Last week I collected some of my favorite examples of clever crossword cluing, hoping to highlight some marvelous wordplay along the way.
To do so, I called in the cavalry and recruited the help of a half-dozen or so fellow puzzlers. As the terrific, funny, and cunning clues poured in, some of them were accompanied by notes, indicating that one publisher or another had barred them from publication.
Some clues, no matter how funny or clever, are rejected by publishers who view them as inappropriate for public consumption.
I respectfully disagree. =)
Heck, I wrote an entire blog post about cluing last year that featured my favorite not-quite-appropriate-for-all-sensibilities clue.
So please enjoy some immensely clever clues that didn’t make the cut elsewhere.
New York Times Crossword contributor Ian Livengood considers this one of his favorite answer/clue combinations, and it’s a real treat. He offers “Group getting some air play?” as the clue for “MILE HIGH CLUB.”
Patti Varol, Los Angeles Times Crossword contributor, turned some heads with the clue “Car bomb?” for “EDSEL.”
Crossword fiend Doug Peterson, via Patti, shared another eye-popping clue: “I had ‘BUILDING’ in a Sun puzzle and Peter Gordon clued it as ‘Erection’. We agreed that that one is hilarious and unlikely to be used anywhere else.”
My chums from Penny Press came through as well, offering clues that caught the attention of The Powers That Be.
Puzzle editor Keith Yarbrough contributed two wonderfully wicked clues for common crossword fodder, offering “Public hanging” for “ART” and “Brest milk” for “LAIT.”
Crossword guru Eileen Saunders also lobbed two sharp examples of choice wordplay my way, offering “Hoe house?” for “SHED” and “Wombmates?” for “TWINS.”
But my favorite contribution was definitely the one offered by variety puzzler Leandro Galban: “Kindergarten snack?” for “PASTE.”
Not only did I laugh out loud at that clue, but there’s more. In the email accompanying the clue, Leandro said, “We received at least one letter questioning my sanity so you know it was a success.”
I’d like to thank my fellow puzzlers for some tremendous wordplay and a few hearty laughs today. Keep on pushing the envelope! You never know what clever clues they’ll conjure next.