April 20, 2006

What activates the punning lobe?

Which words seem to push crossword constructors to extract puns from their fevered brains? There's no shortage of punny clues for EDITOR. In addition to Manny Nosowsky's "Post office worker?" we've seen these clues alluding to the Post:

Post operative? / Post position? / Post master?

And Time is more amenable to puns than Newsweek, as are the other vague noun-named magazines:

Wheel of Fortune?
Time keeper? / Time worker
People person?
Money manager? / Money changer? / One who works for Money
One who changes Life sentences / One who makes Life-changing decisions?
Person who is Self-employed?

The best ones, of course, don't make it obvious that the publication's title is just that, by obscuring its capitalization (placing the word first or including it in a known uppercase phrase, as in "Wheel of Fortune?"). The best clues also let the solvers' minds carry them away in the wrong direction (as in Manny's misleading "Post office worker?" and Byron Walden's devilishly game show–inflected "Wheel of Fortune?").

EDIT has some similar types of clues, and adds the wonderful "Polish writing?" / "Polish film, e.g." / "Polish literature, maybe." And EDITED has "Did work for New York."

What other words seem especially amenable (or should I say vulnerable?) to the pun approach in cluing? I'm sure there are oodles of them, but I'm drawing a blank on what they might be.

And can you think of a great clue for EDITOR that tops these?