Constructing => General Discussion => Topic started by: StemmyNug on August 15, 2019, 04:00:13 PM

Title: 3 Letter Legitimacy
Post by: StemmyNug on August 15, 2019, 04:00:13 PM
Fairly new creator here, I’m on my tenth puzzle or so.  I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve tasked myself with trying to keep 3 letter words to a minimum in my puzzles at this point, at the advice of pretty much everyone.

That being said, in the process of design, (I’m using crossfire) there are a slew of three letter words that have been published that I have no idea what they mean or how I might clue them.  I’ve taken to checking to see how often they’ve been published as a way of getting a sense of their legitimacy.

For example, SDS has been published well over 50 times and I feel like I can use it with confidence that it won’t raise eyebrows with editorial staff. 

But what about something published 10-15 times? It may have been accepted in a puzzle with a more complicated theme, but doesn’t seem ideal for a mon-Thur.

How many publications would make you feel comfortable with an acronym that you arent familiar with yourself?
Title: Re: 3 Letter Legitimacy
Post by: mmcbs on August 15, 2019, 04:59:39 PM
First, and foremost, you should try to avoid using abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms whenever possible - try to fill those 3-letter spots with real words. but if you can't find a word that will work, you shouldn't use an abbreviation that you're not familiar with, because that means a lot of people of your age and background will not have heard of it either. SDS is pure crosswordese, these days, in my humble opinion (and I knew people who were in it when I was in college, but that was six decades ago), so I'm pretty sure anyone under 50 has never heard of it except in history books (not likely) or crossword puzzles.
Title: Re: 3 Letter Legitimacy
Post by: StemmyNug on August 15, 2019, 08:52:26 PM
Thanks for the advice Mark!

It really seems like having the mantra of “if you’re questioning it, rework the section” will serve me well. It’s tempting to let it slide when I’ve started over several times.

I’m hoping that my fills will improve and get smoother/easier with better grid construction.
Title: Re: 3 Letter Legitimacy
Post by: mmcbs on August 16, 2019, 07:43:34 AM
I'll just add one other thought. The design of the grid and placement of theme entries can have a big effect on how difficult or easy it easy to get a good fill. Many's the time that after beating my head against a wall to get a decent fill, I've decided to do some major surgery to the grid or arrangement of the theme entries, and this often paves the way to a successful fill. So, rearranging black squares, adding an extra black square, shifting theme entries around, or a complete grid redesign are all things that you should consider.