Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Hindu Crossword 9639: Neyartha

The Hindu Crossword 9639 (Neyartha)

This wasn't one of Neyartha's best, I thought.

Comments on clues of THC 9639 that didn't quite work for me.

4D: Oversight surrounding lab error is subject to misconception (10) MISTAK{ABL*}E
MISTAKABLE comes from the same root as "mistake", using that in the SI is weak wordplay.

7D: *Iguazu aristocrats in hiding (5) ZUARI [T]
This is one of the starred clues without definition. ZUARI is "in hiding" within "Iguazu aristocrats", all right - but that's not what the clue is saying.

19D: The Eskimo is tentative about concealing a sponge (7) MOISTEN [T]
"moisten" is a verb, but "a sponge" can only be a noun. The "a" might improve the surface but it spoils the wordplay.

1A: Mint for the auditor bound by a deadline (4,5) TIME{~thyme} LIMIT
"by" is not fair as connector, it's obtrusive to solving.

15A: Flowers of sulphur behind the cave shrine's internal switch (9) AMAR{A <-> N}TH S
The surface doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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Vinod Raman said...

I echo most of your comments. I have some more observations :-

5D Fish (new) exchanged for a second grade instrument (4)
Since 'new' is in braces, the clue doesn't adequately indicate that 'new' is to be exchanged. It seems like Fish is to be exchanged for B. "Fish, new, exchanged..." would work much better.

To add to your comment on "by" not being a fair connector, I feel that "by", "with", "on" etc. are not good connectors between the Definition and Subsidiary indication, because they make it seem like the text preceding and following them are to be conjoined in some manner.

Neyartha said...

Shuchi, Thanks for your very constructive criticism. Your note about the 'ZUARI' telescopic clue is valid. It was a toss up between the published clue and "Iguazu aristocrats hide this (5)", and I chose to go with the former despite the fact that the wordplay isn't quite legal for the simple fact that it gave a better surface reading.

A couple of points regarding your observations:

1. My personal opinion is that a connector's purpose is to aid in surface reading and anything is fine as long as it doesn't interfere with the wordplay / alter the inference of the wordplay. For obtaining the direct definition, a connector may or may not be dropped in the analysis. This may be frowned upon in UK publications, but I believe it gives one more degree of freedom to the compiler in order to mislead the solver within accepted bounds. The definition of 'accepted bounds' may vary from person to person, but looking at the fact that many lay people are able to solve the clue without issues and the connectors are easily identifiable (by / a / that etc.), I feel there is little incentive for me to change the clueing style.

2. Flowers of sulphur and surface reading: Not sure whether you are aware of this, but 'flowers of sulphur' is a form of sulphur powder used in agriculture ( ), and the clue's surface reading indicates that there might be an electrical switch inside a cave shrine, behind which sulphur powder might be found.

I also thank Vinod for his feedback. I regard braces in cryptic clues as punctuation marks which need to be ignored most of the time (This is the scheme followed in many UK puzzles too, I believe). In that way, it is similar to the comma that Vinod prefers. The comment about usage of by / with as connectors is valid when it is in the middle of the wordplay. In the clue under consideration, the connector appears after the wordplay segment (and doesn't interfere with it). This leads to the first point I made above in my observations above.

Best Regards