Monday, July 29, 2013

Putting Things In Order

Cryptic Crosswords
Part Eight
It's time to revisit our first steps in the world of wordplay and discover the solutions to our previous eight challenging clues. This will take us beyond the halfway point of our first cryptic crossword.

If you don't want to drop in halfway through then check out the very first post on Cryptic Crosswords there's also a printable grid that you can play along with.

We started out in Any Which Way? looking at anagram clues and back-words clues. These clues focussed on the manipulation of a whole source phrase to generate the answer to a given definition. In contrast our second post of the pair Starting and Switching examined source phrases in a new way, picking out specific letters to help generate the answer to the definition.

Here are the solutions to the eight clues we have looked at in the last two posts.

52. One Small Step


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

Here the indicator words are 'starts with' and we're looking for an answer to the definition 'Game show'. The indicator phrase is of course indicating an initial letters clue, and if we take the initial letters of the last five words; we get the word chase, which is a gameshow on ITV.

23. Get bored of confused rituals. (5)

Our indicator word here is 'confused' which is telling us that an anagram is present, but it's not quite so simple. First you need to solve the clue 'rituals' to give the five letters needed for the solution. The word you are looking for is 'rites' which, when 'confused' give a new five letter word 'tires' perfect as a solution for this clue.


1. Hold crockery up. (4)

A short sweet clue in which each part works to a common theme, unfortunately the theme has nothing to do with the answer so let's break it down. Looking at the clue in detail we see that 'up' is our indicator word, and since it 's in a 'down' clue it's acting as a stand in for the indicator 'backwards'.

It's crockery that we need to be backwards here, and if we need four letters then 'pots' must be the resolved source phrase. Then we just need to flip it around to get 'stop', to stop something is to hold it up, so suddenly the whole clue becomes the definition. Watch out for clues where this happens, different parts of the clue can often play multiple roles.

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

Here's an initial letters clue; oddly we're not looking for a word that means organisation, just an example of one. The source phrase gives NASA as a perfectly good answer, if one that subverts the actual meaning of the source phrase a little. 

3. Alternate help disc is incredible. (4)

Alternate is our indicator word here and it's telling us loud and clear that we need to take alternating letters from our source phrase. I cant think of another word for help disc so that's probably the source, we need a word to fit the definition 'is incredible'. Our choices are 'hlds' which is pretty, but not entirely meaningless or 'epic' which is an epic solution indeed.

6. Exist but turn bad. (4)

Another back-words clue here, indicated by the words 'but turn'. To exist, for flora and fauna at least, is to 'live' and every puzzler knows that live, spelled backwards, is 'evil' a particularly emphatic word for 'bad'.

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

This clue isn't about the bear, despite the capital letter. 'Beginning', should be standing out as an indicator word and given the choice of definition 'to impart knowledge' seems the more likely. Especially when the source phrase offers up 'edify' from it's initial letters. 

20. Reverse pain with loving figure (4)

Finally a bit of a tough one, it's clearly a back-words clue and 'pain' seems likely as the definition which needs to be reversed, but there are so many words for pain to choose from. The 'loving figure' is a better path to walk down as it should quickly throw up 'Eros', the god of love, a loving figure if ever there was one. Of course he'e also 'sore' written in reverse. A backwards route through a back-words clue.

So your crossword grid should now look like this, if it doesn't then you've gone wrong somewhere and ought to check your, or possibly my working. 

We're well over halfway through, and as you can see many of the remaining clues have a good few letters filled in. 

Eight Across and Nineteen Down should be standing out as clues you could fill in without ever seeing the clue. 

However, we're crossworders in training and it's important to solve each clue properly - so no short cuts. 

Next time there's be a whole heap of new wordplay clues to get to grips with as we draw ever closer to not having to solve crosswords any more. Unless you're enjoying this of course, in which case, we'll be looking at crosswords again very soon!

Until then, keep on puzzling. 

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