If you solve enough crosswords, you’re bound to encounter some words more often than others.
Maybe the word has grid-friendly letters or a letter pattern that facilitates editing. Maybe it’s an otherwise obscure item that crosswords have kept in the zeitgeist.
Or maybe it’s a just three-letter word with vowels on either end, be it a female sheep, a tavern drink, a mine find, or fury, and that corner just won’t be completed without one of them.
Some solvers find fault with those words, the constructors who use them, or the outlets that publish puzzles featuring them. Other solvers, however, find fun ways to acknowledge their ubiquity.
For instance, a reddit user under the handle “atleasttheresmusic” created a bingo card based on words that crop up regularly in The New York Times crossword:
Not only did they hit some classic examples of crosswordese, but they even managed to categorize their entries, highlighting crossword tropes like “short, poetic words” and the frequent use of abbreviations.
Between the bingo card itself and the many suggestions shared by fellow puzzlers in the comments, I couldn’t resist taking a crack at making a crossword bingo card of my own:
As you can see, I’ve also organized the columns by category; from left to right, there’s abbreviations, names, vowel-heavy words, 3-letter entries, and non-U.S. terminology.
I couldn’t fit every entry I wanted to — EKE/IKE fell by the wayside, as did EWER — but I managed to jam a fair amount of crosswordese and personal pet peeves onto the card. Plus, given how often ALEE and ALOE appear, they’re basically a free space in the center of the card.
So how did I do, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers? What words should I have included? Did the cleaner card created by “atleasttheresmusic” win out over mine, or did we both succeed in having some fun at the expense of crosswords?
And, most importantly, how quickly would you get BINGO if you used one of our cards? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.
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