Tina wrote: ↑Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:59 pm
A while ago, I wrote a list of tips to help in solving metas. I meant to share it and get other people's input on it, but I never got around to it. Anyway, here it is:
1. Look at the THEME ENTRIES.
Do they have SOMETHING IN COMMON?
Can the entries (or part of the entries) be ANAGRAMMED to something?
Do the INITIAL LETTERS mean anything? Do they spell out a word? Do they suggest something like airport codes, state abbreviations, or chemical element symbols?
What about the FIRST FEW LETTERS of each entry?
Do the FINAL LETTERS or MIDDLE LETTERS mean anything?
Are there SYNONYMS or ANTONYMS that are important?
RHYMES, PUNS, SIMILES, or other FIGURES OF SPEECH or WORDPLAY?
Can a word PRECEDE OR FOLLOW the entries?
Can a PREFIX or SUFFIX be added to all the entries? Or can any letters be added anywhere?
Do the entries SUGGEST something, like a three-word acronym, a number, a person, etc?
Are the theme entries HOMOPHONES or HOMONYMS of something?
Look at the LETTERS in the words. Is there anything interesting, like double letters?
Are there HIDDEN WORDS inside the entries?
Anything hidden BACKWARDS in the entries?
Look at the entries that INTERSECT the theme entries.
Can you CHANGE ONE LETTER to make another word or name?
2. Look at the GRID ITSELF.
Is the grid UNUSUALLY LARGE?
Is the grid an UNUSUAL SHAPE?
Check the DISTRIBUTION OF LETTER FREQUENCY. Are some letters missing? Are there more rare letters than usual?
Is there an unusual amount of DOUBLE LETTERS?
Are some LETTERS CONCENTRATED in a certain area?
Anything unusual about the LENGTHS OF THE ENTRIES?
Are there any DIAGONAL words?
Can you form any SHAPES in the grid with certain letters?
Any interesting JUXTAPOSITIONS of letters?
Anything significant about the BLACK SPACES?
Any words hidden in STAIR-STEP or BOGGLE fashion?
3. Look at the CLUES
Anything interesting about the WORDS IN THE CLUES? For example, lots of proper names, acronyms, dates, place names?
Is anything WEIRDLY CLUED?
Are some clues UNUSUALLY LONG?
Do some clues contain EXTRANEOUS INFORMATION?
Do the FIRST LETTERS of the clues spell anything?
Are the BLANKS, QUOTES, or PARENTHESES important?
Are the NUMBERS OF THE CLUES significant?
Could the definitions apply to MORE THAN ONE GRID ENTRY?
4. Look at the NON-THEME GRID ENTRIES
Anything that relates to the theme?
Can any words be extended beyond the grid?
Any interesting word intersections?
5. Other things to think about:
– Constructors often use ROMAN NUMERALS, GREEK LETTERS, AIRPORT CODES, ATOMIC NUMBERS and SYMBOLS, STATE ABBREVIATIONS,
– Sometimes a square is a REBUS, occupied by a symbol or more than one letter.