In November 2009, the word for the Times Clue Challenge was HAND OVER.
I sent this in:
Clue: To suspend, Enter + Shift Control (4,4) HAND OVER
Explanation: The surface refers to keys on a computer keyboard. 'Shift Control' is commonly used in combination with other keys, as application shortcuts to perform operations like resuming/suspending a transaction.
Definition: Shift control
suspend = HOVER
To…enter = c/c indicator
+ = AND
When the contest result was announced, the judge's comments caught me by surprise. A flaw in my clue had slipped me entirely.
So, tell me cluenatics - what's wrong with the clue?
Update (24 March 2010): Thanks everyone for your feedback about the clue. Many of you sensed that there was something amiss in the definition – you were on the right track. Vinod hit bull's-eye, he points out the same error in his comment as the Times Challenge judge.
This is exactly what the Times Challenge judge had to say:
The definition is "shift control" but for the transitive-verb answer it needs to be "shift control of". That's unfortunate, because this is otherwise a nice clue, instructing the solver to enter AND (+) in HOVER (even if the phrasing "X, enter Y" is a bit stilted) while presenting on the surface a plausible suggestion for using a computer keyboard.
'of' is so often an innocuous connector that it is easy to overlook it. Yet it can make or mar a clue, as it did in this case.
Lesson learnt: To verify that the definition is accurate, try the substitution test. A sentence containing the answer should be unaltered in grammar and meaning when the answer is replaced with its definition.
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