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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:28 am 
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Here's a small cryptic which I'll be posting later this morning at Daily Kos.
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I'm fond of the no-black-squares format of the cryptics in Harpers and The Atlantic; but I'm also becoming very fond of Across Lite, and I don't see a way to do that format with Across Lite. Across Lite will handle the almost-half-the-squares-are-black format used in British cryptics, and in Frank Lewis' Nation crosswords, but I'm not very fond of that format. So I thought I'd try something a little different for the grid of this one, more like a traditional crossword grid (but without the symmetry).

In clue 11-Across, pucklady is one of the regular participants in the Daily Kos puzzle community. I often like to include the regulars in the puzzles. For those here who aren't familiar with the people there, the clue may be re-written as follows:

11. A deep thinker might say this repeatedly, in a faint manner, to become feminine.


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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:17 am 
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I just wandered into this forum and saw you did a cryptic. You might want to post it in the cryptic forum to get some feedback.

So far, I have hardly made a dent, making me wonder if the clues won't turn out to be nonstandard. Ironically, the last one, despite the question mark, seems pretty straightforward, other than that of course the grid requires a two-letter fill and that one could just as well leave out the "a." (Some would insist on it, unless the a where wordplay fodder.) I'm guessing generally that you run to the Frank Lewis side of verbosity. Say, 12D could easily be just "Bug I am opposed to" rather than "This is a bug I am opposed to."

Incidentally, that one is nonstandard: "am" works for the surface but not for solving, which logically would require "Bug I is," which won't work for the surface. Thus, that clue would be rejected without a rewrite (perhaps "Bug I could be"). But, as I say, I don't have much of a foothold.


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 Post Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:47 am 
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All right, after the above and comments on the other two cryptics, I'll complete my comments here, but not repeating some overview points on how to go for cryptic writing. Definitely pick up the old Random House Guide for pointers on style. Otherwise, I do hope the feedback here is helpful in getting you started on cryptic writing.

1A/D. This might work in England, but we'd disallow it as "shared root": in both phrases "short" and "sweet" stem from basically the same idea.

8A. I'd know idea who Thomas Gordon was or what PET meant to him, so this one seemed just annoying. However, also note that "cat" can't clue PET without "for example" or some other indicator. General can clue specific, but not the other way around.

11A. I appreciation the translation of "like pucklady," which doesn't belong. I'm not too keen on "A deep thinker might say this repeatedly" for OM. It's another of those arch jokes best kept to yourself or maybe saved for a theme noncryptic puzzle's long entries.

12A. More trivia, but otherwise an ok clue. Still, I'd change "in the manner or a Republican" by dropping the "a."

13A. I've no idea who Hamilton is or why the name goes with "helm holder." This trivia doesn't belong in a cryptic.

14A. Another one where the sheer number of words in the clue should notify you that you're being too clever by half. I don't recognize the fill or know what the joke about interesting lessons and special defense is. (It is also likely to mean the definition is the wrong part of speech. Besides, "Broken window parts" is the biggest no-no of all, an indirect anagram. It'd have to say "Broken panes."

15A. I don't know Spanish, though I could guess this one, and the other definition is crosswordese better left to noncryptic spots hard to fill, but ok. I should say, though, again that you've way too many double definitions for the right balance in a cryptic.

16A. NPL allows any word in MW11, but other publications would consider this an obscure word. I gather COIN is the container but don't see how "I am into" gives the ITO filler.

18A. More factoids, but ok.

19A. Ok. (Down clues continued separately....)


Last edited by jhaber3 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:57 am 
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2D. Probably best to change "A man" to "Man" and "could be" to "is," but that's minor editing. Big problem is that "running in a race" or "could be running in a race" isn't a noun.

3D. Another indirect anagram.

4D. As you can see, I'm discouraging the British-style wordiness of phrases like "could give you a." Mostly, though, I'm aware that there was an arms race but don't know why "Arms master" clues RACES. I may be wrong, but doesn't look kosher and is trying too hard.

5D. "Ford's defeat here" is is both the wrong part of a speech and too allusive. (Most will ask, Ford who?)

6D. Again, all thsoe words tell you right off it's bad, and I don't think you can say "definition transformed into wordplay." And why is CE controversial?

7D. "But this" is that wordiness and British tone again.

8D. Obscure as can be. I don't know who PLAIT is, and note the wordiness. Adding two separate jokes about him doesn't make the clue more accessible; quite the opposite. And spelling out "Los Angeles" makes it an indirect anagram.

9D. The definition is the wrong part of speech, I'm not sure the first and middle initial makes it a good fill, and maybe it's a little of a stretch to call the employer under the law a person, but maybe ok.

10D. "Wordplay is in definition" would not be to a lot of solvers' tastes.

12D. As note already, "am" doesn't work as wordplay grammar, and "This is a" should be dropped, too.

14D. I like this.

17A. As noted, don't know why this amid so many weird clues got the exclamation point.


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