Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Sounds Good

Cryptic Crosswords
Part Twelve

Today we’re looking at another variation on the Charades clue that occasionally crops up in Cryptic Crosswords; indeed there’s a single one hiding out in our master crossword grid.

The Sounds Like clue does exactly what it, ahem, sounds like. If gives a clue to a word, or part of a word; that sounds like the word you need. If all this sounds complicated don’t worry, as always we have plenty of examples.

Sounds like Bunny has style. (4)

We start off with an indicator phrase, 'Sounds like' which gives us the type of clue. We want something that ‘sounds like bunny’, and we’ll dispense with that misleading capital letter immediately. It also has to fir the definition ‘style’

Don’t forget however,  that we need to solve the clue ‘bunny’ first, to get the sound-alike word.

The word we want is ‘hare’ which of course sounds like ‘hair’. Hair generally has a particular style associated with it so 'hair' is our answer.

Sometimes the clue will only give a sound-alike for part of the final solution, the rest of the clue could be a charade, or even our old favourite the double-definition. Here’s another example of how these clues work.

I heard Stag contacted the barrow man to say goodbye. (4, 4)

First things first, our indicator words are ‘I heard’ and they are referencing ‘stag’, no need for that capital letter although they are needed elsewhere. The phrase ‘barrow man’ should of course be rendered as ‘Barrowman’ and suddenly things start to get a little clearer.

We have ‘sounds like a word which means stag’ then ‘Barrowman’ to give a phrase meaning to say goodbye. If ‘stag’ becomes deer, we can apply our 'sounds like' modifier to get dear. 

Barrowman on the other hand can become ‘John’ after the television personality and we get ‘Dear John’, a thoroughly awful way of saying goodbye.

Here’s an interesting variation on the theme.

3.14x, sounds puzzling. (7)

Now we’ve had a puzzle with 3.14 in it before in the Wandering Puzzler Show so that should be a breeze. It’s a rough approximation of the mathematical constant pi. The ‘sounds’ indicator word could be referring to pi as a tasty treat and therefore it should be 'pie. In fact in this case it is the 'x' that is being modified. Here, not an ‘ex’ but a ‘cross’.

Picross of course is a popular type of logic puzzle traditionally known as hanjii.

Keep an eye out for indicator words that give an impression of sound or hearing. These are almost always indicators of a sounds-like clue, either in whole or in part.

So, we’re nearly there, just a few more clues until will finally conquer our first Cryptic Crossword. Hopefully it will be the first of many, especially after all this work.

One Small Step


14. Take cover from sounds of the park. (4)

That’s it, just a single example but it might keep you busy for a little while. Next time we enter the bad lands, or should that be lad bands of the spoonerism.

Until then, please do keep puzzling.

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