Monday, November 30, 2009

Neyartha Trivia

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[Also read Gridman Trivia and Sankalak Trivia]

One doesn't need to read the clues to recognize a Neyartha crossword. Glance at The Hindu crossword two feet away and you can still tell. Chances are there'll be a line in bold at the top mentioning the theme, or asterisks prefixed to clues. When there's no theme, Neyartha's stamp will show in the "weight" of the clues – bigger words, longer phrases, less white space.

I've been looking forward to analysing Neyartha's work to find what the statistics say. Thanks to Neyartha for providing his database of 60 puzzles for this analysis.

Clue Volume

Avg no. of clues per puzzle=33.37; Avg no. of words per clue=7.57 The average clue length in Neyartha's puzzles is 7.57 words per clue, considerably higher than Gridman's 6.43. Since the themed clues don't typically carry definitions, the length for such clues covers the wordplay segment only – which means the active clue length is even more.

When solving Neyartha's puzzles, you're also dealing with a larger number of clues. His grids carry 33.37 clues per puzzle on average, as opposed to Gridman's 30.71 clues per puzzle.

Top-8 Most Clued Words

Neyartha-Word-Usage-Analysis-Top-Answers It comes as no surprise that the most-clued word by Neyartha is science-related: the word is TESLA [a Serbo-American physicist and inventor, after whom the unit of magnetic inductivity is named].

TESLA has been clued 4 times. Seven words have been clued 3 times (as shown in the adjacent graph), and 75 words have been clued twice.

A striking feature about Neyartha's most-clued words list is the unusual vocabulary. Words like YAWS and TESLA hardly appear in daily puzzles, especially as the crossings _A_S and _E_L_ offer so many alternatives of better-known words.

Neyartha is a fairly new compiler – he joined The Hindu in 2008 and has set 60 puzzles till date. Repeat answers in his grids are naturally far fewer than in Gridman's who has had a much longer setting career (528 puzzles). But here's the thing to note: Gridman's maximum number of repetitions is 11 times for a word. This means that his most-clued word has been repeated once in 48 puzzles, while Neyartha's most-clued word has been repeated once in 15 puzzles. I hope that Neyartha is keeping an eye on this!

Clue Text Wordle

Let's see Neyartha's clue text wordle to find the sort of words he tends to use in his clues. The more a word is used, the larger it appears in the wordle.

The picture below shows the 100 most used words by Neyartha in clue text.

Wordle Of Neyartha's Clues
*For meaningful results, common words like articles & prepositions have not been included in the visualization.

  • The most frequently occurring word in Neyartha's clues is "around" (53 times), a common device for indicating containment or reversal.

  • If Gridman's clues showed an affinity towards the word "French", Neyartha's do so far more. "French" is the second-most used word in the his clues, just behind "around", with 51 occurrences. That's nearly once per puzzle. Tip for solvers: For better success with Neyartha's grids, brush up on your knowledge of French – or read this :)

  • "Greek" shows up often, too, in combination with another frequently-occurring word "character", in charade clues containing segments like PI and CHI.

  • Neyartha's favourite anagram/reversal indicator "revolutionary" appears prominently on the wordle. So do the homophone indicators "reportedly" and "auditor".

  • The word "found" is heavily used, generally as a link word between the definition and subsidiary indication.

  • "website" emerges as another unusual favourite, in the device to clue 2-letter segments using country-specific domain names e.g. Chinese website = CN.

References To People: Neyartha vs. Gridman

One noticeable difference between Neyartha's and Gridman's word usage frequencies is in the allusions to unnamed human beings.

Gridman's calls upon "man", "woman", "boy", "girl" very often. These words loom large on the wordle. Neyartha's wordle has only a minor "girl" on it, the rest aren't mentioned enough to make an appearance on the wordle.

If we categorize the human references by age and gender, we find that Neyartha mentions variants of "boy" and "girl" more, while Gridman mentions variants of "man" and "woman" more.
The Hindu People Types In Clues 

Sherlock Holmes might have drawn some nice deductions from this.

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2 comments

sriks7 said...

Nice one. Thanks for this analysis

Anuradha said...

Hi Shuchi
That was a good thought-provoking analysis. Your compare and contrast notes with Gridman make interesting reading. It speaks volumes for the depth of your analysis. Keep it up!
Anu