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#468179 - Sun Apr 19 2009 12:33 PM Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
SilverMoonsong Offline
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Registered: Sun Nov 07 1999
Posts: 3872
Loc: Morrisville North Carolina USA
The answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is there a certain number of quizzes required to be able to make crosswords?

There is no exact number of quizzes for you to create to be rewarded with the ability to create crosswords. Instead, you should focus on the quality of quizzes you create. If you receive the same type of correction notes each time you create a quiz, you are not ready for crosswords. When you have your quizzes go online regularly with little or no editing, you'll find you have the ability to create crosswords.

Why is there a limit on 2-letter words?

Spanishliz explains, "The reasoning behind not wanting too many is that "real" crosswords seldom allow any at all, and we've been striving to reach similar goals. Many quiz authors will use the short words simply to reach the proper percentage of used squares, or to cross at least half the letters in a word. When this happens we often end up with what looks like a row of dragon's teeth!"

How should I mark spaces in my clues?

If you have to mark a space in your clue, you should use an underscore, not a dash or dots. To keep it uniform in length, please use only 3 underscores to mark the space in your clue.

For example:

"We are the ___"

The answer is Champions ("We are the Champions" by Queen)

If you have a two- or more word answer, then you should add that to the end of your clue:

Blue Cross, ___ (2 words)

The answer is Blue Shield. (Blue Cross, Blue Shield)

Why does it take longer to edit a crossword than a quiz?

First, unlike the many quiz editors we have, there are only a handful of crossword editors. In addition to editing puzzles, almost all of us edit quizzes. We are also volunteers - we do this because we enjoy it. Please be patient. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Second, for most people, crossword creation is far more difficult than quiz writing. First time puzzle authors will attest to this fact. The more you create, the more you learn from the editing process, and the faster they will go online.

Please make sure you have read the Guidelines before creating your first puzzle. It would also be a good idea to take the Basic Crossword Creation tune-up quiz - you'll find some good tips in there.

Along with some of the upgrades Terry has implemented, we can now accept numeric or alpha-numeric puzzles.

There will be some very strict rules along with this:

Only our most experienced authors will be allowed to submit a crossword puzzle with numbers, since they will be more difficult than a regular puzzle. If you are unsure whether or not you will be allowed to submit a numeric puzzle, please send me a PM and I'll be happy to discuss it with you.

They must be unique and interesting - in other words, a simple addition or subtraction puzzle will not be accepted.

I'll update and clarify this as we work out the details and rules. In the meantime, if you have questions, feel free to ask.

What is the best way to write clues for abbreviations and symbols?

When using abbreviations, please don't give-away the answer in the clue.

For example, when using a state abbreviation, rather than stating it this way:

California (abbr) - you could instead say "The Golden state (abbr)"

Using state nicknames and other unique landmarks makes the clue more interesting (and you might actually learn something!).

When using chemical symbols, keep the same thing in mind. Rather than state the name of the chemical and ask for the symbol, find something unique and interesting to use for the clue. For example:

"Element named after the Greek goddess of the moon (abbr)" [SE]

You can find ways to write almost any clue without giving away the answer. If you aren't sure, you can always ask one of the editors.

If you have any other questions, please ask them in here and one of the editors will answer.


Edited by SilverMoonsong (Mon Mar 14 2011 07:38 PM)
Edit Reason: added new information
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#468180 - Sun Apr 19 2009 03:06 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: SilverMoonsong]
stuthehistoryguy Offline
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Registered: Fri Aug 20 2004
Posts: 1302
Loc: Omaha Nebraska USA      
Could you please recapitulate the guideline on two-letter words? I had it in a rejection notice, but that has gone the way of all flesh.
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#468181 - Sun Apr 19 2009 03:37 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: stuthehistoryguy]
SilverMoonsong Offline
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Registered: Sun Nov 07 1999
Posts: 3872
Loc: Morrisville North Carolina USA
Quote:

Could you please recapitulate the guideline on two-letter words? I had it in a rejection notice, but that has gone the way of all flesh.




Did you need something other than what is already up there? *confuzzled*
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#468182 - Sun Apr 19 2009 03:53 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: SilverMoonsong]
stuthehistoryguy Offline
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Registered: Fri Aug 20 2004
Posts: 1302
Loc: Omaha Nebraska USA      
Well, there's not a number or a percentage up there. Is the heuristic "just as few as humanly possible, preferably none", or is there a more concrete limitation?
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#468183 - Sun Apr 19 2009 04:34 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: stuthehistoryguy]
SilverMoonsong Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Nov 07 1999
Posts: 3872
Loc: Morrisville North Carolina USA
Ahh, I see. It's not a specific number, or even a specific percentage. If I look at your puzzle and see that you have a few sprinkled in here and there, and they are crossed both ways, I won't worry about them. If I look and go "Holy cow!" then you have too many.

If you keep it around 10% or less, you are most likely safe unless they are sticking out like 'dragon's teeth' as Liz calls them.

A good example you might use is bigwoo. He tends to use a few of them as fillers, but they are so well hidden you don't notice them.

Using symmetrical grids will almost eliminate the need for two-letter words. You can find blank grids online if you google them, and you can also use a grid already online here as long as you don't actually copy the puzzle itself. I've had someone ask me if they can use my grids, and I'm fairly flattered when they ask.

One other thing about them - it's easy to use a 'throw-away' clue with two- and three-letter answers. Avoid the give-away answers (for example; Central Intelligence Agency (abbr.)). If you can be creative with your clue you stand a better chance of having it remain.
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#468184 - Sun Apr 19 2009 05:10 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: SilverMoonsong]
agony Offline

Administrator

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 11710
Loc: Western Canada
We are also more accepting of a two word answer if it really is all that would possibly fit in that space. If, however, with a little ingenuity, you could make it a four letter answer that also used an adjacent word, we'd rather see that.

All the crossword editors have also written puzzles. We know what's hard about it, and we know what's easy. If I can cast my eye over your quiz and find simple ways for you to eliminate two letter words without major rewriting, I expect you to do it. If it would mean, in essence, dismantling your entire grid and starting all over, I won't ask for it unless it is really necessary.

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#468185 - Thu May 21 2009 09:00 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: agony]
delboy22 Offline
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Registered: Tue Jun 19 2007
Posts: 1309
Loc: Dijon France via S Wales UK
Please do not think I am complaining, but what IS the waiting time for crosswords to be checked and placed online?

I submitted my first over a week ago now, and have another three waiting.

As it is my first crossword waiting to be accepted, I'm sure you will understand my nervous anxiety, and modicum of impatience
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#468186 - Thu May 21 2009 09:47 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: delboy22]
crisw Offline
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Registered: Mon Feb 21 2000
Posts: 5745
Loc: Jamul
California USA
We have a lot of crossword editors on vacation right now- for example, I just got back from my first trip away from the Internet in about a decade
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#468187 - Thu May 21 2009 09:53 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: crisw]
delboy22 Offline
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Registered: Tue Jun 19 2007
Posts: 1309
Loc: Dijon France via S Wales UK
And a well deserved break it was Cris!

If I ask pretty pretty PRETTY please (with a cherry on top) could you take a quick look-see at my Crossword?

You have edited MANY of my quizzes in the past, and as an editor I have absolute respect for you
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Quiz author - Crossword author - Proud leader of 'Torrential Reign' - Terry Fords biggest fan - and part-time nice bloke

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#468188 - Thu May 21 2009 12:21 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: delboy22]
SilverMoonsong Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Nov 07 1999
Posts: 3872
Loc: Morrisville North Carolina USA
Please keep in mind that not only do we have lots of vacations going on, but this IS a holiday weekend in the States. Your puzzle is on my list of things to do, but work has been insane leading up to the weekend (people simply MUST have their beer!). I'll get to it, most likely over the weekend when I can take a breather.
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#468189 - Thu May 21 2009 12:36 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: SilverMoonsong]
delboy22 Offline
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Registered: Tue Jun 19 2007
Posts: 1309
Loc: Dijon France via S Wales UK
Quote:

Please keep in mind that not only do we have lots of vacations going on, but this IS a holiday weekend in the States. Your puzzle is on my list of things to do, but work has been insane leading up to the weekend (people simply MUST have their beer!). I'll get to it, most likely over the weekend when I can take a breather.




I wasn't aware that it was a holiday w/e in the States! You are of course perfectly right though - beer takes priority over EVERYTHING!!

Again, please don't think my post is in any way a complaint, as I am aware, and very appreciative, of the dedicated and unpaid work that you guys contribute to the site
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#468190 - Sun May 31 2009 01:45 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: delboy22]
SilverMoonsong Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Nov 07 1999
Posts: 3872
Loc: Morrisville North Carolina USA
Added:

How should I mark spaces in my clues?

If you have to mark a space in your clue, you should use an underscore, not a dash or dots. To keep it uniform in length, please use only 3 underscores to mark the space in your clue.

For example:

"We are the ___"

The answer is Champions ("We are the Champions" by Queen)

If you have a two- or more word answer, then you should add that to the end of your clue:

Blue Cross, ___ (2 words)

The answer is Blue Shield. (Blue Cross, Blue Shield)


31 May '09
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Forum Moderator: Useful Tips & Tricks, Movies & Television, Music Cellar
Senior Crossword Editor


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#468191 - Thu Sep 10 2009 07:53 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: SilverMoonsong]
glendathecat Offline
Explorer

Registered: Wed Apr 02 2008
Posts: 82
Loc: Kent UK
When and how do you get the nod about creating crosswords? I note the first answer about creating a good number of quality quizzes but it's a bit vague on detail.

Do you have to get permission from an editor or just keep trying the 'Create Crossword' button until one day you get a green light?

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#468192 - Thu Sep 10 2009 07:58 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: glendathecat]
SilverMoonsong Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Nov 07 1999
Posts: 3872
Loc: Morrisville North Carolina USA
It's vague only because we don't have a specific number of quizzes. It literally depends on how well you follow the editors' instructions, learn from previous mistakes, etc. It is really based on quality, not quantity.
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#468193 - Thu Sep 10 2009 09:24 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: SilverMoonsong]
agony Offline

Administrator

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 11710
Loc: Western Canada
I'd say that the "keep trying" option would probably be best. The best time to try would be soon after getting a quiz put online. The chances of anything changing "between" quizzes is fairly small.

And, to follow up on what SM said, we're not really trying to be secretive or mysterious about this. It just has so much to do with how a particular author interacts with editors. Crosswords are difficult to write, and difficult to edit. In order to preserve our sanity, we have to limit crossword creation to authors with a proven ability to work with editors. Different people get to this place at different rates. For one author, we might be happy to allow crossword creation after two or three quizzes. For another, we might still be leery after twenty.

I wish it were possible to say "Do this and that and then this and you're in" but it just isn't. The answer has to be "when we think you're ready".

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#468194 - Thu Sep 10 2009 09:52 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: agony]
glendathecat Offline
Explorer

Registered: Wed Apr 02 2008
Posts: 82
Loc: Kent UK
Thanks for the advice. I shall keep trying that button!

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#468195 - Thu Sep 10 2009 10:36 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: glendathecat]
salami_swami Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Thu Nov 01 2007
Posts: 8230
Loc: Colorado USA
lol, I stumbled upon it one day, and was like, hey! Last time I looked I couldn't write crosswords! Nobody told me I was then able to, it just happened. You won't know unless you try it. ;-) lololol.
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#468196 - Thu Sep 10 2009 03:14 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: salami_swami]
jonnowales Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 30 2006
Posts: 1518
Loc: Swansea,UK
lol salami, this is very true

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#468197 - Tue Oct 06 2009 11:02 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: jonnowales]
Eebs Offline
Participant

Registered: Fri Apr 04 2008
Posts: 7
Loc: Seattle Washington USA
How do you delete a crossword? I want to keep the same topic but need to change it to a small grid as medium is proving too challenging for the topic.

Thanks! - Eebs

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#468198 - Tue Oct 06 2009 11:19 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: Eebs]
skunkee Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
Posts: 8978
Loc: Burlington Ontario Canada  
There is no mechanism in place to delete a crossword.
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#468199 - Tue Oct 06 2009 11:38 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: skunkee]
Eebs Offline
Participant

Registered: Fri Apr 04 2008
Posts: 7
Loc: Seattle Washington USA
Thanks. Guess I'll just start over with a smaller grid.

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#468200 - Tue Oct 06 2009 12:18 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: Eebs]
jonnowales Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 30 2006
Posts: 1518
Loc: Swansea,UK
Yep Eebs, delete the clues and answers on the medium template and use it for a future crossword.

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#468201 - Tue Dec 01 2009 05:36 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: SilverMoonsong]
t_s Offline
Participant

Registered: Wed Jan 21 2009
Posts: 11
Loc: Renfrewshire Scotland UK     
Hi :-)

I too am waiting to be allowed to make a crossword and have no idea when that will be. I frequently think up crosswords but cannot do anything about it. The reason why I bring this up is that there are a severe lack of UK based crosswords in some, if not all crossword categories.
I play crosswords here on FT for a friend of mine who is partially blind, using my PC and we do it via the telephone where I read out the clues and she thinks up the answers and I type them in.
She really enjoys this opportunity to participate in FT. However, she, being UK based and I, being of UK origin, find that many subjects need more UK and European input (as an example, we totally used up all the TV section UK ones). Would it be a possiblity that more UK based crosswords could be created?
(Maybe as a suggestion for the future, that quizzes and crosswords may one day have a sound based question and answering facility for the blind or partially sighted?)

regards

t_s


Edited by t_s (Tue Dec 01 2009 05:39 AM)

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#468202 - Tue Dec 01 2009 09:01 AM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: t_s]
skunkee Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
Posts: 8978
Loc: Burlington Ontario Canada  
While you are waiting, you could record your thought up crosswords on a sheet of graph paper.
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#468203 - Tue Dec 01 2009 12:41 PM Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) [Re: skunkee]
jonnowales Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 30 2006
Posts: 1518
Loc: Swansea,UK
t_s, as one of the few British crossword creators on the site, I shall make an effort to make a few more UK based crosswords over the Christmas period. It will do no harm to balance things up a little.

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