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Author Topic: How many 3 letter words is considered too many in a 78-worder puzzle?  (Read 1612 times)

tgray

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Hi!  I have constructed a 15 x 15 puzzle for the NYT with 5 long theme answers which I would like to keep.  There are 78 words and 38 blocks but there are (30) 3- letter words.  If most of the 3 letter words are not abbreviations, is that considered too many?  Thanks for your help!
Tracy

XMAAS

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  • Posts: 12
30 3-letter words is considered too many by most editors. There are occasionally exceptions made if the puzzle is strikingly unusual in some way.

As for an upper limit... I'm not sure if there is any hard and fast rule. I usually try and stay well below 20.


-MAS

tgray

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MAS -
Thanks for your input and I'm still hoping for others to reply!  I have had two puzzles accepted (but not published yet!) by the NYT and the one had (29) 3-letter words and the other had (23).  Naturally, I'm hoping that the new one I've constructed is exceptional enough to the editor to allow (30) 3-letter words.......guess I'll let you know in a few months!
Tracy

Doorbell

  • Jr. Member
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  • Posts: 70
Check out the NYT spec sheet: http://www.cruciverb.com/index.php/page=16

Doorbell

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  • Posts: 70
(In answer to sepreus's questions, not the original poster)

I'm sorry, but your crosswords are not of the type called "American-style" crosswords, and wouldn't be accepted in the marketplace that this site usually discusses.  Some of the problems are:
  • puzzle should be 15x15, not 12x12
  • there should not be any unchecked letters (i.e., letters appearing in only one word instead of two)
  • there should not be any two-letter words; three letters is the minimum
  • each word should be numbered; you have only numbered each row and column
  • each word should have its own clue; you have listed all the clues for a single row or column
  • your clues are all factual, "from the dictionary" type clues, and the clues are rather long; in an American style puzzle, clues tend to be short and punchy, sometimes misleading, often including word play
  • your puzzle seems to be educational, aimed at teaching people things they don't know; modern American-style puzzles are usually constructed to be entertaining -- a relaxation, not a chore
  • you have so many of what you call "theme" words that the rest of the fill has many obscure words, and there's no room for interesting words, lively words, wordplay, etc.
  • in an American-style puzzle, a theme consists of words, or, usually, phrases, that are related in some way, that are the longest entries in the puzzle, and that are symmetrically place (for example, three 15-letter entries, or four 10-letter entries
My guess is that you have created crosswords in the style of Spanish language puzzles, but they just wouldn't work here.

Doorbell

  • Jr. Member
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  • Posts: 70
Dear Sepreus, I'm just saying that your puzzle is not an American-style puzzle, American audiences would not enjoy it, and it would not be publishable in this country.  It may be terrific for other audiences, but not here.  That's just the way it is.

 

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