welcome to the world of crossword puzzles
From the perspective of the arts, Electricka insists, crossword puzzles are exercises in the language arts;
therefore they are the province of
The Muse Of Language Arts, who presents these pages in conjunction with Electricka
and her cohort muses.
Together, they explore the world of crossword puzzle games and gamers.
ETAF has been approached by Electricka's muses, who have asked us to publish the
following two statements:
a personal message from the muse of
To achieve high standards of quality, Electricka has
relinquished control over this feature and ceded responsibility for
handling crossword puzzle topics to me, The Muse Of Language Arts. Truth
is, plain and simple, she
wasn't up to the task herself.
I want it known that the exploration of the
world of crossword puzzles you
are about to undertake comes to you by my good graces and from my pen
a personal message from Electricka,
muse of the worldWide web©
Electricka, Muse of the WorldWide Web©, freely admit that I asked
The Muse Of Language Arts
to help with this feature. I did it because crosswords are language games
and she's a specialist in
the language arts. Makes sense, doesn't it?
I may have ceded crossword puzzles to The Muse Of Language Arts, but I want it known
to all that for now and forever forward I exercise editorial control
over everything found on these pages.
Furthermore, I am in full control of the world of gaming (which includes
the world of crosswords), crossword puzzle tournaments, and Electricka's
arts crossword puzzles themselves. If you don't believe me, visit my other
Explore arts tournaments, including crossword puzzle
tournaments, at Electricka's page called Tournaments & Contests:
Explore the world of arts games and gaming at
Electricka's page called the World Of Arts Games And Gaming:
Solve arts puzzles,
including crossword puzzles, at Electricka's page called Welcome To Arts
about this feature—A Game That's
What could persuade Electricka to relinquish control over this feature to a cohort muse? Why
is the world of crossword puzzles under the purview of a muse whose subject
The world of crossword puzzles is a sub-world of the world of games. The re are many
other sub-worlds in the world of games, but the world of crossword puzzles is one
that is especially relevant to the arts. Why? Because crosswords is a game that
borders on being an art.
Which side of the border between art and non-art crossword puzzles belong
on, The Muse leaves up to others to debate.
about the world of crossword puzzles—past,
present, and future
Citizens of the World Of Crossword Puzzles
consist principally of four kinds of people—those who play (solve)
crossword puzzles and those who construct, edit, and
publish them. Constructors, editors, and
publishers exist to produce puzzles, which they distribute to solvers, who
There's a considerable amount of crossover between producers and
consumers; that is, constructors, editors, and some publishers are also
solvers. theyget into the game because they enjoy it. A competent
constructor will always carefully edit his own material before submitting it
to other editors or publishers; and some constructors edit and publish their
So far, none of this should surprise you; it's a run-of-the-mill subject,
isn't it? But there's considerably more to this world
and this game than meets the eye.
The World Of Crossword Puzzles can be explored from these points of view:
- The game itself
- Tournament play
- The future
for and about solvers
A player is a person or thing, such as a computer, that plays crossword puzzles. Players are also called
solvers because they try to find or work
out the answer to or explanation for puzzle clues (sometimes called questions). The Muse prefers
to call players solvers because solving a puzzle is the player's immediate
At the pages called For And About Solvers, The Muse offers
information and help to solvers.
- Explore the solver's world at The Muse Of Language Arts' feature called For And About
Solvers: click here.
Solve a Crossword puzzle now
Electricka and her muses offer you a number of arts-related crossword puzzles
to solve online at your computer. Some have been constructed by visitors to
Electricka's web site, others by ETAF Staff. All are original. Electricka
also offers you a collection other kinds of art-related puzzles and
different kinds of games to play online.
- Electricka's arts puzzles are located at her page called Welcome To
- You'll find a selection of other kinds of games to play and other
diversions by visiting Electricka's page called Arts Games And Other
Diversions: click here.
Publish your original arts-related puzzle or quiz
Electricka hopes that everyone interested in games, from art devotees to
neophytes, will create an original arts-related puzzle or quiz;
she encourages them to submit their games for
publication in these pages.
To encourage visitors to publish their original
arts-related puzzles and quizzes, Electricka
has declared the Arts Puzzles feature and the Arts Quizzes feature ByLine features.
Electricka suggests that you explore the guidelines for these features now.
- Submit your arts-related puzzle now at the page called Guidelines For ByLine
- Submit your arts-related quiz now at the page called
Guidelines For ByLine Contributors—Arts Quizzes:
For more information about this and other ByLine features, visit
the ByLine page at this web site:
- Click the words About ByLines in the
ByLine image at the right side of this page or
for and about constructors, editors, and publishers
A constructor is a person or thing (such as a computer) who designs and builds
An editor is a person who edits the work of constructors and makes
them ready for publication. A publisher is a person or agency
responsible for preparing, distributing, or selling edited puzzles.
At the pages called For And About Constructors, Editors, and
Publishers, The Muse offers solvers information aimed at helping them
understand the role of each of these groups and the impact they have on
the puzzle and the solver.
- Explore constructors and editors at The Muse Of Language Arts' feature called For
And About Constructors, Editors, and Publishers:
Although crossword puzzles are played by many, only a relatively few have
had a major identifiable impact on their evolution; only a few have shaped
crossword puzzle design or construction, the way the game is played, or the sub-cultural
community at large.
Certain kinds of personalities seem to be professionally
attracted to the field or to seek notoriety as amateurs. Many have
flourished and performed brilliantly in multiple roles,
as constructors, editors, or publishers; all
have been solvers.
- Explore the backgrounds of individuals who are or have been
brilliant solvers as well as constructors, editors, and publishers. Visit
Muse Of Language Arts' feature called For And About Constructors, Editors, And Publishers. Look
for the section called Prominent Personalities:
the american crossword puzzle tournament
Perhaps the most prominent and interesting of all crossword puzzle
the U.S. is the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, founded in 1978. It
has met every year since then, plenty if time to develop into a subculture
of the world of crossword puzzles in its own right.
- Explore crossword puzzle competition at Electricka's feature on
arts-games tournaments; visit page
called The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament:
wordplay, the movie
Wordplay is the title of a movie about crossword puzzles which
documents the 2005 competition of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
(see above, this page). It is one of only a few movies about crosswords and
the only documentary known to The Muse that offers a vivid peek into the
almost mystically intense subculture that is the world of the crossword puzzle
- Explore the world of crossword puzzle tournaments as documented in a film
about the American
Crossword Puzzle Tournament (see above). See a review of the movie
Wordplay at The Muse Of Film's page
called Movie Reviews - Wordplay:
the World of gaming
The World Of Crossword Puzzles is a macrocosm of the World Of Gaming. The World of Gaming encompasses the world of all games, not just crosswords.
What is a game? A game is an amusement or pastime, a competitive activity
involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who
play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for
that of spectators. Crosswords is an example of a game.
The World of crossword puzzles is large but the world of games as a whole
is much, much larger; it's gigantic. At the feature called the World Of Arts
Games And Gaming, Electricka explores this larger world. There, for the benefit of all game enthusiasts everywhere, Electricka
peeks through the window that looks out on the world of arts-related games
- Visit Electricka's feature called the World Of Arts Games And Gaming:
the world and culture of crossword puzzles
There's no shortage of books of crossword puzzles you can work but
there's a paucity of books about the world of crossword puzzles. Here are a
few noteworthy selections:
- The Crossword Obsession : The History and Lore of
the World's Most Popular Pastime, by Coral Amende. As the title states,
this book includes a history of the development of the crossword puzzle
and a description of its underworld. Filled with one
interview after another, many leaving the reader wondering about what was
said or why and asking himself, where's the beef? On the other hand,
interviews are filled with homey advice. As a consequence of the interview
approach, it rambles, is discursive, and it wanders from topic to topic,
but you get to know a little bit about a lot of people. Lots of crossword puzzles to work at the back,
but that's why you buy a book of crossword puzzles, not a book about crossword
puzzles. No index but a glossary. Lots of different kinds of lists and
references, resources, and other attachments including suggested reading,
acronyms, anagrams, biographies, web sites, contests and tournaments,
forums, constructor web sites, dictionaries and thesauri, foreign
languages, lyrics, merchandise, online puzzles, organizations, software,
and more. Despite of (or because of) its pros and cons, this book will introduce you to
many names and ideas
(albeit disconnected ones) and will get you started.
- Gridlock: Crossword Puzzles and the Mad Geniuses Who
- Crossworld: One Man's Journey into America's
Crossword Obsession, Marc Romano.
- Cruciverbalism: A Crossword Fanatic's Guide
to Life in the Grid, written by Stanley Newman,
a prominent constructor with inside connections, with writing assistance from
Intelligently written and full of pertinent facts. Detailed and readable
blow-by-blow style. Partly-first-hand
historic account of the evolution of the crossword, including the story of
how it got its name. Explains construction rules and how they came to be.
Insights on the proper role of style in construction. Covers prominent personalities well. Lots of suggestions for improving
play. Index. Worth a look.
Puzzles and solving aids
Besides books on the subject of puzzles, you can find a large
selection of crossword puzzle books on paper containing puzzles you can
work, printed crossword puzzle dictionaries, posters, and hand-held
electronic devices. Things change quickly in this market and there's a great
variety of different kinds of items to choose from. If you're seeking such
crossword paraphernalia, your best bet is to search the Internet:
Hand-held electronic devices come in three flavors: 1) dictionaries
containing words commonly appearing in puzzles, 2) game players that store
and present puzzles you can play on their screen, and 3) solvers that find
missing letters in an answer word.
constructing and solving Software
Crossword puzzle software for your desktop computer comes in three
flavors: 1) constructors that help you create puzzles, 2) game players
that store and present puzzles you can play, and 3) solvers that help
you solve problems. A given program can offer more than one flavor; for
example, a program that helps you construct may also let you play the
puzzles you have constructed.
For software construction, ETAF suggests that you investigate a program
called Crossword Compiler to see if it meets your needs.
Investigate Crossword Compiler at the Crossword Compiler web site.
At the same web site you'll find a crossword dictionary, grid filler, word
lists in multiple languages, and links to other crossword puzzle web
- Explore Crossword Compiler at the Crossword Compiler web
For help with solving crosswords, ETAF suggests that you investigate a program
called Crossword Maestro by Genius 2000.
- Explore Crossword Maestro at the Genius 2000 web site:
Wordplay, the movie
Some who have seen the move in theaters have reported live interaction
going on while the movie is underway, with members of the audience calling
out answers to puzzle clues before they're worked out on the screen and the
like. If this kind of falderal and the big screen turn you on, by all means
see the movie in a theater—if you can find it on
the circuit. Otherwise, the DVD is a better way to spend your time. It's
packed with entertaining and informative extras such as a commentary,
interviews with winners and filmmakers, and other bonus goodies.
There's nothing like a companion book to illuminate a movie and vice
versa. If The Muse's review of the movie
Wordplay interests you or if you see the movie Wordplay itself and
get turned on by it, you
may want to try exploring the movie's companion book called, Wordplay:
The Official Companion Book
by Will Shortz.
This book is the companion to the
movie. With it you can think inside the box! Solve puzzles from the
hit movie, learn to construct your own crosswords, and much more.