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.
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:
In order to keep it simple, we settled on just a few 'rules':
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 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).
We've created crossword for several other artists, including Genesis, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Bowie, U2, Depeche Mode.
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.
Let us know your favourite artist and we'll have a go at creating a crossword design of their studio albums!