I wanted this puzzle to have an Thin Lizzy/AC/DC-esque title, so I went with “Jailbreak.”
There are times that the obvious title of the puzzle might be a “punch line” entry in the grid. By “punch line” I mean entries where the gimmick might be explained. The Times does this a lot; probably because they don't have titles on the dailies. But, there are times wherein this convention is required to either make the symmetry work or beef up the number of thematic material. Fair enough. But in those instances where you have to do that and a title is required, I'm so tempted to call it something where I call attention to the "punch line." Title it “See 58-Across.” Course, nothing screams: “Don't bother solving this puzzle” more than calling it something like “See 58-Across.” Calling it that announces: “Crosswords are an arcane pastime only suitable for people who already speak the jargon, so move along, pesky kids, nothing for you to see here.”
I can think of a couple instances where I came up with a title first for the puzzle, then the theme. One was this puzzle. I thought "Spoiler Alerts" would be a great title, knowing how many solvers get vehemently angry when somebody tells them the answers before they figured it out themselves. Another one was the “Rube Goldberg Device” Sunday that ran in the Times. I had stumbled upon a couple of those ridiculous comics and I thought perhaps explaining one outrageous contraption (of my own creation) would make for a good theme.
I make a 13x puzzle for a couple of alt.weeklies, and some of the papers require titles. Fair enough. They pay, I comply. Thing is, a very large percentage of these 13xs are nothing more than themeless puzzles. There is nothing, and I mean nothing harder to do than to come up with exciting titles for themeless puzzles. “Lively Language.” “Cornering Ability.” “Open Season.” All of these titles scream "bland," when I hope that the work themselves say anything but that. (If any of you out there have any brilliant suggestions, let me know either by tweeting or in the comments section.)
I'm going to end this post with a brief off-topic announcement: if there are any people who aren't already aware that The Sun crossword is no longer going to run, I hate to say it, but, the Sun crosswords are no longer going to run. I had the pleasure of being involved with them for most of the seven years – even had their first Friday puzzle. It was called “Puzzle of the Week” wherein I crammed the abbreviations for the days of the week, in sequential order, rebus-style. The editor, Peter Gordon, put blood, sweat, and tears into them, always striving for freshness not only in the theme, but in the cluing. The puzzles were almost always top flight, genre-bending work, especially from Patrick Blindauer and Francis Heaney. (Surprise! All three of these gentlemen are behind the sterling Sterling puzzle books.) I strongly encourage those who have not already done so, to please purchase the puzzles for a measly $12.50 here. That's one night of drinking and believe me, it's worth it. Should Peter get enough subscribers, The Sun might pull a Lazarus routine and come back from the dead. Here's hoping.