Most high-quality crossword puzzles have titles on them -- the Daily Beast puzzles have them of course, as do the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and USA Today crosswords. The glaring exception is the New York Times, which uses titles only on its Sunday puzzles, but that could potentially change at some point in the future.Titles are just too useful and fun to leave them off forever.
So, what is a puzzle writer trying to convey with a title? As with a novel or a movie, it should be an amuse-bouche that's intriguing enough to whet your appetite for the solve. It doesn't have to be laugh-out-loud funny, but a little humor doesn't hurt. And finally, a good title can give you a hint at the theme, but not one so obvious that it ruins the fun; normally, a good title's meaning will only be clear after you're done solving.
My favorite title from last week's puzzles was "Kicking King" for Tuesday's Diego Maradona tribute, which has a funny echo to the theme while being a suitable description of the late soccer star. Other fun recent titles include "People Person" on Nov. 22, where you don't realize that "People" here is the name of the magazine until after you solve it; "Shore Story" from Nov. 12, playing on the term "short story"; and the goofy "Puns Batted In" on Oct. 25 with its puns on the two World Series teams' names.
Seen a title you like, on our puzzles or elsewhere? Tweet it to #beastxword and we'll all have a laugh.
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