Thursday, September 25, 2014

Really Well Hidden Long Answers

telescopic-clue-type-long-answers Cryptic clues with hidden answers are perhaps the trickiest for the crossword setter to disguise. Since all the letters of the answer have to be given out to the solver, in the sequence expected, the clue can end up being too easy. And so, most often, setters reserve the use of this clue type for short words as they are more convenient to conceal in the clue.

Embedding long answers in a clue is quite a feat – the fodder tends to cut across multiple words but it has to be inconspicuous, the clue surface has to be meaningful, the hidden word indicator has to be fair without letting out instantly that the solution is stashed inside the clue.

Sharing some exceptional clues using the hidden clue type, in which long answers span across multiple words of the fodder.

Times 25538: Academic rose, condemning boxing in an instant (11)

THC 11161 (Buzzer): Burst and tore as one keeping fit (5,2,6)

Times 25900: Henceforth, ATM at terminal — at the centre, indeed  (3,4,6)

Guardian 25260 (Boatman): Railhead activity leads to accident — rain mention­ed in covering letters (11)

Guardian 26158 (Paul): Nevadan died in Montana, dog buried there (6,7)

Tim Moorey's How To Master The Times Crossword quotes this as possibly the longest hidden clue ever:

Times: As seen in jab, reach of pro miserably failing to meet expectations (6,2,7)

Related Posts:

If you wish to keep track of further articles on Crossword Unclued, you can subscribe to it in a reader via RSS Feed. You can also subscribe by email and have articles delivered to your inbox, or follow me on twitter to get notified of new links.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unlikely Movie Characters as Potential Crossword Setters

Unlikely Moviiew Characters as Potential Crossword Setters There are times when, while watching a movie, we find a character say something that prompts us to think – here's someone with the makings of a cryptic crossword setter. This character need not be in the mould of a glib-tongued Bond; s/he may be a person ordinary within the film's framework who lets out an unexpected flash of lexical wizardry.

Some such characters from movies I've seen.

1. Lata Srivastav, Chupke Chupke (1975) 

Lata Srivastav, potential crossword setter

Why her?
Lata asks Vasudha why the man has given her a ring with the letter 'S' on it, when her initial is 'V'. The exchange between them:

Vasudha: Wo mera naam hai na Vasudha, V-A-S-..., wo S hai.
Lata: Wo S nahin, tu ass hai.
Rough translation:
Vasudha: That's from my name Vasudha, V-A-S-..., that's the S (pronounced 'ass').
Lata: That's not the S, you are the ass.

Wordplay type demonstrated: Homophone

2. Gru, Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Gru, potential crossword setter

Why him?
Gru resists being arm-twisted into an undercover job for the Anti-Villain League (AVL), and takes his leave from the head of the league with these words:

Gru: Good day, Mr. Sheepsbutt.
Silas Ramsbottom (AVL head): Ramsbottom.
Gru: Oh, yeah, like that's any better.

Wordplay type demonstrated: Charade

3. Inspector YP Singh, Raja Natwarlal (2014)

YP Singh, potential crossword setters

Why him?
This policeman's mission in life is seemingly not just to nab Raja, but to craft all possible cryptic clues around the word CON. Not a chance for crossword-style wordplay slips by when he's around.

Example 1:

Heroine (answering her phone): Hello? Kaun?
Policeman: Con! Con hi to karne gaye ho wahan tum log.
Rough translation:
Heroine: Hello? Kaun (Who's that)?
Policeman: Yes, you've gone there for a con.

Wordplay type demonstrated: Bilingual homophone

Example 2:

Heroine: Wo ek chhota-mota contractor hai.
Policeman: Contractor! CONTRACTOR mein se TRACTOR uda de. Kya bacha? Con!
Rough translation:
Heroine: He is a small-time contractor.
Policeman: Contractor! Strike out from CONTRACTOR the word TRACTOR and see what you get. Con!

Wordplay type demonstrated: Deletion

4. Meeta Sen, Anubhav (1971)

Meeta Sen, potential crossword setter

Why her?
In the song Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho Meri Jaan, Meeta Sen asks her husband not to call her jaan (beloved), with this rationale:

Jaan na kaho anjaan mujhe, jaan kahan rahti hai sadaa
Anjaane, kya jaanein, jaan ke jaaye kaun bhala
Rough translation:
Don't call me jaan (beloved), anjaan (ignorant one) - jaan (life) does not last forever
Anjaane (naive people) kya jaanein (do not know any better), nobody departs jaan ke (on purpose)

In true cryptic crossword tradition, when the word jaan appears multiple times in the opening line, the hearer does not know that the one of the jaans refers literally to life. The cryptic reading is revealed only a little later. The meaning of jaan keeps switching fluidly from 'life' to 'beloved' to 'know' and the hearer has to keep up with the shifts to make sense of the song.

Wordplay type demonstrated: Multiple Definitions

---
Over to you. Can you add to the list?

PS: In case you missed the memo - an Open Magazine feature about cryptic crossword solvers in India: The High of Hidden Words.

Related Posts:

If you wish to keep track of further articles on Crossword Unclued, you can subscribe to it in a reader via RSS Feed. You can also subscribe by email and have articles delivered to your inbox, or follow me on twitter to get notified of new links.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Alphabetic Letter Names in Crosswords

letter-names Every letter of the English alphabet has a "letter name". Vowel names are the same as the letters they represent, consonant names are usually <consonant>EE (e.g. B = BEE, C = CEE) or E<consonant> (e.g. F = EF, M = EM).

Though a letter naming standard exists, its practical usage in the real world is limited to scenarios like saying the alphabet aloud, answering queries of the form "how do you spell PHNOM PENH", or creating rhymes/songs. In the cryptic world, on the other hand, the possibilities of letter name usage are rich.

Clue Examples

Letter names like BEE (B) and GEE (G) are also dictionary words with other independent meanings, and can be used on a clue's surface with interesting results.

Guardian 24893 (Pasquale): Alert old maid, possibly as bee-keeper (9) OBSERVANT
O (old) SERVANT (maid), keeping i.e. containing B (bee)

Letter names can provide wordplay options that the simple letter would not.

Guardian 25704 (Puck): Leading lady's letter to the papers (7) EMPRESS
EM (letter M) PRESS (the papers)

Guardian 26076 (Arachne): Wrongly use double ef in "defiled" (8) BEFOULED
(DOUBLE EF)*

The longer ones can be used for grid fill.

Times Cryptic 4524 (Dean Mayer): Start to write the letter (3) WYE
W[rite] YE (the)

Sometimes, an unusual clue comes along with the letter on the surface and its name in the answer.

Guardian 26240 (Qaos): Writer who claims S, perhaps, equals T? (8) ESSAYIST
ES (letter S) + SAY (perhaps) + IS T

The Letter Name Reference Table

A reference list of names for all the letters of the English alphabet, from the Chambers dictionary

Letter Code Word
A a
B bee
C cee, see
D dee
E e
F ef
G gee
H aitch
I i
J jay
K kay
L el
M em
Letter Code Word
N en
O o
P pee
Q cue
R ar
S es, ess
T tee
U u
V vee
W double-u, double-you
X ex
Y wye
Z zee, zed, izzard

A closely matching list from the OED is on Wikipedia.

Notes:

1. A wise crossword setter would use letter name substitution sparingly, as this device can easily slip into charade overdose territory.

2. If you've wondered why there isn't consistency in the naming of consonants (why should D = DEE and not ED, or M = EM and not MEE?), the reason can be traced back to Latin letter naming system, in which stop consonants were named <consonant>EE, sonorants and fricatives took the form E<consonant>. This link offers more insights.

Solve These

Guardian 25900 (Philistine): A desire or aspiration (5)
Times 23937: Disney character after rest moved casually (7)
Times Club Monthly 20145: Innocent follower of ex (X) in action? (4-4)

Related Posts:

If you wish to keep track of further articles on Crossword Unclued, you can subscribe to it in a reader via RSS Feed. You can also subscribe by email and have articles delivered to your inbox, or follow me on twitter to get notified of new links.

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!

Related Posts:

If you wish to keep track of further articles on Crossword Unclued, you can subscribe to it in a reader via RSS Feed. You can also subscribe by email and have articles delivered to your inbox, or follow me on twitter to get notified of new links.

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!

Related Posts:

If you wish to keep track of further articles on Crossword Unclued, you can subscribe to it in a reader via RSS Feed. You can also subscribe by email and have articles delivered to your inbox, or follow me on twitter to get notified of new links.