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    Does anyone else get the impression that many word solutions appear over and over in many of the puzzles, with differently worded clues? As if there is a database of words from which to construct the puzzles?

    I have been solving these acrostics for a while now, and they’re easier than they used to be because of this repetition. Not every clue, not every time, but it happens a lot. Of course, now that I’ve said it, I can’t think of an example, but when I do I’ll post again.

  • #2
    Yes I have found this as well, sometimes the same clue/answer too!


    • #3
      There are a lot of repeated clues/answers in this system.


      • #4
        It's the same with the NYT crossword. Answers like EMU and ELI come up frequently. Sometimes with the same clue, sometimes with different clues.
        For acrostics, I'm not sure if it's because they use a computer program to pick out answers from the available letters, or if it's because the person making the puzzle uses words that are on their mind. I assume that the answers are created first, and then good clues are chosen. A repeated clue/ answer combo could be caused by the use of a database of clues for given answers, or it could be because the puzzle maker thinks of the same clue. I bet they have a database of clues for given answers.


        • #5
          In crossword construction, those small, repeated words are called the “fill.” They are necessary to a grid of closely spaced, interlocking words. A clever constructor thinks up new and interesting clues for them.

          In my days of acrostic construction, I would not dream of reusing a word or phrase in more than one puzzle. Over the course of a couple of years, I probably created 20-30 puzzles. It was a hobby, a labor of love, that was time-consuming and meticulous.

          When I first joined this website in 2020, an upload of something like 20,000 puzzles was announced. I was pleased to know that I’d never run out of puzzles, but I don’t think that such a large number of puzzles were created by human hands and brains.

          I could be wrong. I’d love for Mr. Puzzle Baron to weigh in on this issue.


          • #6
            I think you’ve got it. I love the fact that your username is a complete sentence. “Pierre throws pots and pans around the kitchen. Christine dux.”


            • #7
              These puzzles are pretty obviously created/auto-generated with the aid of commercially-available crossword/acrostic-creation software like Crossword Compiler, which contains large databases of canned clues.
              Pretty much all puzzle creators use them these days for initial creation, then tweak clues by hand to put their imprint on them. In the case of the 20k upload christinedux mentioned, I imagine the hand tweaking was kept to a minimum.