Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Differentiating Between CD and &Lit Clues

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Cryptic Definition? &Lit? A perennial source of confusion among solvers is in classifying clues as cryptic definition or &lit. In fact, according to a review of Secrets of the Setters, even the book trips up on this technicality – and it's written by the Guardian's Crossword Editor.

Here's a quick tip to dispel the confusion.

  In an &lit clue, the whole clue is both the definition and the wordplay
  In a cryptic definition, the whole clue is only the definition. There is no separate wordplay.

Apply The Test

When in doubt, check the clue against this rule.
Picking a few examples that have generated discussion recently among Hindu Crossword solvers.

THC 9863 (Sankalak): It creates a stir in the cup that cheers (8) TEASPOON
Question: Does the whole clue define TEASPOON?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Does the whole clue also act as wordplay for TEASPOON?
Answer: No. There is no other wordplay in the clue.

Verdict: Cryptic Definition

THC Sun 2587: Start of number trio's playing? (5) INTRO
Question: Does the whole clue define INTRO?
Answer: Yes. An INTRO can be an introductory passage of music.

Question: Does the whole clue also act as wordplay for INTRO?
Answer: Yes. N (start of 'number') + (TRIO)*, with "playing" as anagram indicator.

Verdict: &Lit

THC 9863 (Sankalak): Where, in a restaurant, questions may be asked? (9) GRILLROOM
Question: Does the whole clue define GRILLROOM?
Answer: No. The definition is only "(in a) restaurant".

Question: Does the whole clue also act as wordplay for GRILLROOM?
Answer: No. The wordplay is "where…questions may be asked?" - a pun on the word "grill".

Verdict: This is an unusual one, but I'd call it closer to being a d&cd i.e. a blend of double definition and cryptic definition, than a pure cryptic definition.

One from the Guardian…

Guardian 25027 (Paul): What's round and called "tangerine", ultimately? (6) ORANGE
Question: Does the whole clue define ORANGE?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Does the whole clue also act as wordplay for ORANGE?
Answer: Yes. O (round) and RANG (called) [tangerin]E

Verdict: &Lit

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Time to test your clue type identification skills!

Classify These

Clues with their answers are given below. Which of these are CDs, which &lits, and which are neither?

FT 13403 (Loroso): How to describe something which marks a boundary? (8) HEDGEROW
Times 24427: Stole quietly away? (6) INCHED
Times 24548: Opening statement when meeting PM (4,9) GOOD AFTERNOON
THC 9849 (Gridman): Unreliable person useless for omelette-making? (3,3)  BAD EGG

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9 comments

veer said...

HEDGEROW : H{EDGER}OW : &Lit
INCHED: (-p)INCHED : &Lit
GOOD AFTERNOON : {GOOD} {AFTERNOON} : Not an &Lit, but not CD either I think (assuming statement = good and not opening statement = good) - would this be a semi &Lit?
BAD EGG : Double Def. / D&CD..

Interesting comment you had on GRILLROOM on Grill being a pun on "where questions are asked". Peter Biddlecombe had a lengthy discussion on the semantics between a pun and CD as well as &Lits over on RPC's TRAIN-SPOTTER thread.

Thanks for clearing up on the &Lit & CD question..

Steve B said...

"Stole quietly away" is an &lit. The wordplay is (p)INCHED.

"Opening statement when meeting PM" is a cryptic def. There's no wordplay.

"Unreliable person useless for omelette-making?" is really a double definition - "unreliable person" and "something useless for omelette an making" - phrased as a cryptic definition. The connection between eggs and omelettes is too literal to call it a pun.

The clue for GRILLROOM raises an interesting issue recently debated on rec.puzles.crosswords. As far as I can see, there are two different types of clue commonly referred to as 'cryptic definition'. One, like this clue has a(n often vague) definition and then uses a pun to infer the answer. The other sort of clue is like the clue for TEASPOON, which uses no pun but has an accurate definition, but couched in misleading terms. Another example of this sort is "Jammed cylinder (5,4)" for Swiss roll.

I'm afraid I'm missing HEDGEROW completely.

Steve = : ^ )

gnomethang said...

1) Neither. Container type
2)&Lit
3)CD
4)Neither. Double Definition

Thanks for clearing that up- great article (hope I got them right now!!)

gnomethang said...

I guess looking at HEDGEROW it could be an &Lit. I initially just parsed the wordplay (SteveB - HOW describes i.e. goes round EDGER - something that marks/lines/edges)as just that with the definition being 'a boundary'. Looking at it again the whole phrase describes the hedgerow as well.
Cracking clue in any case.

Shuchi said...

Veer, Steve B, gnomethang: Thanks for your answers!

To summarize -

FT 13403 (Loroso): How to describe something which marks a boundary? (8) HEDGEROW

HOW around EDGER (something which marks a boundary), &Lit. The definition is a little oblique but I'm all for leeway with &Lit clue definitions.
--
Times 24427: Stole quietly away? (6) INCHED

PINCHED (stole) - P (quietly), &Lit.
--
Times 24548: Opening statement when meeting PM (4,9) GOOD AFTERNOON

CD. PM in the cryptic reading is the abbreviation for post meridiem; I don't think any other wordplay is intended.
--
THC 9849 (Gridman): Unreliable person useless for omelette-making? (3,3) BAD EGG

d&cd. Of the two definitions, "unreliable person" is straight and "useless for omelette-making?" is phrased as a cryptic definition.

Shuchi said...

Thanks for the tip about the discussion on rec.puzles.crosswords. Will check it out.

gnomethang said...

Suchi, reference your comment on the definition of Hedgerow being a bit oblique:
In the UK farming communities hedgerows were traditionally used as marking boundaries of farmers land so for me the def is bang on the money!.

Shuchi said...

@gnomethang: I thought the definition was circuitous as the words "how to describe" aren't necessary for it, they are required only for the wordplay. No quarrel with its accuracy. I like the clue too!

Shuchi said...

Most interesting debate at rec.puzzles.crosswords. For the benefit of other readers: link.

On fifteensquared, the pun type clue gets called "tichy" (tongue-in-cheek). The d&cd classification too is something I picked up from there. I would earlier tag a clue with two cryptic definitions as CD and a commenter would point out that it's a DD, or vice-versa. To me, having a more specific way of classifying such clues has helped to bring clarity.