The word on crossword clues
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The opera of the era is on the stereo in your area.
That sentence might not ring poetic, but we offer it free of charge to crossword dabblers who may want to keep it in mind. That's because it contains the most common crossword puzzle answers of three, four, five and six letters -- at least when it comes to puzzles published by Penny Press, producer of specialty puzzle magazines.
Salami, by the way, is second-most common in the six-letter category. Seems kinda eerie (second place for five-letter words).
The inside information comes from Penny Press editorial director Christine Begley, who said the most common words are vowel-heavy for a reason.
"Crossword puzzle crafters need words to fill those awkward spots," she said, "and words with a lot of vowels, such as area, aria, opera and stereo, typically fit the bill.
"They aren't necessarily common in normal conversation, but they're definitely nuggets that avid crossword solvers should file away for future use."
If you're looking for a way to put this new knowledge to work (and we can't vouch for its applicability to, say, The New York Times puzzles), Penny Press and its sister company, Dell Magazines, publish 17 crossword magazines each year, ranging from $1.79 to $3.99. They're at local newsstands, and online at www.pennypress.com and www.dellmagazines.com.
-- Sally Kalson,
Post-Gazette staff writer
First Published November 28, 2007 12:00 am