Friday, November 15, 2013

Just Plain Cryptic

Cryptic Crosswords
Part Fifteen
So we have been looking at cryptic crosswords for some considerable time without actually solving any cryptic crossword clues. I see the furrowed brow and look of confusion you are pointing in my direction; but I stand by that statement.

The final type of clue we will be looking at in this crossword is the pure cryptic. The most cryptic of all cryptic crossword clues.

Do you remember when we looked at riddles, it may have been a while ago but right now you need to bring those skills to the fore. Pure cryptic clues are; essentially, riddles. They use misdirection and definitions in very similar ways to riddles and they are often the most artfully written type of clue.

We have already looked at one of these pure cryptic clues in our very first post on crosswords.

Gibberish from Holland repeatedly? (6, 5)

First the indicator word; well symbol, you see pure cryptic clues usually end with a question mark. It is indicating that this is a pun, a play on words, and that should make it great fun to solve. Do be warned that not every clue with a question mark will be a pure cryptic, 'perhaps' and a question mark on the other hand is probably a sure thing.

Strictly speaking there is no real method to solving these clues, eventually you just see it, and it all falls into place. That doesn't mean that they are difficult however, as long as you recognise them for what they are you should have no trouble solving them. 

So let's take a look at our example, if you are from Holland you are Dutch. The word 'repeatedly' is crossword language for, just do that again. So we have Dutch, dutch, although that doesn't make a lot of sense. 

Perhaps you remember our very first video on the subject of crosswords. Here we clued 'definitions, definitions' as 'double definitions', and that's what we need to do here. Dutch, dutch, becomes double-dutch, which is another way of saying gibberish. 

Le Stage (5, 7)

Here's a cheeky little clue, it looks like the title of a magazine or blog about french theatre, but of course it isn't. If you actually translate the word stage from French, indicated by the 'le', you'll get the word course, so it's a course of French. That is to say that the answer is French Lessons. 

Shows the oak is king of the forrest? (5)

This one is about as purely cryptic as it gets. You need a symbol of king-hood that fits the sylvan overtones of the clue. The word you want is 'crown', which means the leafy part of a tree.

So here we go, the final two clues in our cryptic crossword adventure. Have a crack at them and see how quickly you spot the answers. Of course, you should have most of the letters in the answers already!

One Small Step

11. How the mouse gets around perhaps?

11. Religious men seek onion perhaps?

That's it, presuming you just solved those before reading on, you should now have a full grid. If you don't then you've missed something. There's a guide on the cryptic crosswords page as to which clues are filled in from which posts.

Next time I'll give you the answers to the three clues you should have unchecked. Until then, do keep puzzling.

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