Monday, April 29, 2013

Starting and Switching

Cryptic Crosswords
Part Seven

Today we're still exploring the exciting world of wordplay in two new types of cryptic crossword clue. As we continue to add more skills to our arsenal it's important to remember that crossword clues aren't usually presented in this fashion, normally of course the clues are all mixed up.

Don't panic, I haven't forgotten the answers to our last post, we'll be looking at them along with the answers to todays clues soon.

In this post were exploring two very similar types of clue, the initials clue, and the alternating letters clue. Let's get started by looking at our first example of an initial letters clue.

Talker initially puts hold on new enterprise. (5)

We know by now that the only way to solve a cryptic clue is by breaking it down into its constituent parts and identifying which parts are giving what information.

Talker initially puts hold on new enterprise.

So that's one definition, one indicator word and a source phrase; the indicator couldn't be any clearer in this instance, it is telling us to look at the initial letters of the source phrase.

puts hold on new enterprise

That gives us 'phone' which is a decent solution to the definition 'talker'. Here's another example to show how it all works.

Pessimistic at first he always looks for exits, must prefer to yield. (4, 5)

Another two word answer clued with an Initial clue, this time this indicator word comes with a partner and becomes the phrase 'at first', once we've found that, and worked out that the definition must be 'pessimistic', we should easily find the answer.

he always looks for exits, must prefer to yield

The answer of course is 'half empty', a good description for a pessimistic kind of a guy.

We have another type of clue to look at today which is a shade more difficult to solve, and usually a whole heap more difficult to spot. Let's look at an example.

Friendly animal is alternately upbeat. (3)

So, what are we looking at here, what cryptic nightmares are hidden within these words? Well, what we're looking at here is an alternating letters clue. Actually, the structure is nothing we aren't used to.

Friendly animal is alternately upbeat. (3)

So we have a definition, indicator and source, the indicator is teling us to look at every other letter in the  source phrase; to find an answer.

U, B, A is one possible solution for every other letter and is plainly nonsense, the alternative is P, E, T; so the answer to this clue is pet, since it answers the definition 'friendly animal', of course these aren't particularly tough clues to solve, the challenge is in the spotting of them.

Get money, even from repairing. (4)

Here we have a similar clue but this time we are being spared the decision of which set of alternative letters to choose. We need the even letters, that is letters 2, 4, 6 and 8. This gives us the answer 'earn', which is certainly a way to 'get money'.

Right, tool bags packed are you ready to go? Four more clues to fill in on our master grid.

One Small Step


4. Game show starts with cheerful host answering studio enquiries. (5)


2. Organisation was initially not as scientifically adept. (4)

3. Alternate help disc is incredible. (4)

10. Every day I find Yogi beginning to impart knowledge. (5)

Good luck with those, and until next time. Keep Puzzling!

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