This clue from The Hindu Crossword 9532 (Nita Jaggi):
Odd girl very boring and sad (4) G R E Y
led to an interesting discussion on the THC community. Keep aside the weak definition (how does 'boring and' help the clue?), the focal error is that odd letters from 'girl very' do not lead to the expected answer GREY, but to GRVR.
An open question on the forum is as below, which I thought I'll talk about in a bit more detail here.
In an odd letter fodder, do we take letters 1,3,5, etc and in an even letter fodder, do we take letters 2,4,6 etc. Can we be expected to string letters 1,3,5 in a clue which uses odd/oddly. And in a clue which has 'regular/regularly' which letters do we pick up?
I think the simple answer is that as with any indicator, we do with the fodder what the indicator logically implies.
'The odds of' can be translated to 'take the odd letters from [fodder]', so I pick letters 1, 3, 5, 7...
'Oddly lacking', 'ignoring the odds' can reasonably be read as 'remove the odd letters from [fodder]', so I drop letters 1, 3, 5, 7…
'Evenly' suggests selecting 2, 4, 6…, and 'evens out', 'seconds away' point to removing the letters 2, 4, 6…
'alternately' and 'every other' could either be read as 'pick odds' or 'pick evens'.
Indicators like 'regularly' and 'uniformly' give more leeway to the setter – in plain English they mean any consistent pattern, so I think it is valid even if they indicate a sequence like 3, 6, 9, 12. (A gentler clue would of course state more transparently: 'every Nth' for a letter pattern with gaps > 1).
Coming back to the original clue: Even if the solution is GRVR, can 'odd girl very' be interpreted as 'take the odd letters from GIRL VERY'? I can't bring myself to think so. Though I've come to recognize it as a letter sequence indicator from its appearances in crosswords, I don't get how 'odd [fodder]' is equivalent to 'the odd letters of [fodder]'; to me it looks like a discrepancy between what the indicator means and what the compiler expects the solver to do.
Or am I missing something here?