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Latin crosswords

December 21, 2013, marked the 100th anniversary of the world’s first crossword puzzle, and Google even commemorated the event with a special doodle incorporating a solvable crossword. As as an avid cruciverbalist–a word derived from the Latin words for “cross” and “word”–I’ve often wondered if it’s possible to create a full, American-style crossword using only Latin words. There are websites and books that use crosswords to help Latin students practice vocabulary, which is a worthy enterprise, but their crosswords invariably have more black squares than white and certainly don’t adhere to core conventions of American crosswords: no unchecked letters and no words of fewer than three letters.

I can’t see any reason that a standard American crossword couldn’t be constructed from Latin words, especially given the freedom allowed by inflected endings, but unfortunately doing so exceeds my very limited abilities as a crossword constructor (in English or Latin). However, as a stepping stone, I’ve been creating some word squares. Unlike the famous sator square, I prefer those having different words across and down because they’re more fun to solve and more challenging to construct. Here’s a 4×4 example:
1 Across: I sing [also the third word of the Aeneid]
2 Across: He arose
3 Across: I gave
4 Across: Little horned owl
1 Down: Tail end
2 Down: You are parched
3 Down: Nest (gen. sing.)
4 Down: Ease (abl. sing.)

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