John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Crimes against cruciverbalism

I'm a couple of weeks behind on my puzzles, so I didn't see this shocking pair of clues and answers in the March 10 Los Angeles Times crossword until today:

  • 1-Across: [Badge bearer] = COP
  • 8-Down: [Cop] = OFFICER

No no no no no. You're not allowed to use the same word as a clue and as an answer!

Those are not the only crummy clues I've run across lately. This is from the February 28 Jonesin' puzzle:

  • 9-Down: ["Twilight" characters] = VAMPIRE

A plural clue for a singular answer? C'mon, Matt Jones, you know better than that!

But neither of those are as bad as a pair I saw in a Universal crossword I did a few weeks ago. I normally don't solve the Universal puzzle, because they're never very good, but I had happened to pick up a copy of The Daily Cardinal that day — I usually don't, because the crossword is so bad, and I can get all the same UW-Madison news and a good crossword in The Badger Herald — and I figured I may as well do the puzzle since I had it. My mistake. I would've been quite happy never seeing these:

  • 70-Across: [Homophone for "seize"] = SEES
  • 57-Down: [A no-win situation?] = LOSS

That first one is offensive in its banality and literalism. I mean, sure, it's accurate, but crossword creators should try to write creative clues. On the other hand, if the second one is what this particular creator considered creative, maybe literalism isn't so bad. A loss isn't a no-win situation; if you lost, someone had to win. That's what defines a loss. A no-win situation would be a TIE or a DRAW. Now, a clue that ends in a question mark isn't meant to be interpreted straightforwardly, but straightforward or not, that clue makes no sense for that answer.

Tags: crosswords, uw-madison

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