Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site


Now that this newspaper has its own weekly crossword puzzle, the following review of some of the gins1 that await the would-be solver may be helpful. The crossword puzzle world is a ( interlude2) (first 3). This is where the timid nene4 avoids the crowds at Waikiki (no problem: It's alate5, you know), and where on a summer night, thousands of fans turn out to cheer their favorite ennead6.

That's a sample of the weird wordage that clutters up those little squares. Communication problems are prized: Obscurity, not clarity, is the goal. Why call a spade a spade when you can say it's a card pip?

About these ads

Only in this arcane realm where lucidness has gone to the bowwows would anyone feed a dog orts7. Where else would you find an anoa8 munching on clipped Gramineae9 before the esne10 has had a chance to ted11 it?

Take care. Words of three and four letters may put you in a corner. Long words are easy. For example, once you get a certain 11-letter word as far as UGUAO12, you can probably guess the rest in a flash, but you may never get the drift of FIN13, because the definition is, in a manner of speaking, a white lie.

At least you won't find two-square words in many puzzles today. Time was when the ''ai,'' a three-toed sloth, was found in greater numbers in crossword puzzles than in its native forest habitat, but it has been chased out in favor of its two-toed relative, which has come out into the open in its four-square way, the ''unai.'' Be on your guard. It can show up in the most unlikely places.

Beware too of Roman numerals. Some puzzlemakers count on them when they can't figure another way out of a tight spot. A typical escape is ''1009 to Mark Antony.'' But numerals, including the Roman kind, aren't words. We puzzle solvers should protest this mix, which is typical of our tormentors' capital fun at our expense.

They'll try to confuse you in other ways. Consider the word ''oner,'' which they claim is the word for ''best of its kind.'' If you listen as well as look, you know this can't be so. A ''winner'' is best, a ''wonner'' is a has-been. Next thing you know they'll try to say a ''oner'' who became a ''wonner'' is a ''oncer.'' Should we put up with it?

Crossword puzzles can be educational, however, so some good may come from your efforts, especially if you make use of your enriched vocabulary of three- and four-letter words. I'm looking for a publisher who wants new words for ''Old MacDonald Had a Farm.'' I can give him the old name of Tokyo, an international language, and an oat tip: ''Edo, ido, awn.'' If MacDonald needs them, I can supply new bass notes for his farm, viz., a colorful fish, an amino acid, an Australian stone hatchet, an African republic, a horn, a Bantu language , a hoax. String them together and they beat time like this: ''Opah, dopa, mogo, togo, tuba, luba, bam!'' You may have even better ideas.

Cultural considerations to one side, look at the crossword puzzle as a showdown with the puzzlemaker, and make sure you get the right meaning across to him or her: Once you start, you won't give up until you've had the last word. Never admit the puzzlemaker got your ibex14 and made you Galliforme15 dele16 .Added Clues

About these ads

For old pros

1. Parts anagram

2. O'Neill play title word

3. Locus

4. Branta sandvicensis

5. Like L-1011?

6. Nonet, perhaps

7. Subcutaneous connective tissue, e.g.

8. Eastern quadruped

9. Whitman subject

10. Unemancipated of old

11. Oleo?

12. Radiantly fleeting

13. Crusty white area

14. Fall guy

15. Plymouth Rock

16. Gone

For beginners

1. Snares

2. Alien

3. Public square

4. Hawaiian goose

5. Winged

6. Group of nine

7. Table scraps

8. Celebes ox

9. Lawn

10. Serf (Old English)

11. Spread

12. Lightning stroke (fulguration)

13. Snow field (firn)

14. Goat

15. Hen

16. Proofreader's ''out''

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.