Wednesday, May 25, 2011

UK Crossword Clues You Would Probably Not See in an Indian Crossword

uk-cryptic-crossword Check out these clues from this month's crosswords in the Guardian and the Financial Times:

Guardian 25320 (Brendan): Asian type somehow making his mark on India (8) KASHMIRI
KASHMIR, an anagram (somehow making) of HIS MARK + I (India)

FT 13698 (Bradman): Elite Hindu place following revolutionary conflict (6) RAJPUT
PUT (place) after JAR (conflict) reversed

Both clues make India-related references and yet, I'd be surprised if a crossword created in India used those definitions.

Can you think of more such clues?

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Du Maurier Clues

DaphneDuMaurier The novelist and playwright Daphne Du Maurier (13 May 1907 – 19 April 1989) was born on this day in 1907. In her remembrance, some cryptic clues that refer to her or her books.

Times 24538: Writer injecting element of great value into one murder novel (2,7)

Times 24214: Novel is touching — and useless because without chapter (7)

Times 23723: Instrument Mrs de Winter chucked about (5)

Times 24152: Film live, standing during intervals (3,5)

DT 25930: Spy coming from cyberspace upset the lady (7)

DT Toughie 308 (Osmosis): Novel features latterly in Spectator magazine Boris harangued (7)

Guardian 24807 (Araucaria): Maxim of Du Maurier "Drops get put into ground" (2,6)

Daphne Du Maurier is one of my favourite novelists; her gift for creating atmosphere and making the fantastic seem plausible is exceptional. Other than the popular Rebecca, I warmly recommend My Cousin Rachel and The House On The Strand.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Double...no, duplicate definitions

duplicate-definitions Consider these double definition (dd) clues for the word SPRING:

1. Season well (6)
2. Bound to jump (6)

Both have plausible surfaces and two accurate definitions that lead to the answer SPRING. And yet, the first is a pure dd, the second does not.

The two definitions in a proper double definition clue are expected to have two entirely different meanings. In the first clue, "season" (as in autumn, winter, spring) and "well" (as in, source of water) are unrelated meanings. That is not the case in the second clue - "bound" and "jump", when they mean "spring", are synonyms.

More examples of duplicate definitions:

Guardian 25246 (Quantum): Can't be defended, having no grounds (13) UNJUSTIFIABLE
THC 9702 (Neyartha): Authentic novel (8) ORIGINAL

Are duplicate definitions acceptable?

By Ximenean norms, no. Most solvers will call such clues out as defective, but I've come across some compelling arguments in favour of treating the duplicate definiton clue as a valid clue type.

Uncle Yap, long-time blogger on fifteensquared and Times for the Times, uses a unique classification "dud" to distinguish such clues from normal dds and says that duplicate definitions strung together can sometimes create a surface as misleading and pleasing as a regular dd. This is indeed true of clues like:

Guardian 24840 (Rufus): Sends away for books (6) ORDERS
Guardian 24976 (Rufus): Mint that's still unwrapped? (6) UNUSED

The misdirection in such clues comes from synonyms posing as different parts of speech on the clue's surface. In reality, the two definitions mean the same.

An easy test for duplicate definitions

Construct a sentence where the two definitions can be interchanged without affecting the meaning of that sentence. If you can come up with such a sentence, then the two definitions are duplicate definitions.

Identify the clue type – dd or dud?

A little exercise for you – check if these clues are true double definitions or not.

1. THC 10124 (Gridman): Satisfying session (7) MEETING
2. THC 9910 (Gridman): Fancy a fabled creature? (7) CHIMERA
3. Guardian 25293 (Rufus): Unqualified to make a statement (5) UTTER
4. Guardian 25314 (Shed): Nut loaf (4) HEAD
5. THC 9675 (Neyartha): Care to help? (3) AID
6. Guardian 24850 (Rover): A Frenchman's charge for electricity (7) COULOMB
7. Guardian 24534 (Enigmatist): Capable of doing no more? (2,2) UP TO 

What’s your take? Are duplicate definition clues flawed dds, or do you think they work as well as any other cryptic device?

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