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Crossword Submission Guidelines - Crosswords Club


Crossword Submission Guidelines - Crosswords Club

Crossword Construction

Dave Fisher

Crosswords Club Crossword Puzzles:

The Crosswords Club and the Uptown Puzzle Club seek sophisticated 21x21 puzzles with innovative themes and lively clues for its upscale membership. Difficulty levels are medium to difficult. Editor: Rich Norris.


Theme queries are encouraged, and receive priority in answering. Before constructing your puzzle, you may send your proposed title, theme entries and theme clues to the editor for review.

Puzzles must have appropriate title and blurb which should not use keywords found in the theme answers.

Things to avoid:

  • Overused themes (flowers, animals, etc.);
  • Repetition of the same word or rhyming words;
  • Wordplay where the theme answers are not otherwise related, or wordplay that is not consistently carried out;
  • Unusual or obscure words;
  • Themes or theme answers that require specialized knowledge to understand or appreciate.


  • Maximum number of entries is 144;
  • Non-theme clues should require general knowledge of contemporary culture (TV, books, pop music, sports, films, etc.), to be balanced with clues requiring general knowledge of traditional subjects (history, classical music, literature, etc.);
  • Most non-theme answers should consist of everyday words and phrases;
  • Clue common dictionary words in lively, original ways, such as with contemporary idioms (ex. "Chow down" for EAT);
  • Use some "extra-effort" clues that provide interesting information about commonly-used words;
  • Keep partial phrases to a minimum, too many may require a revision.
Always provide a parenthetical subsidiary clue for "fill-in-the-blanks" that are the names of song titles, books, films and the like, unless the work is extremely well known. "__ Rhythm" is OK, but add something like "(Clooney tune)" to "Botch-__."

Things to Avoid

  • Regional references (names of small towns, brand names that aren't nationally known)
  • References to death, disease, drugs, or sex;
  • Unusual or obscure words;
  • Repetition or near-repetition of non-theme words;
  • Crosswordese;
  • Combining forms and variant spellings;
  • Overloading the grid with names and know-it-or-not answers;
  • Overuse of single-word synonyms.

About Proper Names:

Use of the names of people and places enhances a puzzle, especially when the names are drawn from all over: TV, movies, literature, music, science, etc. A variety of names scattered about the grid can challenge solvers and help expand their knowledge base. Too many names in a puzzle, in our opinion, turn it into a trivia contest. Please avoid overuse of people's names, or any other material that falls under the either-you-know-it-or-you-don't category. If you have no choice but to use a difficult name or place, make sure it doesn't cross something equally difficult in the grid. Always reference tough names.


Be sure to include references for any answer whose source is not obvious, or an answer that is not easily looked up in a standard reference source.


Payment of $300 will be made in the month of publication; a copy of your puzzle as published will be mailed to you separately. Payment covers all rights in all media.

Where to Submit:

Preferred format is electronic (e-mail) submission using Crossword Compiler for Windows Version 6 or lower. Under File/Crossword Information, put your name in the Author field and your address and SS# in the Description field. Under Clue Properties, please check "right-aligned" and leave the "with period" box unchecked.

Puzzles may also be submitted in any format supported by CCW, which includes Crossdown and Across Lite text.

E-mail puzzle files to: xwordclub [AT] aol.com

Snail-mail submissions are also welcome. Put your title/name/address/SS# at the top. Format is then columnar: Clue #/Clue/Answer on each line, double-spaced. It isn't necessary to enclose a solving grid. Send such submissions to:

   Rich Norris
   15063 Miami Rd.
   Apple Valley, CA 92307

NOTE: Timely themes (for holidays, particular times of the year, etc.) are welcome, but should be sent at least six months ahead of time. Please note in your submission that seasonal material is enclosed.

Source: Cruciverb.com.


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