On Crossword CrueltyA book of crossword puzzles some friends had given me last Christmas, Will Shortz's Greatest Hits, recently turned up after I had originally misplaced it. So I've been trying to work my way through some at the beginning. "Trying" is particularly apt, as that is how I find many of the puzzles to be. For years I've made the foolish assumption that there were certain unstated rules to crossword puzzles, such as each block gets only one letter, or the number of blocks indicates the number of letters. Oh, how mistaken I have been! One puzzle required the solver to put the word "house" into various spots. Another had several two-letter combinations and one of three letters. In other words, you can spin around and around without realizing that it's impossible to find a four letter synonym for "whim" that will fit into the puzzle because you actually want the six-letter "notion."
And so I have decided, at least in theory, to plot my revenge by releasing what I think would be an incredibly cruel crossword. There would be only one word clues, and each clue would have at least one synonym with the same number of letters. But the answer to each clue would be the clue word itself. People would at least spend five minutes tearing at their hair, wondering why things wouldn't fit together. Of course, one would have to publish this anonymously.