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See also: Natick



Named after Natick, Massachusetts, used as an example of an obscure clue with, “Town at the eighth mile of the Boston Marathon”. The town is named after the local native word from the Natick people for “Place of Hills”.[1]

  1. ^ “John Eliot & the Praying Indians”, in (please provide the title of the work)[1], Natick Historical Society, accessed 19 August 2018, archived from the original on 21 March 2015


natick (plural naticks)

  1. An intersection of two obscure crossword puzzle clues.
    • 2008 July 6, Rex Parker, “("TREASURE ISLAND" ILLUSTRATOR, 1911 / TOWN AT THE EIGHTH MILE OF THE BOSTON MARATHON) - SUNDAY, Jul. 6, 2008 - Brendan Emmett Quigley”, in Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle:
      “The NATICK Principle. And here it is: If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names.”
    • 2017 January 8, Julia Franz, “Crossword puzzle-making tips from a pro at The New York Times”, in Studio 360, Public Radio International:
      “A crossword blogger by the name of Rex Parker critiqued one of my puzzles in The New York Times, where the illustrator 'N.C. Wyeth' crossed the Boston town 'Natick,'” Quigley explains. “[Parker] said, 'Who in their right mind is going to understand what's going to fit in that one square? It's totally unfair. From now on, this shall be known as the Natick Principle.'”
    • 2018 April 18, Caitlin Lovinger, “Let’s Change the Subject”, in The New York Times:
      “There were some tough proper nouns today (including a personal natick, included below) — BAYLOR, KRIS, RILKE, ILYA and DANA, among others. And I loved the clues for ESCAPEE, ONO, MYSELF, PANTS and FAT LADY.”

Usage notes[edit]

Originally coined as “Place of Hills” and later turned into a common noun.