Thursday, August 21, 2014

Prize Hindi Puzzle: Here's Our Winner

Your submissions for Hindi Cryptic Crossword 2 have been studied and sorted, and it's now time to reveal the solution and announce the winner.

The Solution

Hindi-Crossword-2-Solution

आर-पार

क्रमांक संकेत उत्तर टिप्पणी
1 ख़ुशी से भरपूर होने के लिए ज़रा मज़े के साथ आराम करना, बिना सर लगाए (3) मस्ताना Definition: ख़ुशी से भरपूर. Wordplay: म (from मज़े) + [सु]स्ताना (आराम करना, without its head)
3 नज़दीक लाने के लिए १३वीं मे इस का उपयोग करो (2) पास D&CD: नज़दीक, and a reference to bus pass.
4 मोहब्बत पाना है तो छोटा प्याला लो और रोना शुरू करो (2) प्यार Definition: मोहब्बत. Wordplay: प्या (shortened प्याला) + र (start of रोना)
5 सलमा की बनायी हुयी समस्या (3) मसला Definition: समस्या. Wordplay: (सलमा)*
7 इसे सुनो! ट्रक के पीछे ये दो (3) आवाज़ D&CD: इसे सुनो, and reference to "आवाज़ दो", popular slogan seen on the backside of trucks.
8 तमिल नाडु के सब से दक्षिणी शहर की लड़की (2) कन्या Definition: लड़की, from Kanyakumari
9 हाथी घूमे दुनिया (2) गज Definition: हाथी. Wordplay: जग (दुनिया) reversed
11 बुज़ुर्ग रिश्तेदार? नहीं, नहीं, नहीं! पहले नींद आ रही है (2,2) नाना नानी Definition: बुज़ुर्ग रिश्तेदार. Wordplay: Thrice ना + first letter of नींद
13 इश्क लड़ाने का समय आज नहीं - एक दिन पहले, या एक दिन बाद (2) कल Definition: समय आज नहीं - एक दिन पहले, या एक दिन बाद. Wordplay: hidden in "इश्क लड़ाने"
15 रास मे डूबा हुआ क्षत्रियों का सरताज हैवान बन जाता है (3) राक्षस Definition: हैवान. Wordplay: क्ष (first letter of क्षत्रियों) in रास
16,19 हम दोनों का, मगर अलग-अलग (2,2) तेरा मेरा CD
18 इतने ज़्यादा की आप हिसाब नहीं लगा पायेंगे (5) अनगिनत E
21 काश, बाबूजी न छुपाते अपना यौवन (3) शबाब Definition: यौवन. Wordplay: hidden in "काश, बाबूजी न"
22 जर्मनी में खो गया दिल (2) मन Definition: दिल. Wordplay: Hidden in जर्मनी
23 बर्बाद शौहर ने खाया एक फल (4) नाशपाती Definition: फल. Wordplay: नाश (बर्बाद) + पति (शौहर), around I (एक)
25 ठाकरे का लड़का (2) बाल DD; Definition 1 - reference to बाल ठाकरे, Definition 2 = boy.
26 शाम ढली, अब इसे जलाने का वक़्त है (2) शमा Definition: the whole clue. Wordplay: (शाम)*, with ढली = moulded in the cryptic reading.
28 विलायती वाहन के सामने आ, और देख सूरत (3) आकार Definition: सूरत. Wordplay: आ in front of कार (विलायती वाहन)
29 मास्टरशेफ़ के न्यायाधीश की अभिवृद्धि (3) विकास DD; Definition 1- reference to Vikas Khanna, Masterchef India judge.
31 नेहरू (पूर्व प्रधान मंत्री) का चेहरा (2) रूप Definition: चेहरा. Wordplay: Hidden in "नेहरू (पूर्व प्रधान मंत्री"
32 घोड़ा अश्विन के क़ब्ज़े में है (2) अश्व Definition: घोड़ा. Wordplay: Hidden in अश्विन
33 शुरू-शुरू में दीपक वाणी के पीछे नहीं था पागल (3) दीवाना Definition: पागल. Wordplay: दी,वा (starting letters of दीपक, वाणी) + ना (नहीं)

नीचे की ओर

क्रमांक संकेत उत्तर टिप्पणी
1 चुटकुला जिसे थोड़ा पहले ही रोकने से आनंद मिलता है (3) मज़ाक Definition: चुटकुला. The word मज़ाक, when cut short, gives मज़ा (आनंद)
2 आप के परिचय का शब्द, ज़रा ना मत कहिये (2) नाम Definition: आप के परिचय का शब्द. Wordplay: Hidden in "ना मत कहिये"
3 शेरपा लालटेन लाया तो भीतर ठंडी मिली (2) पाला Definition: ठंडी. Wordplay: found inside "शेरपा लालटेन लाया"
4 वक़्त रोते-रोते काटना पड़ेगा अगर आप काटेंगे इसे (2) प्याज़ CD
6 प्रियतमा के लिए श्रृंगार करना (3) सजना DD
7 कब लेना है मेरे दिल की सलामी? जब पाना है क्या, खोना है क्या (2,1,2) आज की रात DD; Definitions from songs: 1 from this one, 2 from this one.
10 समाधान जो खेती में उपयोग किया जा सकता है (2) हल DD
12 सेब का ये करना, शायद विज्ञान के महत्वपूर्ण सिद्धांत की प्रेरणा? (2,3) नीचे गिरना CD; reference to this incident
13 वादे के जोड़ीदार। … सच्ची ! (3) कसमे DD; from "कसमे-वादे" and the colloquial interjection kasme.
14 शादी के पहले छुपाई जाने वाली चीज़ें (2) जूते CD; Reference to the shoe-hiding tradition in weddings.
17 राकेश यान में, हर दूसरा खोने के बाद, पाता है घर का सामान (3) राशन Definition: घर का सामान. Wordplay: drop alternate letters of "राकेश यान"
18 इस समय यह चुनावी नारे में कहा गया (2,1,2) अब की बार DD; "इस समय" and the slogan from the recent elections.
20 छोटा गांधी और छोटा ग्रह (2) राहु Definition: ग्रह. Wordplay: RAHUL (छोटा गांधी) made shorter to give RAHU.
22 शराबखाने में वो मिले जिसका नाम मीठा है (2) मधु Definition: जिसका नाम मीठा है. Wordplay: found in मधुशाला
24 पुरानी भाषा का प्रयोग होता है नगर-प्रशासन में (3) पालिका Definition: … का प्रयोग होता है नगर-प्रशासन में . Wordplay: पालि (पुरानी भाषा) + का
27 जान लेना है क्या? मत पीटो (3) मारना Definition: जान लेना. Wordplay: मार + ना
28 शराफ़त से तुम पाप की शुरुआत नहीं करो (2) आप Definition: शराफ़त से तुम. Wordplay: पाप without its start
29 दुनिया से भरोसे की आस चली गयी (2) विश्व Definition: दुनिया. Wordplay: विश्वास - आस
30 दस दीदियों के बीच दसगुणा सालों का समूह? (2) सदी Definition: दस के दसगुणा सालों का समूह. Wordplay: Hidden in "दस दीदियों"

Your Answers, and The Winner

The general feedback is that this one was harder than the first Hindi crossword. 11A and 20D received praise. Many of you didn't get 1A, which goes to show that a cryptic clue with a large deletion component can be as elusive in Hindi as in English. It is also striking that, though आज की रात from Don (2006) ranks much higher in online search, solvers who sent in their entries wrote only of the Ram Or Shyam (1967) song.

Special mention for the solver who gave Hindi equivalent names to clue types. So CD is गुप्त परिभाषा, a hidden answer is दूरदर्शी निर्मित. Readers: Can you think of translations for the other clue types? Share them in the comments.

I hope that, even if you abandoned the puzzle mid-way, you enjoyed what you did solve!

Congrats to all of you who cracked (or almost cracked) the full puzzle:

Deepak Gopinath Laxman Rao
Mohsin Ahmed N Rengaswamy
Vasant Srinivasan Vinayak Rao Ekbote

Of the above, three 100% correct entries went in for the lucky draw:

Mohsin Ahmed
Vasant Srinivasan
Vinayak Rao Ekbote

We used a "3 Aces Algorithm" (so named as we have 3 winners, all aces) for the lucky draw. The video of the draw is below. [RSS/email subscribers: You may have to go to the blog for the video.]

The lucky winner among the three aces is Vasant Srinivasan. Congrats, Vasant! Please write to me to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone for taking part. I hope it was fun for you - it definitely was for me!

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Sixth Blog Birthday, and a Prize Hindi Puzzle

crosswordunclued-birthday-6 It's been six years since I wrote the first post on Crossword Unclued, a 7-step guide to cryptic crosswords for beginners. Blogging since then has an amazing, fun-filled journey. Thank you very much for reading and contributing to the blog.

One of the best side-effects of writing Crossword Unclued has been the creative, thoughtful and positively brilliant people it has brought into my life. One of them is Kishore Rao, who once again makes the daunting feat of setting a cryptic crossword in Hindi a reality. Kishore shared this Hindi crossword as a gift for Crossword Unclued on the birthday. Thanks a lot, Kishore.

I've been asked by him to claim co-authorship, for writing a few of the clues and for sundry contributions such as realizing, after the entire puzzle had been pruned and polished, that an interlocked letter needed the nasalization dot, thus causing a complete reworking of the grid.

Here is the finished Hindi cryptic crossword for your solving pleasure. Instructions for solving and sending in your answers are below the puzzle. And there's a prize to be won, too. 

hindi-cryptic-crossword2-grid

आर-पार

1  ख़ुशी से भरपूर होने के लिए ज़रा मज़े के साथ आराम करना, बिना सर लगाए  (3)     
3  नज़दीक लाने के लिए १३वीं मे इस का उपयोग करो (2)     
4  मोहब्बत पाना है तो छोटा प्याला लो और रोना शुरू करो (2)     
5  सलमा की बनायी हुयी समस्या (3)     
7  इसे सुनो! ट्रक के पीछे ये दो (3)     
8  तमिल नाडु के सब से दक्षिणी शहर की लड़की (2)     
9  हाथी घूमे दुनिया (2)     
11  बुज़ुर्ग रिश्तेदार? नहीं, नहीं, नहीं! पहले नींद आ रही है (2,2)     
13  इश्क लड़ाने का समय आज नहीं - एक दिन पहले, या एक दिन बाद (2)     
15  रास मे डूबा हुआ क्षत्रियों का सरताज हैवान बन जाता है (3)     
16,19  हम दोनों का, मगर अलग-अलग (2,2)     
18  इतने ज़्यादा की आप हिसाब नहीं लगा पायेंगे (5)     
21  काश, बाबूजी न छुपाते अपना यौवन (3)     
22  जर्मनी में खो गया दिल (2)      
23  बर्बाद शौहर ने खाया एक फल (4)     
25  ठाकरे का लड़का (2)     
26  शाम ढली, अब इसे जलाने का वक़्त है (2)     
28  विलायती वाहन के सामने आ, और देख सूरत (3)     
29  मास्टरशेफ़ के न्यायाधीश की अभिवृद्धि (3)     
31  नेहरू (पूर्व प्रधान मंत्री) का चेहरा (2)     
32  घोड़ा अश्विन के क़ब्ज़े में है (2)     
33  शुरू-शुरू में दीपक वाणी के पीछे नहीं था पागल (3)
 

नीचे की ओर

1  चुटकुला जिसे थोड़ा पहले ही रोकने से आनंद मिलता है (3)
2  आप के परिचय का शब्द, ज़रा ना मत कहिये (2)
3 शेरपा लालटेन लाया तो भीतर ठंडी मिली (2)
4  वक़्त रोते-रोते काटना पड़ेगा अगर आप काटेंगे इसे (2)
6  प्रियतमा के लिए श्रृंगार करना (3)
7  कब लेना है मेरे दिल की सलामी? जब पाना है क्या, खोना है क्या (2,1,2)
10  समाधान जो खेती में उपयोग किया जा सकता है (2)
12  सेब का ये करना, शायद विज्ञान के महत्वपूर्ण सिद्धांत की प्रेरणा? (2,3)
13  वादे के जोड़ीदार … सच्ची ! (3)
14  शादी के पहले छुपाई जाने वाली चीज़ें (2)
17  राकेश यान में, हर दूसरा खोने के बाद, पाता है घर का सामान (3)
18  इस समय यह चुनावी नारे में कहा गया (2,1,2)
20  छोटा गांधी और छोटा ग्रह (2)
22  शराबखाने में वो मिले जिसका नाम मीठा है (2)
24  पुरानी भाषा का प्रयोग होता है नगर-प्रशासन में (3)
27  जान लेना है क्या? मत पीटो (3)
28  शराफ़त से तुम पाप की शुरुआत नहीं करो (2)
29  दुनिया से भरोसे की आस चली गयी (2)
30  दस दीदियों के बीच दसगुणा सालों का समूह? (2)

PDF format available here.

Notes On The Crossword

  1. Word lengths are in syllables e.g. each of the words पहला, प्रथम, प्रदान will be enumerated as (3).
  2. Complex consonants go into a single cell e.g. वर्ग will be split into two cells, the first with , the second with र्ग.
  3. In wordplay, the matras may be treated independently of the letters e.g. राम may be anagrammed to give मार or मरा.

Solving Instructions

  1. Send in your completed entries to shuchi [at] crosswordunclued [dot] com, with the subject line "Hindi Cryptic Crossword 2 – Solution", latest by Thursday 14th August 2014.
  2. Entries should preferably be sent in this solution template – replace "Your Name" in the file name with your name. If not using the template, the solution should be legible and readable in a standard text or image reader. PNG, Excel, Word formats are all OK.
  3. Solution words should be in Devanagari script. [A tool like Quillpad can be used for typing in Hindi.]
  4. Entries should contain annotations for the answers. Any annotation format is all right – words or symbols, Hindi or English – as long as how you arrived at the answer is clear.

If you have any related questions, please post them in the comments section.

The Prize

The winner can choose any one of these prizes:

  • Flipkart gift voucher worth INR 1000
  • Amazon US gift card worth USD 15
  • Amazon UK gift card worth GBP 10

The solver with the maximum correct answers will win. In case of ties, the winner will be picked by a lucky draw.

The solution to the crossword and the winner's name will be announced in a follow-up post after 14th August 2014.

All the best, enjoy solving!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How do you spell Ximenean in Hindi?

This question came up while Kishore and I were working on our latest Hindi crossword (yes – coming up very soon on the blog!) I suggested a change to Kishore's 15a with the reason "The grammar isn't Ximenean", and he shot back "Try writing Ximenean in Hindi".

To write "Ximenean" in Hindi, one must know how to pronounce the word. Here was the snag: since I've only ever seen the word written, not used in conversation, I wasn't sure of the right way to say it aloud. So I turned to Google. The search brought me to a rec.puzzles.crosswords thread from 1999, in which someone had asked: How do you pronounce "Ximenean"?

The response from Peter Biddlecombe was:

If you were following proper Spanish principles then I think you would say something like "Himanayan".  I'd say "Zimanayan", and I think I have
heard others pronounce it this way. Using a 'Z' sound certainly seems to be the norm when saying 'Ximenes'.

Here's an audio clip that supports the "Himanayan" pronunciation.

Going by all the data above, "Ximenean" spelt in Hindi would be:

हिमेनेयन or ज़िमेनेयन

Or, since we are converting to Hindi anyway, shall we say हिमेनेज़वादी instead?

That would make the setters in the other camp इच्छास्वातंत्र्यवादी.

Have you used the word "Ximenean" in conversation? How do you pronounce it and how would you spell it in Hindi?

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Clues with Popular Website Names

website-clues This set of cryptic clues is themed around the names of popular blogs/websites. I wrote them for twitter originally, but after seeing the positive response to the first clue, decided to post them on the blog for a wider audience.

If you don't follow these websites, no problem – the references are only on the surface, you can still work out the wordplay to solve the clues. And I hope the post will introduce you to some interesting non-crossword links to subscribe to :-)

cracked.com: One that leads with sarcasm (7) M_____G

Let's Put Da: Back to good shape (5) A____

Heavyweight captivated by Digital Inspiration (3)

Techcrunch following Top Gear, or possibly Lethal Weapon? (7) H____E_

Any clues on the same theme you can think of? Please share in the comments section.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Writing Easy Clues is not Easy: A Behind-The-Scenes Report

easy-crossword-clues [Last week, Anax posted this delightful clue on twitter:

    It should ensure dental health in the future (also in the past) (10)

The answer, as you've probably worked out, is TOOTHPASTE: TOO (also) + TH(PAST)E. With its explanatory definition and undisguised wordplay, the clue is the kind that'd get solved at sight by a seasoned solver.

So the clue is easy, but it is no less elegant for that. Look at the way the cryptic elements come together in an expressive surface, how the phrases "in the future" and "in the past" balance each other.

It is not easy to write an easy clue, says Anax. Read on for more from him on the topic. – Shuchi]

Much has been written (or at least I've banged on about it myself often enough) about the common novice setter mistake of equating 'hard' to 'good' when it comes to clue-writing, but it's rather hard to explain how a good easy clue should be written.

Anagrams and hidden answers are usually a logical place to start, but most commercial outlets set limits on the number of each which is permitted in a single puzzle and, in any case, clever use of wordplay indicators can make even the most obvious clue deceptively tricky. For me there are two elements/approaches to easy clue-writing:

  1. When breaking the answer down into components – charade, container etc – going with the first idea that jumps out.
  2. Not disguising everything. A part of the answer may be AND, OR, IN, HAS etc; there's no harm in presenting these elements exactly as they are.

We might also consider brevity and/or using only the simplest of wordplay indicators, but these have their own pitfalls. A brief clue isn't necessarily easy and, while simple wordplay indicators are fine, the results can be rather crosswordy.

The TOOTHPASTE clue, I admit, didn't have anything to do with the first approach. After thinking of less obvious things that could be applied with a brush, I'd honed in on TOOTHPASTE and spotted THE SOAP, wondering if it might form the basis of a nice anagram clue. It didn't, so I started looking at other ways to break it down, and at that point TOO + TH(PAST)E was the first candidate. I hadn't imagined keeping both THE and PAST exactly as they appear in the answer, but 'in the past' is such a stock phrase it felt daft to attempt any disguise. The result is an almost shockingly easy clue, but it feels right. You could probably come up with a far better definition, but the wordplay is about as natural as you can get. And, of course, 3 wordplay elements plus container indicator totalling only 3 more letters than the answer is a bonus for fans of concision.

Over the past couple of years, many solvers who used to feel let down by easy puzzles have come to appreciate how much skill is involved in writing them. In terms of what devices you can use and how intricate your clue-writing can be, it's a bit like a cricketer going to the crease with a half-size bat. When I mentioned to Shuchi the idea of an article about easy clues she asked if I could get a few together; after a full day of trying to match the simplicity of the TOOTHPASTE clue I came up with nothing.

Setters such as Roger Squires, Don Manley and, to an extent, John Halpern, employ this skill day in day out, and I envy them.

As I've mentioned at the end I completely failed to write any clues as simple as the TOOTHPASTE one, which shows just how hard it is!

[Thanks for the write-up, Anax. A few good easy clues for you all to savour:

By Rufus: Found bliss intermingled with hate (9)
By Sankalak: An extremely small measure — not grams, silly! (8)
By Afrit: This can be read just as it is, so you needn't do so! (8)

- Shuchi]

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