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Ask Marilyn: Why Do Newspapers Print Puzzle Answers Upside-Down?
Len Smith of Camano Island, Washington, writes:
Marilyn: Why is it that in magazines and newspapers, the answers to quizzes are mostly printed upside down? You do this, but you have not always done it. When I see this, I think that they (you, for example) must think the readers (me, for example) are really stupid. Thank you.
The decision to print answers right-side up versus upside down is editorial, not my own. Regardless, the editors know that either way, many readers will dislike the decision. Why? When answers are printed right-side up, readers write to complain that they just can't help seeing the answer before realizing they should have stopped reading. And when answers are printed upside down, readers write to say they just hate turning the magazine over, especially if they have to go back and forth for a quiz of several parts. They find this irksome and sometimes briefly disorienting.
That said, if the decision were mine, I would print the answers right-side up, but not close to the quiz. Yet even that often is not possible for space or design reasons! So printing answers upside down all the time is consistent, at least.
Thank you for being polite enough to thank me even though you think I think you're really stupid, which I don't, of course!
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