by Florence Moore

I stumbled onto this website a couple of weeks ago and, being a D-C solver of more years than I would like to say, was delighted…even more so, when I found that there was a link for ‘constructing’. I have had a real picnic, ants and all! I had always wondered "How’d They Do That?", i.e. make all the letters come out even. I have discovered that as a ‘newbie’ there are some rules of thumb and tips that will help keep the frustration level lower.

  1. Believe it when they advise 40% vowels (or even MORE)..less than that makes it far tougher and as a neophyte, it’s tough enough with that percentage.
  2. Try to keep first efforts at 15-18 letters in the acrostic (author and title), and a letter count in the quote of 120 to 150. Then the length of your average answer will be under 10.
  3. Carefully choose the author, work and quote in order to avoid a plethora of infrequently used consonants, e.g. z, x,q and even j and k. Edit the author’s name and book title to contain as many widely-used letters as possible without too many duplications.
  4. Be flexible…words may (and many WILL) have to be changed when you realize that you have blpfstk with which to make the last word! Don’t even be afraid to wipe it clean and start over..somehow the second time around is easier. Also, don’t fall so in love with a word (maybe because you have such a CLEVER clue for it) that you won’t change it. ANY word can be replaced if need be to make them come out right and you will probably come up with even more clever clues. Avoid any word (or clue) that might be offensive. Many people (especially those of use who live alone) use our puzzles as a mealtime companion, so avoid words that would not be suitable at table. (e.g. my own use of the word ‘retch’..would not have passed Sue’s ‘Breakfast table test")
  5. When you find yourself in a bind (and you WILL) and all else fails, do not hesitate to call upon our most accommodating host. Sue will offer suggestions that perhaps you should have seen, but frustration may have removed them from your mind.
  6. Last, but certainly not least, HAVE FUN! It has taken you away for a little while from the ‘have-to’-dos’ ,’need-to-do’s’ and ‘ought-to-do’s’ present in everyones’s everyday life and let you live totally in the moment of creation. Enjoy this little hiatus from the world.


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Page copyright January 14, 2005; Last modified: January 14, 2005