Saturday, 7 January 2012

Cryptic Crosswords – Solving hints #1






I thought I’d do a series explaining how some cryptic crossword clues are solved for anyone who has been curious about them but hasn’t known where to start.  I enjoy cryptic crosswords much more than the ordinary ones.  They are more ingenious and when you figure out the answer you can usually be sure that it is right.

For anyone in Auckland wanting to give them a go, the week day ones in the Herald are relatively straight forward whereas the Saturday one is much more challenging.

Some clues are solved by anagrams.  For example, the clue:
    Messed about, ace landed upset (3,1,5)

Here the clue to solution lies in the word “upset” which suggests a letter scramble or anagram.  Ingeniously “messed about” could also mean the same.  So looking at the clue you need to find a set of 9 letters that will be contiguous in the clue and can be scrambled to mean either messed about or upset.  “Ace landed” fits the bill. 
So the answer to the clue is “Led a dance”.

Put off already, are you??

Go on, just try another one:
    Salesman’s extremely lengthy answer

Here as with many clues the clue is in 2 distinct parts each of which leads you to the answer.  Here the split is between “answer” and the rest.

Another word for salesman is rep, the use of “extremely” here refers to the first and last letters of the word “lengthy” ie ly – put those together you have “reply” which means “answer”.  Bingo.

Ok that’s enough for this time.  Click here for the next post in the series.

24 comments:

  1. Cool post! I'm glad you invited me to peruse your blog.

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    1. thanks, Dan. I hope you enjoy the others in this first series. I am now doing a clue a day as well.

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  2. -Hi Carole

    How very special of you to email me with the link to your blog and I shall certainly read with interest your cryptic crossword suggestions as there are days when I absolutely struggle to get around to that way of thinking.

    I shall enjoy reading your entire blog.

    Thank you so much again.,
    Linda for The Pages of Avalon.

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  3. These look really interesting. I'll be back for more. I am now a follower of your blog. Thanks for the invite.

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  4. Thank you,too.
    Great to have you looking at my blog.

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  5. Interesting insights. I'd like to try one of these.
    Caroline

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    1. Glad you thought so. A warning - cryptic crosswords can be as addictive as sudoku! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Thanks for the invite to come and have a look here - I do love words and have always stayed clear of cryptic crosswords because they frustrate the heck out of me.
    I have a bit of reading to do here by the looks of it

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    1. I imagine they are frustrating until you click with some of the protocols, tricks etc the setters use. That's why I decided to try to make them accessible to people who would like to give them a go. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment.

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  8. Thanks for stepping by my blog and inviting me here, but even with your explanations, I am so clueless when it comes to applying to new problems. Just like mathmetics. ~.~

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    1. Hey just follow my litle series along for a bit. It might all click into place. The puzzles are then real fun! Thanks for taking the time to comment

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  9. Thank you for visiting my blog and for the invitation to yours. These look quite intriguing, though I have never been very successful with crosswords.

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    1. thank you for taking the time to comment. Enjoy the word play.

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  10. Thank you for visiting my blog. Cyrptic Crosswords sound complicated but are probably really fun once you understand them.

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  11. Thank you for inviting me to look at your lovely blog. I enjoy battling with cryptic crosswords. Battling being the right word lol It does make my head hurt and this series of posts will help me so much! I am now a follower.

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    1. Glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting

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  12. Thanks for commenting on my design blog, I love using word play in my graphic design.

    See also my Alphabetiquotes:
    http://www.paperacrobat.blogspot.com/2012/02/alphabetiquotes.html?m=0

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  13. Whoa, whoa, if you're trying to proselytize about the joy of cryptic crosswords, you're starting off WAY too fast, especially with that second clue!

    All of the explanations of cryptic crosswords I've read start off with the basic clue types one at a time (anagrams, charades, containers, homophones, etc.), and then go on to explain how the types can be combined, and how cues like "extremely" or "at first" can indicate specific letters (like "extremely lengthy" = the extremes of "lengthy", LY). Tossing that REP+LY clue at a first-time reader is like trying to teach chess by explaining castling and en passant before you've even explaining the normal way that pawns, rooks, and kings move.

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    1. Sorry - didn't mean to push your buttons! Guess you won't be back!

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Your comments are most welcome. Cheers