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Rock Music Crosswords - Custom Discography Crosswords For Your Favourite Band Or Musician

October 09, 2021 4 min read

Rock Music Crossword Prints

Rock Music Crosswords - Custom Discography Crosswords For Your Favourite Band Or Musician

Can you make a crossword out of the discography of a classic rock band or famous musician? It's a question that a lot of people haven't asked. But we did ask it. And once you've asked it, you can't un-ask it. There doesn't seem to be any obvious reason why you can't make a crossword out of a discography.

So, we gave it a try.

Music Crosswords - Why?

Why would you want to make a music crossword? What would be the point? Good question. For us, there are potentially three rather nice things about a discography displayed in crossword form:

  • It's not obvious. A passing glance at a discography crossword print wouldn't reveal what it was. You have to get up close and deliberately look at it to realise what it is. Not being obvious is appealing in itself; there's something attractive about things presented in unusual ways.
  • A music crossword is a unique way to celebrate your favourite band or musician - it's a way to show your support that isn't quite as 'loud' as a band poster on your wall. It's the equivalent of an embroidered logo on a sweatshirt that you wear occasionally rather than a faded album cover on a faded T-shirt that you wear all the time.
  • It's informative - as well as the band and the album titles, the crossword format means you can show other information as well. We chose to show album release dates. Sometimes you'll be surprised at how close together (or how far apart) different albums from the same band were released.

Music Crossword Rules

In order to keep it simple, we settled on just a few 'rules':

  • use a traditional black and white crossword style with clues, like the ones you see in newspapers
  • each crossword has to show the full title and release date of every studio album the band or musician
  • each crossword should print at size A4 so that you can read it without the aid of a powerful magnifying glass
  • that's it!

The First Crossword Problem (And The First Solution)

After looking at the lists of albums released by one or two different artists, it became obvious that one of the big limitations of crosswords was going to be a big headache. The limitation is that if you have a very long word in the crossword, you end up with a huge crossword grid with lots of empty space and very tiny words that you can hardly read.

For example The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a very long title. It also has a full stop and an apostrophe, neither of which look very good on crosswords (they break up the design too much).

Well, the punctuation is easy to deal with: we ignore it. But even so, the album title is still 35 characters long. When we create custom crosswords for customers using their words, we advise keeping the length of the longest answer to 12 characters or less.

Let's try another band. Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is 30 characters long. Still way too long. I won't even mention David Bowie's The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

Clearly this crossword idea wasn't going to work without a solution to the long-album-title problem.

Luckily the solution was pretty obvious.

Crosswords consist of two main parts: the answers in the grid and the clues below the grid. So it you can't fit the whole album title in the grid, you chop it in half and put some of it in the clue below.

This has the positive side effect of making the crossword more interesting to the viewer: it moves their eyes around the crossword as they mentally join up the answer with the clue. And while they're doing that, they'll notice that the clue also contains another piece of information: the album's release date.

The Second Crossword Problem (No Solution!)

The second limitation of a crossword is that you have a fixed set of answers to fit together.

If you're compiling a crossword for a newspaper, you have a bit of leeway: you can make the crossword look more attractive by adding or subtracting or substituting some of the words. You can fill in the blank spaces.

When you're working from a fixed list of album titles, you can't do this. You have to work with what you've got. That's why some of our crosswords are more successful than others (we'll let you be the judge of how successful, or otherwise, they are).

The Beatles studio albums crossword

R.E.M. studio albums crossword print

We've created crossword for several other artists, including Genesis, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Bowie, U2, Depeche Mode.

See all the music crosswords here.

A Special Mention For Pet Shop Boys

When we looked at the album titles for all the many albums by Pet Shop boys, we were impressed by their consistency. Every album they've released (from 1986 to 2020) has just one word in the title. No other band or artist that we've yet come across has done this. It's great for creating crosswords from! So we created a multicoloured crossword without clues just for Pet Shop Boys albums.

Pet Shop Boys studio albums crossword

Who's Your Favourite Artist?

Let us know your favourite artist and we'll have a go at creating a crossword design of their studio albums!

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