In a stuttering clue, a letter or syllable gets repeated in the clue and the answer follows the same pattern of repetition. To show by example:
THC 9318 (Gridman): Whispering America rises twice to c-complain (9) SUSURRANT
RANT is "complain"; because of the stuttering effect, "c-complain" becomes R-RANT.
We don't come by stuttering clues too often but this is by no means a new device – Ximenes mentioned it in his 1966 book Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword, with the remark that it's entertaining if it isn't overdone. Here is a sample clue by the old master – an interesting one as as it repeats not one letter but a speech pattern:
Ximenes: I was thought magical, but I'm fer-futile (7) VERVAIN
futile = VAIN; fer-futile = VER-VAIN!
Caution: letter repetition isn't always stuttering
Stuttering clues are hard to disguise, so setters play the same trick on us as with the other easy clue type, anagrams [read more on misleading anagram signals] - they make other clues look like stuttering clues.
THC 8622: Tendency to t-tear (5) TREND
T and REND (tear). "R" does not get repeated as we'd expect it to. The stuttering effect is for the surface only - just a way to get the letter "T" into the answer.
Azed 1989: Fur flying in wild d-duel primed for a milkmaid? (8)
FT 13450 (Falcon): Odd, Eric pinching c-coin of little value (9)
A clue for Hindi film viewers - something the most parodied stutterer of filmdom, Rahul of Darr, would say:
Chaos when I'd flipped over K-Kiran (8)Related Posts:
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