…are adjacent clues in a crossword with a shared surface meaning.
For example, this pair from Guardian 24552 (Gordius):
Certain time before cancellation ... (7)
... so there's time for what's left (3,4)
When read in continuation, the two clues produce a single meaningful surface.
In most cases, the ellipses only help the surface and have no impact on the cryptic reading. That holds true for the clues above. If you ignore the link and try to solve them, you get:
Certain time before cancellation
[...] (7) ERASURE ERA (time) SURE (certain) [... so ]there's time for what's left (3,4) THE REST THERE’S T (time)
The clues get solved independently, just as if there were no ellipses connecting them.
Don't dismiss those three dots too soon though. In advanced cryptics like the barred grid kind and in the harder daily puzzles, they sometimes indicate a real link - a cryptic relation between the clues.
Take these two clues by Viking in FT 13036:
Caution needed round about densely populated area ... (6)
... one might go there to ramble (6)
The first is like a regular clue, with the answer WARREN: WARN (caution) around RE (about). The second, by virtue of the ellipsis, makes a back-reference to the preceding clue. It is a double definition with the answer RABBIT: one definition is "ramble", the other is "one might go there" (i.e. a rabbit might go to a WARREN).
Another by Viking from the Listener crossword:
How egg might be done: scrambled not using oven ... (2,5)
... that's not hard for diner (5)
The answer to the first is ON TOAST: NOT* + OAST (oven). The second uses the last word of the previous clue in its cryptic reading; the answer is EATER: HEATER (oven) – H (hard).
Such clues can be pretty tough to solve as there are many unknowns – we need to find out if clue1 uses part of clue2, or vice versa, and how much of one clue is referenced in the other.
What does Ximenes say?
In his book Ximenes On the Art of the Crossword (chapter "Improvised Clues"), Ximenes says that he uses the ellipsis-link device rarely, and does not advocate its use unless there is a really strong connection between the clues. He adds (and I agree) that when there is real point, the solver may enjoy it for its variation from normal clue types.
[Many thanks to setter Viking for his valuable inputs for this article.]
Solve these coupled clues from the Times, that are also connected cryptically.
Weak father is superior to ... (7)
...athletic one left cramped by antiquity (5)
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