments. I will need to get a lot better before I feel up to doing something like that. But I appreciate all the helpful advice that I've gotten. Puzzle constructors are a very generous bunch of folks.

Marjorie

AlexBajcz

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Re: Question from a newbie
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2012, 11:25:35 PM »
I hear ya. I certainly would never post *my* first grid anywhere public. I think it had 43 black squares and a few borderline gibberish answers...gah! I'm glad you've been able to get a few under your belt. If you ever need feedback from someone who will be constructive, feel free to send them along to me. I will take a look at them when I have a free moment.

 

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