Friday, August 02, 2013

Cryptic Playtime

Cryptic Crosswords
Part Nine
From dipping our toes into the waters of cryptic crosswords with the relatively simple 'double definition' style of clue we've arrived at the defiantly choppy seas of proper wordplay clues.

We have looked at the manipulation of letters in a source phrase to produce an answer, but true word play clues mix and match all kinds of techniques to hide a solution.

Wordplay clues are many and varied but they all follow the same general formula. It's easier to understand if we start with an answer and build the clue around it.


Now for a wordplay clue we want to break the word down into component parts, that we can then give clues for.

Butter Fly

We could clue 'Butter' as 'spread' which isn't bad but remember our rules about words ending 'er' a butter could be one who butts in, an 'interrupter' maybe a ram. For our purposes 'butter's going to be clued as 'fat'.

That's largely because I want to clue 'fly' as 'pilot' to give the phrase 'fat pilot', of course pilot in the clue is a noun, but should be read as a verb. 'to pilot' is 'to fly'.

Now we just need a nice aeronautical way to clue the whole word, 'butterfly' and I quite like 'twin wing'. This gives us the clue.

Fat pilot in twin-wing (9)

Now, let's tackle one in the proper direction, and see how we get on.

Aflame aloft, it's illuminating! (11)

So we have two charades, the clues to the parts of the answer, which we'll mark in blue. We also have a definition, which we'll mark in red.

Aflame, aloft, it's illuminating.

So we're looking for words which mean aflame. and aloft which, when combined in some order, make something that is illuminating.

Aloft is an easy one, as it doesn't have many synonyms - rather than try a whole set of them we can settle right now on 'high' as the word we want.

Aflame is trickier, because there's something missing from that clue, a space. What we want is a word which means 'a flame' and anything that's clued this way usually ends up being either a match or a lighter.

Of course the answer is staring you in the face now, highlighter, definitely illuminating.

Now,  keep these lessons at the forefront of your mind, as we won't be solving any clues in our grid today. Because, shock horror, there aren't any of these simple charade clues in there. No, what we have, and what we'll be tackling next time are complex charades.

Here's one more simple charade clue to keep your mind working.

Before after, after yellow and never changing. (9)

So until we have to find the source of the I-D10 T error in the next post. Keep Puzzling!

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