Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wordplay

I made an acrostic yesterday! If you're like me from three days ago and don't know what an acrostic is, this is what an acrostic is. And if you want to do an acrostic, here.

It actually wasn't that difficult, as all you really need to do is take a long quote and basically just do a word scramble with it. Also, towards the end, you have to have a willingness to accept things like "Rye Gun" as an answer.

Which leads me to my point. In acrostics, much like in crossword puzzles, a head-shakingly witty clue is often posed with a question mark at the end. For example:

Down
45 Low suit?

This sort of clue would have an answer like "SCUBA." Get it? Cuz you're thinking it has to do with cards, but it's actually a suit you wear underwater. Low suit. Maybe that one's not clear, since I made it up, but you get the general idea.

Anyway, I propose a new type of clue, one that ends in an exclamation point. The exclamation point, instead of indicating a smirk-inducing pun would indicate a forehead-slapping stretch. For example:

Across
16 Bread bazoooka!

This would of course be "Rye Gun." There's no real way you can get this without some letters given. But it would retroactively make sense. In fact, it would retroactively make a LOT of sense, if rye gun were any kind of commonly accepted phrase. That's the trade-off for the ! clue; it's such a stretch to begin with, and is coming from such a non-intuitive realm that, given that, you've gotta try to make it as easy as possible.

Here's another one I almost used:

Down
33 Misspelled nut pack, for your winformation!

This would be "Kult FYW." Get it? Of course you don't. But sometimes you just need a mulligan, cuz writing these puzzles is hards.

Said the guy who only tried to write one ever.

5 comments:

christopher said...

Last week's New York magazine had an article about Will Shortz which included his favorite clue ever:

It might turn into a different story

(Answer: spiral staircase)

Nate said...

The word for what you're describing is a "cryptic."

The word that describes a poem where the first letter of each line spells something if you put them together is "acrostic"

The word that describes me is "pedantic."

Geoffrey said...

Not to say that my acrostic isn't cryptic, but an acrostic is also a puzzle where the first letter in the clues, when put together, form a phrase of some sort. And mine does!

NAte said...

I apologize. I was just going by what the word actually means most often, without really looking up to see if it had other uses but apparently, it is also used to describe that kind of puzzle. I guess I'm not a pedantic, tiresome person after all.

NAte said...

And I was going by the fact that crossword puzzles made entirely of that kind of clue are called "cryptics" or "cryptic crosswords."