New York Times Crosswords

To what Extent do word lists help Crosswords constructors?

A deeper dive into The New York Times Crossword, we can only suppose that lake ERIE is the most astonishing body of water on the planet earth whereas mining ORE is the most rewarding business venture. ERIE, as stated in xwordinfo.com, is ranked the third most common word with over 1350 appearances. While ORE, according to the same reference, with being used over 1200 times, it is ranked the seventh.

ORE and ERIE are one of the most popular crosswords that are rarely used in daily conversation. However, they appear frequently in crossword puzzles. Their regular co- appearance is due to their extreme usefulness in the construction of crossword. Indeed, it is easier to fill the tricky corners or ending stacks with such an alternating pattern that goes vowel-consonant-vowel-consonant.

New Crosswords lists revelations :

The emergence of the internet has revolutionized all aspects of our lives, including crossword constructors’ way of creating their puzzles. So, they started using software such as Crossword Express. These programs suggested a new  tool that fills in the empty spots of a crossword puzzle automatically. This autofill option made the job of a constructor much easier than before, which made finding someone who still uses the old way really hard.

The majority of the construction programs are provided with different options. Once a person opens the program, he can find ready-to-use word lists,or simply he can tap a new one. The program even enables its users to upload lists from the internet. Some lists are available for free where their size ranges between hundred to several hundred thousand entries. TheseLists, can’t be no more than a huge boon in paving the way for crossword instructors, especially the fresh ones.

Scoring words plays an important role in how often a software could use it. And as every Pinter may favor one brush over another, every crossword maker has his own method in choosing how he would score his words list.Having high scores enhance the chances for words to be used by the system.Word lists imported from the internet weigh more than those of published puzzles. For that, ORE and ERIE, as an example of crosswords, seems to be used more often.

Sacrifices made before publishing NYT crosswords:

Making a crossword puzzle, for some constructors, is an art. Furthermore, creating a puzzle by downloading a word list from the internet can’t be enough. The way a person would use that list is what makes a piece of art. For that, certain skill and feedback is the base needed to do so.

Some constructors schedule some time especially to sharpen their word list scores. Amanda Rafkin, a games editor at Andrews McMeel Universal, said that sometimes she devoted up to two or three hours a day  just to  rescore the  words in her word list.

Matt Ginsberg, a publisher of 50 puzzles in the New York Times, claimed that he used an algorithm of machine learning in scoring his word lists and that he dived regularly in websites and online dictionaries looking for words to put in his list. Yet, he  stated  that in doing so, sometimes he feels like his  puzzle becomes more ”synthetic” than it is supposed to be and this ignites flames of jealousy in his heart from constructors who used their proper language. A Good lesson acquired

Tough choice facing Crosswords Constructors:

Crossword puzzle makers are very picky when choosing words for their collection. KateHawkins, one of the best crossword constructors once said; “There are a lot of rivers, and I don’t know them all, even if they have a lot of good letters in them. If I would be displeased to see it in a puzzle, I would take it out. If I think it’s offensive, I take it out.

Ms. Hawkins describes the words she prefers to pick for her list as “utility language”. She thinks of the signs and instructions of the world around us, and all the word and phrases that are “ubiquitous” because they are not in a word list, asinspiry resources. The phrase LANE CLOSED, in one of her puzzles as she claimed was inspired from a road sign.

Some editors seems to refuse a whole puzzle because of a single word, for that once a constructor has a glimpse of thought or feeling about it, he just remove it. Ross Trudeau a publisher of 40 puzzles in new York times,  claimed that editors are most likely to choose long word lists and for that the constructors works seems to be almost the same.

The carefulness in creating Crosswords:

In the world of crosswords, as Mr. Trudeau said “Any new three-, four- or five-letter word is gold”. New expressions will definitely bring an extra weight into the game. Indeed, they are more likely to reveal some interesting subjects.

Filling the grids of crossword puzzles requires a kind of meticulousness. Sam Ezersky, a constructor and a digital puzzle editor, said that once he is stuck in a puzzle, he starts using the kind of answers which make AC TO DC or ATOMIC GAS. Such phrases are not usually used in a word list. However, with some cleverness, it could turn out to create a smooth fill. Actually, editors like him enjoy being put in such situations and they even look for moments where they can test how meticulous they are.

Enrichening a word list through diversifying it, is one of the main interests of constructors. As matter of fact, they seek to find some helpful resources. Erica Hsiung Wojcik, a Skidmore College professor and a crossword constructor created an Expanded Crossword Name Database to enhance some words representation.

Ms.wojick thought that her database included plain words for a puzzle, but it turned out that they are not as obvious as they seemed to be. The ERHU for example, a double-stringed Chinese musical instrument, forming a crossword, has never taken place in the NYT crossword. While ED ASNER, an American actor known for his role Lou Grant on The MaryTylerMoore show  has over 40 appearances and his last name has appeared 151 time in the NYT crosswords.

Resources :

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/06/crosswords/wordlists-for-constructing-puzzles.html

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