Thursday, March 10, 2011

They Do It Dis Way

dis The 3-letter pattern DIS is a frequent find in crossword grids, usually as the Latin prefix to form the negative of a word or in words that end in *DIST or *DISM.

Here are some typical ways in which setters encrypt this sequence of letters.

Underworld Boss

In Roman mythology, Dis Pater (which literally means "rich father") was the ruler of the underworld i.e. a place where the souls of the departed go, generally thought to be under the surface of the earth.

Dis is a contraction of Dis Pater. The word has come to be used as an alternative name for the underworld or a part of the underworld, such as the City of Dis in Dante's The Divine Comedy, which covers the lower circles of Hell.

Dis is equivalent to Pluto, or Hades in Greek.

Times 24026: Enlighten graduate caught up in underworld operation (8) DISABUSE
BA (graduate) reversed, in DIS (underworld) USE (operation)

Times Championship Grand Final Puzzle 1: Inventor — one blasted off to orbit Pluto (6) EDISON
(ONE)* around DIS (Pluto)

Princess Has

DI is the diminutive form of the female given name Diana and its French variants Diane/Dianne. DI can also refer to Diana, Princess of Wales.

In crosswords, DIS = DI's could be clued as "girl's", "girl has", "girl is", or DI could be "princess" (this one is such a cliché by now that if you're setting, you're better off not using it).

THC 9873 (Gridman): Girl's stares, misinterpreted, leads to misfortunes (9) DISASTERS
DI's (girl's) (STARES)*

Sid Returned

DIS is the reverse of Sid, a male given name.

Times 23607: Consternation shown by retired man and woman (6) DISMAY
SID (man) retired, MAY (woman)

Detectives

DI stands for Detective Inspector, a UK police rank. Detectives are, therefore, DIs. Read Detectives in Cryptic Clues for more.

Insult

To dis is to treat [someone] with disrespect.

Times 23834: Show contempt for blokes, say, and hide (8) DISGUISE
DIS (show contempt for) GUISE (sounds like 'guys', i.e. blokes)

Sunday Times 4385: Be rude to little man on the way up (3) DIS dd
DIS (be rude to), SID (little man) reversed

Dis-solve These

FT 13627 (Alberich): Underworld boss goes to prisons with Ecstasy to distribute (8) ___P____
Times 23993: Beast - in short man about to create trouble (7) ___T___
Guardian 25206 (Pasquale): Fellows going to hell full of hypocrisy? Poor chaps! (10) M_______T_

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6 comments

Rengaswamy said...

Underworld boss goes to prisons with Ecstasy to distribute (8) ___P____

DIS PENS E

SandhyaP said...

Underworld boss goes to prisons with Ecstasy to distribute (8) {DIS}{PENS}{E}

Beast - in short man about to create trouble (7) {DIS}{(-e)TURB}<-

Fellows going to hell full of hypocrisy? Poor chaps! (10) {MEN}{DI{CANT}S}

S.Vini said...

Underworld boss goes to prisons with Ecstasy to distribute (8) - (DIS)(PENS)(E)

Shuchi said...

Well solved Rengaswamy and S.Vini, and hats off to you SandhyaP for getting all three!

michael said...

Pluto is the Roman version of Hades, though. Are you sure "Dis Pater" isn't Pluto's title or alternative name (like "Jove" and "Jupiter")?

Shuchi said...

@michael: The three are equivalent as I understand. Britannica online says: "Dis Pater, (Latin: Rich Father), in Roman religion, god of the infernal regions, the equivalent of the Greek Hades, or Pluto (Rich One)."

I'll edit the line to include Hades as the Greek version. Thanks!