Of all the compilers of The Hindu Crossword, we come across Neyartha the least (2 a month on average?). What is it they say, about good things being scarce?
Whenever they appear, Neyartha's puzzles have a thunderbolt effect. The Orkut solving community becomes abuzz with activity, normally sparse blog comment spaces get a profusion of reactions, annotations for clues are hotly discussed.
Neyartha's puzzles are high on substitutions/deletions and combinations of clue types - one reason why parsing his clues is challenging. To add to it, there are the starred clues with no definition. Today's (THC 9516) takes the themed crossword a notch up, with the starred clues themselves forming a clue.
I find a unique identifiable character in his puzzles; a glance is enough to reveal it's his work (and I'm not talking about the smattering of asterisks). His choice of words is distinctive and the context very contemporary. There will be references to Bond films, Sarah Palin, Slumdog Millionaire. Some clues carry phrases in brackets - remember the revolutionary doctor (cheat) who was beseiged by misfortune, or the need (unwritten) when you fell over?
Then there are 'techie' quirks like using 'gate' to stand for logic gates, fractions (70% of the storerooms, 5/9th of something else!) and the inclination towards the sciences (chemistry and maths figure prominently).
Like with Gridman, the framework is assuredly Indian. Trains will travel between Delhi-Chennai, university will be BITS in place of OU and dance will be BHARATNATYAM rather than BALL. (Talking of BITS, his clue 15A from THC 9490 even made it to BITS-related press releases.) It is a comfort to solve puzzles with a cultural context that's closer home.
Hope we see more of this individualistic (or as Anokha says – crazy!) compiler. Keep them coming, star setter!
Related Posts / Links:
- The Hindu Crossword 9460 Solutions/Evaluation
- 9516, 9515: Recent Neyartha Puzzles on The Hindu's Website