Home » Autofill Project » AUTOFILL PROJECT: nerd out



Default: 362525
Default with Spaces: 146402

NOTES: I haven’t seen many films in the DC Comics or Marvel series but I recognize they do well at the box office and have an impact on the popular culture vocabulary. I don’t know what Ultron (55) means but it appears in an Avengers title and looks like useful crossword fill. I also have not seen any of the Fast and the Furious films but yesterday I caught the See You Again (70) video on VH1, which features a performance by Charlie Puth (50). One of my CrosSynergy colleagues called me out on my use of the entry eke by in a recent crossword draft. I had seen the phrase referenced in puzzles for decades and assumed it was a legitimate phrase, but it is not sanctioned by dictionaries and only shows up in a few articles, mainly sports commentaries, as a colloquial equivalent of “squeak by.” I rescored all forms of the phrase to 35.


LISTS: Notable additions from the sharedoc include lightcycle (75), recapper (65)people skills (80), and veggie tray (80). I like the verbal phrase nerd out (55) though I gave it a conservative fill score based on Google hits. The phrase nerd out puts a positive spin on the once derogatory term taken from Dr. Seuss’s 1950 children’s book If I Ran the Zoo. The nerd pride movement has been generally successful in re-branding the word “nerd” as a compliment. I appreciate the broader clue options for the common crossword entry NERD, but I wonder how much I can exercise those options when designing a puzzle to be easy. A puzzle constructor catering to novice solvers not only has to use simple vocabulary but must lean toward familiar, dictionary-based clue approaches, and NERD skews negative in both Webster’s and Ginsberg. What do you think? Are Monday-level solvers ready for NERD clues such as {Devoted pop culture fan} and {Many a Silicon Valley mogul}?

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