Constructing => General Discussion => Topic started by: jeanoc on March 03, 2012, 09:45:00 AM

Title: Theme entry and clue
Post by: jeanoc on March 03, 2012, 09:45:00 AM
I would like to use the phrase "so you think" as a theme entry and clue it as "___You Can Dance". Opinions? Do I need to add an explanation such as FOX reality show?
Title: Re: Theme entry and clue
Post by: SJS on March 03, 2012, 04:34:53 PM
You would not have to add the explanation; it is a well-known enough show and longer answers should generally be tougher.

However, unless your entire theme relies on fill-in-the-blanks, I think this cluing won't work.  This kind of clue would be a "partial", and normally partials should be less than 5 letters long.

On the other hand, "so you think" might be a legitimate phrase (I'm not certain).  It sounds like a sarcastic response to an opinion you don't agree with.  "That will never work"... "So you think"

You might therefore clue it as "I disagree" (quotation marks necessary).
Title: Re: Theme entry and clue
Post by: SJS on March 03, 2012, 04:35:56 PM
And let me add that there's another problem with your clue - the word "You" is in both the clue and the answer.
Title: Re: Theme entry and clue
Post by: jeanoc on March 03, 2012, 05:08:08 PM
Thanks. That's helpful and will save me from risking my entire theme!! I have a question though - in general, does the 5-letter rule for partials apply to titles and quotations?
Title: Re: Theme entry and clue
Post by: ebirnholz on March 07, 2012, 01:26:57 AM
In general, the rule limiting the number of letters in a partial phrase applies to everything -- titles, quotations, everyday speech, geographic locations, etc.  In fact, I would think one should be especially careful about using partials with titles and quotations, simply because if the title or quotation isn't that well known, it could frustrate a lot of solvers as being poor or obscure fill.  As for the permitted number, that changes depending on the publication.  It's 5 for the New York Times on each day, but the LA Times allows 6 letters on Sunday puzzles. 

Having said that, the rules of constructing can be bent if it serves a good purpose.  I think it is theoretically possible that a theme of the type that you're proposing could work, though it might be tricky.  SJS notes that SO YOU THINK would not work for the original clue you've chosen because the word "you" appears in both the clue and the answer.  But, it may be possible for you to build a puzzle in which the theme entries are each clued as partial phrases, provided that each of those phrases share something in common and can be reasonably intuited.

For example, maybe the theme answers could each be sections of well-known movie titles, or TV titles, or song titles, but at the same time they function as common, everyday phrases that could stand on their own without needing to be clued as partials (but you clue them as partials anyway because that's part of the puzzle's gimmick).  The trick, then, would be to find the titles that could serve that purpose.  It may also help to find a movie title/TV title/song title that gives the puzzle a good reason why the theme answers are clued as partials, and then use that as a final theme entry.  Maybe the TV show LOST could work as a unifier for that kind of theme, by cluing it as "TV show set on an island ... or what the answers to x-, x-, x-, and x-Across are compared to their clues."

These are just ideas I'm brainstorming, and they shouldn't necessarily be taken as sage advice.  It's just how I would go about picking theme entries and trying to get a theme like this to make sense to a solver.
Title: Re: Theme entry and clue
Post by: jeanoc on March 07, 2012, 10:43:33 AM
Thanks ebirnholz. Always happy to have theme suggestions. I've found a way to work mine, I think.