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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:21 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:56 am
Posts: 11
Here is something new I'm experimenting with: an Across Lite acrostic.

I've been posting acrostics fairly regularly at Daily Kos for the Sunday morning puzzle diaries I do there, because they're fun to create and they generally make a good challenge. But the instructions I include for them may be confusing to new people. I'm hoping that posting the acrostics in interactive form will make them easier for new people to understand and get into. It occurred to me that the Across Lite program could be used for acrostics (albeit strangely numbered acrostics) and this is a first attempt at doing so.

2010-03-21 acrostic.puz [969 Bytes]
Downloaded 267 times

In the acrostic rows, fill in words which match the clues given. Each word in a line will contain all the letters of the previous word in the line, plus one new letter. Write the added letters into the spaces provided between the words. The added letters will form vertical columns which, when read together, will spell new words. When you've filled in all the words and figured out what the verticals mean, the puzzle is solved.

Sometimes the verticals will read down, sometimes up. Sometimes words will be entirely contained in a column and sometimes words will start in one column and finish in another. Sometimes the verticals will be a set of related words (such as PERSIAN, SIAMESE, and BURMESE -- varieties of cat), sometimes the verticals will spell out a person's name (such as WILLS and HORTZ -- Will Shortz), sometimes the verticals will spell out the title of a book or movie (such as GONEW, ITHTH, and EWIND -- "Gone With The Wind"), and sometimes the verticals will spell out some familiar phrase (such as MAKELOV and ENOTWAR -- "Make love, not war").

I'll be posting this acrostic later this morning at Daily Kos. The regular acrostics I post at Daily Kos generally take a group effort to solve, but this interactive one should be easy enough for people to solve individually.

Also, here is a small Cryptic Crossword I'll be posting to keep the acrostic company:

2010-03-21 DK crossword.puz [883 Bytes]
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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:54 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:07 pm
Posts: 579
Location: New York, NY
Ah, I see you did more, so to append to my comment just before suggesting you post cryptics over in the cryptic forum, I took a break from the unsolved and worked on this one, as it's so short. I can see quite generally that you're strongly influenced by Frank Lewis, with a style that probably wouldn't be accepted by the cryptic forum and many others without a little mainstreaming.

I'd urge you to try it. Perhaps aim for a standard size puzzle to give yourself and solvers more to chew on. You could get advice over there on how to construct a barred cryptic, given the limits of Across Lite, but I can say that block grids are fine, so long as more than half of the letters in all words are checked. Of course, such puzzles would also become symmetric and wouldn't have unchecked letters trailing off to the ends of words, like the last letter here.

Here's a quick run down of what I'm guessing others would accept.

1A looks fine ("wordplay shows answer"). Could also tighten by omitting "done." 7A is also fine, although slightly arch definitions like "night rider" are worth using only for an added challenge in an easy clue (like this one), unless you're going deliberately for the British tone of voice that Lewis mimics and may feel foreign to us.

8A Even with an exclamation point, lack of an anagram signal is considered a flaw. I found the answer obscure and also "that's sweet" not a true definition (but again, Brits would differ).

9A I don't have this one. I imagine "At no time" is the definition, although some would prefer the clue explicitly indicate the archaicism, but I haven't parsed the rest as wordplay. I don't know what Clemens is a reference to, as all it means to me is "Roger."

10A and 12A. I see the constraints of the small grid but otherwise wouldn't recommend double definitions based on abbreviations. (BTW, in a bigger grid, you'd be urged by the cryptic forum to try for a balance of clue types.) Abbreviations should also be familiar, since remember that cryptics give setters a freebee by allowing them without an abbreviation indicator. NPL style broadens that to accept any abbreviation in MW11, but by either standard TM for transcendental meditation might raise eyebrows. (The wordy definition for that is nice and funny this time, I think.) The wordy and not straightforward definitions of the two types of AFL are also a little British for me.

13A. Most wouldn't accept a connector between definition and wordplay like "Have a" at one end rather than in the middle.

1D. If I'm not mistaken, this is an "indirect anagram": that is, you want us to scramble ERST A Z. That's not good. Also "something" has no role, as ERSATZ is an adjective. Finally, I'd omit "famous," since if we don't know the film, calling it famous won't make us know it!

2D. By similar reasoning, trim to something like "Neat, but not showing a profit."

3D. I don't think we can use "less than" to mean taking off the first letter.

4D. I'm not sure about "that" as a connector, Dirksen is a little obscure for anyone younger than I, he's EV only (I assume) to dear friends, and there's no anagram so "confusion" is not appropriate.

5D. Not bad, but some would feel it's really the same meaning for GRIEF twice over.

6D. Pretty wordy or British in tone, but tightening might also help clear out some other difficulties. For one, "start" is functioning as what some object to as a "noun indicator" for first letter, and "a regular occurrence" is the wrong part of speech. You need something like "You started" for Y, say, and further rewriting.

11D. Some would object that I cannot mean ME, as one is subjective case and the other objective case, but I'll accept this one given that we say things like "It's me." Still...

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