Default: 314006
Default with Spaces: 88725

Transposal (10): “My inhumanity is sickening!!” / Belief that advocates strong government control of money supply

* * *

BFIVE (40)

I hadn’t made any notes previously in my scoring guide file about this sort of entry, so I slapped on a 40. I’m okay having it in Default if it low priority. The crossword from which the entry was pulled clued it as a bingo call, though it could be clue as a Battleship call or as the vitamin also known as pantothenic acid. On the subject of game plays as crossword entries, I had this thought recently: if an editor would allow the entry OOX as {Losing tic-tac-toe row) then why not EEQ as {Phony Scrabble play}?


In the wake of the current U.S. scandal involving surveillance of cellphone calls made by European allies, it didn’t take the Germans long to come up with a sesquipedalian term to describe the practice. I considered using this as a seed for a 16×16, but I already used GEMUTLICHKEIT in a crossword a while back. When I saw the term in this week’s news, I recognized HANDY as the German word for cellphone, which I learned from a QI episode; the relevant clip appears below.


I’ve started becoming conscious of this phrase being used more and more so I decided to add it to Default. When trying to research is use on Google, I was amused to find that articles monitoring its use took a meta approach to the phrase’s popularity: Is “Is that a thing?” a thing? Yes, It’s a thing!” I also added ISTHISATHING and ITSATHING.





Default: 313420
Default with Spaces: 87127

Transposal (9): Singer featured on Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” / Sweet French wines

I’m getting used to a new process in which I add space-and-case entries to Default with Spaces, convert the additions to all-caps, check the additions against Default for transposals, and then incorporate the additions into Default. The lists of entries that I am working on fall into “new” and “revision” categories. My current revision lists include a set of about 1,000 duplication entries from Patrick’s database that encountered a scoring glitch and the final set of ten-letter entries from Default (I’m in the Ms). My new lists consist of entries from published puzzles and things I jot down on the Notepad during the day, though I also have some entries from other constructors that I will pore through soon, and eventually I will cull though the Ginsberg list and Wikipedia headwords. I’m posting today about some Notepad additions.

* * *


Along with the other changes of Autofill Project 2.0, I’m now adding entries with Arabic numerals. I’m mainly interested in the value of these entries in Default with Spaces, i.e. as searchable data for specialty themes or variety word puzzles. Editors and solvers have varying attitudes about the themeless inclusion of a number in a crossword puzzle, but it will be a while before I have enough viable entries to incur that possibility.


One of the caveats that Patrick mentioned about space-and-case list formatting (I think he said this right after “don’t feed word entries after midnight”) is not to use curved apostrophes. Apparently, CCWIN recognizes straight apostrophes as ignorable punctuation and will read a word list entry such as “can’t” as CANT for filling purposes. If the apostrophe is curved, if will read the entry as the five-character CAN’T. Also, CCWIN’s command for removing all punctuation from a list does affect curved apostrophes (the program doesn’t recognize them as punctuation). So I need to be careful about the text editing programs I use for intermediary word-list work. Notepads are fine and I turned off smart quotes/apostrophes in Google Docs, but sometimes a curved apostrophe creeps in if I use, say, Microsoft Word (I don’t want to turn off smart quotes/apostrophes in Word because of style requirements for other work projects).


Since I add Notepad entries pulled from articles I read on newsfeeds, my additions feature a fair share of economic terms.


In the past I blogged about the neologism PHABLET. I claimed that the term would not retain popularity, despite the usefulness of its meaning (phone + tablet), because it is unattractive both visually and acoustically. THROUPLE, referring to a polyamorous relationship of three individuals, is a similarly useful, ugly word. But I did see PHABLET in a news article just this week, so we’ll see if THROUPLE can make it work.



Project Update

Since my last post, I took some time to think about the future of the Project and how I want to organize my database work once the ten-letter entries are complete. I visited Patrick Berry in Georgia and spent a few afternoons in “debasing” discussions (as described by Patrick’s brother Stephen). We exchanges ideas and word data, and I left the South with renewed enthusiasm about the Project.

I have started a Default with Spaces word list, which will contain words and phrases in mixed case and with spacing. The new list will be used as a word searching tool but not for crossword filling. I will continue to use Default for that purpose.  The Default with Spaces formatting will be the standard for word additions going forward, and new entries will also be converted to all-cap/no-space formatting for inclusion in the Default list (the format conversion is a simple process within Crossword Compiler). Default with Spaces will be a scored list with scores mapped to Default, though I can imagine that discrepancies will emerge over time.

Default with Spaces entries will contain hyphens, apostrophes, and slashes, but no other punctuation. The list will contain equivalent entries, or “heteronyms” in NPL parlance, with variations in case, spacing or punctuation, e.g. “makeup,” “make up,” and “make-up” or “alkaline” and “Al Kaline.” The equivalent entries may have different fill scores. These variations won’t be valuable for crossword filling and I don’t plan to obsess over additions or score spreads of entries representing the same sets of letters. The choices regarding punctuation and equivalent entries are based on Patrick’s space-and-case word list. He was generous enough to give me a head start with Default with Spaces by creating an intersecting set of our two lists with his formatting and my fill scores. The set comprises 93,000 entries or about a third of the usable content of Default!

The new word list means that I have a new dimension to the maintenance aspect of the Project. Some Default entries require score adjustment, some require format adjustment, and some require both. But I’ve decided that after the final section of ten-letter entries has been added to Default I will concentrate my efforts on adding new entries to the databases. Grooming current entries will become a lower-priority sideline and not be the subject of blog posts. It’s time to pursue more harvesting of published puzzles and list-sharing with fellow constructors; my recent exchange with Mark Diehl provided me with a great list of new words and phrases to include. And I’m still happy to post the occasional Unthemely crossword puzzle when I have the chance to put one together.

I expect a slow start with the Project’s new directions due to a string of work commitments over the next few weeks and some initial debugging of the seed list of 93,000 words. But by Thanksgiving, I should be on a even keel, and I’ll have new entries to blog about between now and then.


Default – 336885 Words
New 10L 79S  complete


I have one more set of ten-letter entries to review: New 10L 29S. The list contains just under 25,000 entries, mostly junk. I’ve read through the list and cursorily chosen about 1600 entries for possible promotion. The remaining entries will be deleted from Default (with a fill score of 29 they weren’t being used anyway). If anyone is interested in looking at the deleted entries, I’ll gladly send you a file.

So the revised New 10L 29S will be 1600 entries. After that, I have a few options: working with Patrick Berry on creating an alias Default list with case and spacing, reviewing the 37s (British spellings), reviewing the 10s (breakfast test failers), going back to clean up entries in the 5s and 6s, or moving forward to the 11s. I’m open to suggestions.

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Ginsberg lists a few instances of ISINFORIT. I imagine that I added the past tense when I reviewed one of those grids.  I apparently didn’t add any other inflections, but when I consider AREINFORIT, WEREINFORIT, and BEINGINFORIT, I struggle to find the verbal phrase as legitimate. The entry ISINTO is similarly problematic. I have been guilty of using ISINTO in the past, but I’m going to mark it for removal.



This term for a small model house for children comes from the similar house that the Lost Boys build for Wendy in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. When I looked up the definition and origin, I recalled a stage production a Peter Pan that I saw as a child and the scene where a small house was constructed in Neverland, but I had no idea that the term had been adapted by the Brits for the garden (i.e. backyard) variety. Interesting.


This is 11C, though WINTRIEST is more commonly used.


And the plural is WUNDERKINDER.


I was at the Sprouts market last weekend and decided to buy some candy to bring into the office. I noticed that the candy kiosk near the bulk bins included plastic tubs of Zagnut bars labeled as “Zagnuts”; apparently the store couldn’t come up with a generic name so they used the Hershey brand. In any case, I opted for chocolate-covered caramel cashews with sea salt. My co-workers approved.


This had been sitting in my seed list for about a year; I added it around the time that Colorado’s Prop 64 passed. The neologism is inferable but I still forewent a cutesy clue and opted for something straightforward. Denver’s recreational budtenders should become established in January, though Aurora is postponing the adoption of weed bars for at least the first half of 2014.