Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun Apr 19 2009 12:33 PM

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.
Posted by: stuthehistoryguy

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun Apr 19 2009 03:06 PM

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.
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun Apr 19 2009 03:37 PM

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*
Posted by: stuthehistoryguy

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun Apr 19 2009 03:53 PM

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?
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun Apr 19 2009 04:34 PM

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.
Posted by: agony

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun Apr 19 2009 05:10 PM

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.
Posted by: delboy22

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu May 21 2009 09:00 AM

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
Posted by: crisw

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu May 21 2009 09:47 AM

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
Posted by: delboy22

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu May 21 2009 09:53 AM

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
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu May 21 2009 12:21 PM

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.
Posted by: delboy22

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu May 21 2009 12:36 PM

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
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun May 31 2009 01:45 AM

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
Posted by: glendathecat

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu Sep 10 2009 07:53 AM

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?
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu Sep 10 2009 07:58 AM

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.
Posted by: agony

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu Sep 10 2009 09:24 AM

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".
Posted by: glendathecat

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu Sep 10 2009 09:52 AM

Thanks for the advice. I shall keep trying that button!
Posted by: salami_swami

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu Sep 10 2009 10:36 AM

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.
Posted by: jonnowales

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu Sep 10 2009 03:14 PM

lol salami, this is very true
Posted by: Eebs

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Oct 06 2009 11:02 AM

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
Posted by: skunkee

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Oct 06 2009 11:19 AM

There is no mechanism in place to delete a crossword.
Posted by: Eebs

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Oct 06 2009 11:38 AM

Thanks. Guess I'll just start over with a smaller grid.
Posted by: jonnowales

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Oct 06 2009 12:18 PM

Yep Eebs, delete the clues and answers on the medium template and use it for a future crossword.
Posted by: t_s

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Dec 01 2009 05:36 AM

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
Posted by: skunkee

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Dec 01 2009 09:01 AM

While you are waiting, you could record your thought up crosswords on a sheet of graph paper.
Posted by: jonnowales

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Dec 01 2009 12:41 PM

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.
Posted by: guitargoddess

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Dec 01 2009 12:58 PM

You could create them first in a word processor, too - it's not the same as a quiz where you can just copy and paste it into a template later and submit, but I do it in MS Word sometimes, just to plan out the grid before I do it in the crossword template. I make a 15x15 table (or 17x17, 11x11...), choose my words, or choose a pattern if that's what you want, and fit them together in Word, so that I don't end up boxing myself into a corner or something when I am creating the crossword for real.
Posted by: agony

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Dec 01 2009 01:44 PM

I'm in awe of those of you who can compose your crosswords on the computer. I have to sit sweating over a pad of graph paper, with a pencil and a good eraser.
Posted by: t_s

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Dec 01 2009 02:08 PM

Thanks Skunkee, I will do that in future :-)

Thanks also Johnowales, it is not that I don't want to do U.S. or other nationality crosswords and quizzes because I would do them if I were playing alone. Foreby the fact it is nice to do UK based ones, it is in my case, easier to do UK ones when I am sharing crosswords with my friend on the telephone as she & I only really can do these ones without taking hours to get through those more obscure ones.

Also, on a general note, is it possible to show numbers of letters for the required word(s) at the end of the clue when possible?

:-)

many thanks again

t_s
Posted by: t_s

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Dec 01 2009 02:13 PM

To guitargoddess and agony,

I have seen in passing, crossword programs advertised online for creating them. I have not tried one but it might be an idea for making them to see if they work out before putting them on the template here. Perhaps a practice template on FT might be a thing to look at then folk can train on using them before going 'live'?

t_s
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Wed Dec 02 2009 01:56 PM

Quote:

Also, on a general note, is it possible to show numbers of letters for the required word(s) at the end of the clue when possible?






Some folks do this when creating their crosswords, but it is not required. It all depends on what you are used to when playing professional crosswords in your country.

The only time we require something like that is if there is more than one word, and then we require either the notation [(2 words), (3 words) etc] or the numbers of letters in each word [(3,4), (2,5) etc].
Posted by: reeshy

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sat Apr 10 2010 11:31 AM

This may sound like a really silly question, but I just made my first crossword template, but now that I've come away from it, I can't find it again! Could someone possibly point me in the right direction? Thanks a lot!

Richard
Posted by: reeshy

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sat Apr 10 2010 12:29 PM

It's o.k. I've found it thanks to a helpful team mate!
Posted by: puitpankaj

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun May 02 2010 12:58 PM

I don't want to come across as a grumbling person, and I am not usually this impatient, but is there a cap on waiting times for submitted crosswords?

I submitted a crossword about twelve days ago, just as soon as I got the nod for creating crosswords (I had already prepared a few crosswords), but my crossword is still in the queue.

I am really sorry if I have managed to irritate some of the editors, who I am sure do their best, and yet still probably get such mails regularly. Sorry guys!
Posted by: agony

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Sun May 02 2010 01:07 PM

Whoops.
Posted by: puitpankaj

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon May 03 2010 05:42 AM

Is there a limit on the number of clues you can have in a crossword?
I know the crossword title page says "Suggested number of clues- 20 to 50", but I have made a 15 by 15 crossword that has about 60 clues.
Would that be a problem?
Posted by: puitpankaj

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon May 03 2010 05:52 AM

Because of so many clues, I have exceeded the 60 percent mark by a long margin. So should I delete a few clues, or let the crosssword be the way it is?

I am waiting for an answer, and hence I have not submitted this crossword at the moment, but another one in its place.

Please tell me what should I do.
Posted by: skunkee

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon May 03 2010 06:33 AM

No, there is not a limit to the number of crossed letters and please don't delete any clues for that reason. The percentage quoted is a minimum number. We have a few talented crossword creators who are able to achieve 100% crossed letter, and my hat goes off to them.

Secondly, crosswords are like quizzes and we prefer that you work on one all the way through to completion, and not jump back and forth between puzzles. This way, things learned form getting one puzzle online can be applied to subsequent puzzles.

Edited to add, I re-read your posts and saw that your question had nothing to do with % of crossed letters but was strictly about number of clues. The same answer applies!
Posted by: puitpankaj

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon May 03 2010 07:23 AM

Thanks very much.

As regards working on two crosswords simultaneously, I had already completed the other crossword, but was intending to submit this one first, so there is no question of jumping between puzzles.
Posted by: dg_dave

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon May 03 2010 02:18 PM

I see a cake...happy birthday, skunkee!
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue May 04 2010 04:39 AM

Puit> I've taken a quick look at your submitted puzzle. You might want to wait to get feedback after I've edited your first puzzle. There are some changes you'll need to make that will most likely apply to your second puzzle as well.
Posted by: puitpankaj

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue May 04 2010 05:03 AM

SilverMoonsong, Thanks for having a look at my puzzle.
I am waiting for the feedback. I will immediately make the necessary changes in both the crosswords.
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue May 11 2010 10:23 PM

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.
Posted by: Anton

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu Jul 15 2010 11:46 PM

How do I know my crossword has been submitted? There isn't a message showing up for me like when I submit a quiz.
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Fri Jul 16 2010 04:24 AM

Under the "My Crosswords: Edit" screen, it should show you which puzzles are online, offline, and which have been submitted.
Posted by: Anton

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Fri Jul 16 2010 11:25 AM

Thanks. It says it's been submitted.
Posted by: Anton

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon Jul 26 2010 02:56 PM

Is the crossword queue on a first come first serve basis?
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon Jul 26 2010 02:59 PM

First come, first serve - you mean those who submit their puzzles first are taken care of first? Pretty much, yes.
Posted by: Anton

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon Jul 26 2010 03:32 PM

That is what I meant. Also, do the crossword editors have specific categories they edit? I'm just curious.
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon Jul 26 2010 03:35 PM

Yes, each editor has specific categories, although I'm a Universal Editor. There are a few categories that are mine to edit, but I can take care of puzzles in any category if necessary.
Posted by: Anton

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon Jul 26 2010 03:41 PM

Thanks. Much appreciated.
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Mon Mar 14 2011 03:32 PM

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.
Posted by: ElusiveDream

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Jun 17 2014 12:34 AM

Need some help with my crossword! I've been told I have too many 2-letter words. It's really hard to find longer words that can fit in with the words I already have and I can't change the size of my crossword. Anyone got any ideas?
Posted by: agony

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Jun 17 2014 07:18 AM

You probably won't like my suggestion, but it's to start again more or less from scratch. Keep your longer word list, and try again, this time keeping in mind that you don't want to use too much filler.

And a suggestion to make crossword creation easier: hit up thrift stores and garage sales for old Scrabble games. Use a Scrabble board and four or five sets of letter tiles to construct your crossword - that way it's easy to try things out and scrap them if they are not working. For me, at least, the hands-on of the board and tiles really helps it all come together.
Posted by: dg_dave

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Jun 17 2014 07:47 AM

I would have never thought of something like that, agony, but it is such a great idea!
Posted by: kyleisalive

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Jun 17 2014 02:49 PM

What I used to do was print a grid off Excel and fill it in with pencil, only transferring it on when the clues were all laid out.
Posted by: spanishliz

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Jun 17 2014 03:07 PM

My usual method is to use graph paper and word lists.
Posted by: kaddarsgirl

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Jun 17 2014 03:59 PM

Originally Posted By: spanishliz
My usual method is to use graph paper and word lists.


That's how I did my first (and only) one.
Posted by: ElusiveDream

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Tue Jun 17 2014 11:31 PM

I've tried using an on-line crossword maker. I'll have another go at that and see what I can do.
Posted by: LoveAnimals555

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Fri Jan 23 2015 11:36 AM

How many quizzes an author must have to be eligible for quiz making?
Posted by: Buddy1

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Fri Jan 23 2015 12:05 PM

The first post on this thread says there is no set limit. That still holds true.
Posted by: LoveAnimals555

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Fri Jan 23 2015 12:49 PM

Oh.... I mean How many quizzes an author must have to be eligible for making crosswords?
Posted by: Buddy1

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Fri Jan 23 2015 01:25 PM

Believe it or not, I read it as you intended it to be--"for making crosswords". The answer's the same though.
Posted by: portgleep

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Wed Mar 25 2015 08:40 PM

I've written 11 quizzes, but I'm really more interested in writing single questions in the future. Will I be given the ability to create crosswords from writing singles? I've created crosswords in the past for a small online publication/newspaper project I occasionally participate in, so I have the experience necessary.
Posted by: kyleisalive

Re: Crossword FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu Mar 26 2015 08:33 AM

Likely, no. The crossword ability is primarily granted based on requirements fulfilled through quiz submissions and track records built in the queue.

Past experience may help with knowledge of crosswords, but our site's guidelines for them may differ I. A number of ways. As such, we like to make sure authors are fully prepared before diving in.