Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Inter-Grid References

grid-references Sometimes clues in a crossword do not stand alone but need the answer of another clue to get the solution. Such clues weave in the number of the referenced clue in the surface reading.

This device appears quite frequently in the UK puzzles but I'm seeing more of it in The Hindu of late. There was this one on 20-DEC-08 (was it the first?):

2D: Fur? Um… it belongs to me (6) ER MINE
7D: Command Act 2 needs to be restructured (8) DO MINEER*

The solution of 7D depends on the answer for 2D. The key here is to recognize that the "2" in 7D refers to the 2 Down clue.

There's another one in today's THC 9423:

8A: He distributes parts of a film (6) CASTER
22A: Back at home in 8 for a container (8) CA{NI<-}STER

Once you know that the "8" in 22A means clue 8A, the answer is simple.

So when you see a number in a clue, consider that this could be an inter-grid reference. [Caution: This is a possibility, not a certainty. For a clue like "Queen follows Act 5 here", if you try putting in the solution of clue#5 you'll be on the wrong track - the 5 in this instance simply needs its Roman numeral substitution.]

Related Posts:

  • Circular Reference - a slightly more complicated case of inter-grid reference, with cyclic dependency between two clues.
  • The Hindu Crossword 9409 (Gridman), which has an instance of inter-grid reference.
  • Roman Numbers – when numbers in clues are not clue numbers, but Roman numerals

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1 comment

Chaturvasi said...

As one who has been solving THC from No. 1, I can say the device (which is common in crosswords) has been used many times before.

It should not be overdone, though. One reason why I disliked the Guardian crossword was that it used the cross reference to an irritating degree. Sometimes a whole lot of clues depended upon your cracking a particular clue.

One disgusting feature of a particular THC compiler was putting two parts of a phrase in two places; this is all right in a rare instance but if a puzzle has half a dozen such clues you will get a strain by looking at different slots before putting in the answers. Luckily that compiler is no longer contributing THC.

UK crosswords resort to this but the parts of the answers are in the same row or column divided only by blocks. In THC the slots were in odd places.