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Author Topic: Repeated words in clues/answers  (Read 250 times)

flight

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Repeated words in clues/answers
« on: June 23, 2020, 11:06:35 PM »
Can someone weigh in on the rule(s) regarding repeated words in clues/answers? I know that point #7 of the cruciverb.com "Basic Rules" says: "Do not repeat words in the grid", but can someone expand and expound on this rule, vis-à-vis my examples below?

At present, the puzzle I'm constructing has several repeated words within the clue set, none of which appear in the answer set. These include several that appear x2 (cut, it, it's, many, with, you, where), two that appear x3 (some, source), and a few variations/conjugations/contractions (over/overboard, who/who's, they/they're, do/done, go/goes).

From my observations it seems it's safe to repeat certain basic prepositions (in, at, on, by) and other basic common, short words (a, an, who, is, or, and, of, the, are...) only within one's clue set. But if I'm at all correct, where do you draw the line? I assume you shouldn't repeat in your clue set longer prepositions (throughout, within, versus), or any word that is striking, unique, or notable for whatever reason, regardless of how common its usage in everyday language.

And, specifically, what about the repeats in the following clues?...

* Male-majority dorm in a female-majority school
(majority appears twice in the same clue)

* Space where they hang 'em high? ... vs. ... Hangers in a St. Petersburg museum
(hang vs. hangers, both in different art-related entries)

* "Do" vs. "does" in two different clues?

* Boy's trauma source ... vs. ... Source of some idiocy

* Target in many bars ... vs. ... selection on a bar's menu

* ONER (as in a single "r") as a clue with the word "one" appearing in three different clues (I assume this one is a big problem).

Again, I'm happy to re-write clues as/if needed, although I'd prefer to avoid this if I can, since changes to the wording of several clues would likely necessitate utter abandonment of the clueing strategy, since even minor tweaks would ruin the wordplay, pun, etc. I just want to get clear on this stuff so I can further allay my newbie paranoia.

Thanks!

mmcbs

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Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2020, 05:45:13 AM »
Repeating words in the clues is not a problem.  You should avoid using a word in the clues that is also in the grid. In the grid most editors allow repeating words that would not be capitalized in a title, and also the word I. Different forms of the same base word are considered dupes (ARE, IS; GO, WENT). OUTING and WITHOUT and such are dupes. A good tool for checking is found at https://crosswordnexus.com/apps/clue-deduper/ It only checks for matching three letter strings, so you still need to scan your words.
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA
https://crosswordsbymark.wordpress.com/

flight

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Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 12:26:14 PM »
Thanks, as always, Mark. Very much appreciated. I'll check it out.

flight

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Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2020, 04:41:17 PM »
To clarify, then, ONER in the grid means the appearance of "one" in three different clues is a no-no x3?
Thanks!

mmcbs

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Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 04:57:10 PM »
That is correct. But rather than worrying about too many ones in the clues, I would try to get ONER out of the grid. It's really an archaic word that doesn't appear in some dictionaries and is seen mostly in crosswords.
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA
https://crosswordsbymark.wordpress.com/

flight

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  • Posts: 28
Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2020, 05:54:04 PM »
I concur with you on the archaic nature of the word, and I'd love to see it vanish from all puzzles going forward. That said, it's my best compromise short of turning a big chunk of my grid into a Superfund site for the umpteenth time. At this point I just want to move forward and avoid the damned word in future puzzles. I'm cluing it in more of the "there's only one R in Brazil" sense, hopefully this adds some appeal.

axlrosen

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Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 05:29:48 AM »
"What February is often pronounced with"

Or "What 'occurred' is often misspelled with"

mmcbs

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Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 07:06:33 AM »
LOL. That converts crosswordese to green paint.
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA
https://crosswordsbymark.wordpress.com/

cranberry44

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Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2020, 08:48:47 AM »
You might want to check out the xwordinfo site for repeated words in a NYT grid. Scroll down the left-hand column entitled "Crosswords" to find "Grids with repeated answer words."

mmcbs

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Re: Repeated words in clues/answers
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2020, 09:35:22 AM »
This information (from xwordinfo.com) points up that intentional repetition of words for theme purposes is an allowable exception. I was curious about the SEIZE - SEIZE duplication, which turns out to be one of several "dupes" that have one meaning in English and mean a number in some other language (seize means sixteen in French). Cute, but I noted the puzzle rated 2.34 stars on Crosswordfiend.com, about as low as it goes for a New York Times Sunday.
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA
https://crosswordsbymark.wordpress.com/

 


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