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Author Topic: Puzzle Killers  (Read 2222 times)


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Puzzle Killers
« on: February 21, 2016, 12:41:09 PM »
Does anyone know if there is a list of puzzle-killers (which Will describes as "an absolutely heinous entry — the entire grid gets tossed right out of consideration")? If not, is there interest in starting such a list (on Cruciverb perhaps)? I saw Jeff Chen offered such a list for those who upgraded to "regular" user status on XWord Info. This would seem to reflect his own opinions of these words. All these words previously appeared in NYT puzzles so they weren't puzzle killers? Maybe there are words that appeared in pre-Shortz era puzzles that Will has since designated as puzzle killers. Assumedly, this would only be identified directly to constructor of the rejected puzzle.  It would be particularly helpful to identify three, four, and five letter words that we might otherwise be tempted to use as glue.     


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Re: Puzzle Killers
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2016, 06:15:05 PM »
"Puzzle Killers" sounds like the name of a rap group. :)

Puzzle Maker's Handbook, a 1981 book by Mel Rosen & Stan Kurzban, includes a list of "Entries to avoid." Among them are references to sex and violence; obscure abbreviations; uncommon foreign words; and variant spellings, Scottish, Gaelic, dialect, obsolete, archaic. However, I see variant spellings and archaic words quite frequently: AEON, AMEBA, EEN, OER and many others.

The authors also advise that answers must be in good taste: "Most editors won't allow RAPE as an answer even if you define it as grape pomace."


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Re: Puzzle Killers
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2016, 04:34:03 PM »
Great summary/background, and I don't think we need need a list of sexy, violent, etc. words (unless I need a name for my puck rock band) ;) I am thinking of a more advanced word list - words that seem like they would be acceptable because they were in prior NYT puzzles or new to the language - but have resulted in a rejected puzzle. Examples of the latter might be OUTRO (Instrumental finale) or LEED (Green building cert.) They've appeared in the NYT repeatedly, but not the crossword. By including them in my last two submissions am I breaking new ground, or will I find out, as perhaps others have before me, that these are puzzle killers?     


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