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August 20, 2005

Crosswordese and the Arts

I Googled “Crosswordese” the other day and was disappointed to find that this site was not the first to come up. What did come up was a poem by Tyler Hinman. You may remember Tyler from my March 19 posting, “A New Champion”. He's the 20-year-old phenom who won this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Well, he's also a poet. He's graciously granted me permission to re-print his poem here. (You'll recognize many of the words which have shown up as our “Word of the Day”. Many of the others will show up soon.)


A Poem

Our language is filled with thousands of words.
We learn but a handful of these.
But to truly succeed as a crossword solver,
You must learn your crosswordese.

It is true, on occasion, that you will be asked
To name a Celebes ox.
But if you have studied your puzzle lingo,
You'll put ANOA in your box.

To prove your worth among puzzledom's giants,
To claim your rightful turf,
To establish yourself as a puzzling whiz,
ESNE is a medieval serf.

Without doubt, the most popular cruciverbial bird
Would have to be the ERNE.
But just as necessary to a puzzler's success
Are MOA, EMU, and TERN.

Knowing a few of our lush planet's rivers
Will make you all the wiser,
For often appearing in the crossword grid
Are ODER, EBRO, and YSER*.

Simply stated, know the letters of Greek,
Like ETA, PHI, TAU, and RHO.
Just as simply, know a few Latin words,
Like AMAS, AMAT, and AMO.

Your complete knowledge of crosswording golfers,
Hopefully will not be too heavy.
Just know Ernie ELS and, of course, not forgetting
Senor Ballesteros, SEVE.

Similarly few are a puzzler's Dianas.
This category's not very big.
Another two names to add to your list:
Actresses DORS and RIGG.

Other celebrities frequent the grid,
And many more words as well.
Yet we puzzlemakers don't like crosswordese
Because it makes solving life hell.

*[No, this doesn't rhyme with "wiser". I was an idiot. Now I just see it as an amusing in-joke to those who actually know how to pronounce it.]

Tyler's web site can be found at:

Tyler isn't the only one to use “crosswordese” as a subject for artistic musings. The third search result at Yahoo yielded what I suspect is the first song ever written on the subject. Before I introduce it I should point out that this site ( was the first search result at Yahoo. I'm beginning to like Yahoo more and more.

Anyway, the song is titled “The Crosswordese Blues” written by Alan Arbesfeld. It was sung at that same tournament mentioned above. It's a participation song where the audience shouts out crosswordese gems on cue. I'm guessing Tyler was there leading the participation. Now, due to the wonders of the WWW, you too can participate. At the following link you'll be able to watch a video of the performance:

Thanks for stopping by. Please let me know what you think of the poetry, the music, or anything else at this site.

June 26, 2005 Alzheimer’s and Crossword Puzzles

May 26, 2005 Sudoku

May 1, 2005 Spell-check

April 16, 2005 Frequency

April 7, 2005 Keyhole

March 19, 2005 A New Champion

March 12, 2005 More Great Links

March 1, 2005 Chicken Strata ala King

February 23, 2005 Solution!

February 21, 2005 Letter Rip?

February 12, 2005 Spelling Bee

February 1, 2005 A 75th Anniversary

January 29, 2005 Video Google

January 22, 2005 Unexpected Pleasures

January 4, 2005 Invisible Ink

January 1, 2005 Let The Adventure Begin

Paul Stynsberg, © 2004