Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Top Ten Clues 2011

Crossword-Clues-2011-Top10I hope you all are enjoying the festive season. My best wishes to you for a very happy and successful new year 2012.

Signing off this year with a round-up of clues I've enjoyed immensely in 2011. Have fun solving and do share your own favourite clues of the year too.

Indy 7569 (Dac): Millions read this novel (4,5)

Times 24747: Diverted article leaving bottom exposed (2-6) __-R_____

FT13601 (Alberich): Honestly? No, otherwise (2,3,3)

FT13718 (Dante): What’s made for maid in house to clean and polish (9) __M_____E

Guardian 25271 (Brendan): Theatric saga I composed, ending of which is kept secret (6,8) A_____ ________

FT 13657 (Alberich): Man United playing away later rued foul (9) A_______R

Guardian 25360 (Paul): Black bovine with vertigo, say — what's so exciting? (11) A_________C

Guardian 25456 (Pasquale): A trip with the legwork would be disastrous for me (9,6) T________ _____R

@aclueaday on twitter: Risk acne eruption without this? (8)

Independent 7702 (Anax): Stupid cow needed my ring for this (7,8) W______ ____M___

[Update: See comments for answers.]

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why is Horse = GG?

GG-horse In British cryptic crosswords, GG is often used as an abbreviation for 'horse'.

FT 13588 (Orense): Move from side to side in horse riding trick (6) WIGGLE
GG (horse) riding i.e. being carried by WILE (trick)

GG or gee-gee is a word for horse used by children or in colloquial speech in UK. The internet provides different explanations for its etymology. Wikipedia says that the term "Gee-Gee" is taken from horse-racing where a Gee-Gee is the first horse out of the starting gate. Other sources say that GG is short for the command given to horses to go: "gee up". I'm not sure which is the actual origin of the word, comments that can shed light on this are most welcome.

In any case, for solving cryptic clues, it is sufficient to know that horse = GG and that the term is mostly used by children.

Have a go at these clues that use horse = GG:

Independent 7746 (Anax): Pushes horse in front over (4, 2)

Guardian 24635 (Enigmatist): Less diminutive horse in nursery found in the final frame (6)

Guardian 25476 (Boatman): Startling horse eaten by naughty goblin (8)

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Clues for Austenians

Jane Austen "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other", says the eponymous heroine of Jane Austen's Emma, summing up the defence of all crossword nuts when questioned by their well-meaning, non-crossword friends.

Jane Austen was born on this day, the 16th of December, in 1775, and remains one of the most popular authors ever. Her dazzling wit and social commentary delight us today as much as they did 200 years ago.

As a birthday tribute, a selection of clues from cryptic crosswords that refer to Jane Austen or her works. Especially for Jane Austen admirers.

1. Times 25009: Mansfield Park without its heroine would be very funny (9) P_______S

2. Guardian 25067 (Araucaria): Lady Catherine's place in gross mistreatment (7) R_____

3. Times 23982: Novel speciality of fellow explorer (9,4) ___S_____ __R_

4. Guardian 24391 (Araucaria): Elizabeth's boy catcher (6) B_____

5. Guardian 24344 (Rufus): Complaint of aunt finally in Austen novel (7) T______ /* Hint: No Austen knowledge required. */

6. Times 24539: Emma’s man speaking regularly (7) K________

7. Times 23923: See my girl injured here - Louisa? (4,5) L___ R____/* Hint: Recall Persuasion. */

8. Times 24873: Staff, keeping discipline, set off for work (9,4) ____F____ _A__

9. Times 23771: Emotion at centre of Austen novel? (5) __G__

10. Guardian 24674 (Araucaria): Clue (not the first) about little bag for slippery creature who became Mrs Ferrars (4,6) L___ _____E

An older post devoted to Emma: Setters' Favourite Book?

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Crossword Buff

Pick a gift for yourself or your favourite crossword fan this Christmas. Some crossword-themed knickknacks and books for you to choose from, listed below. There's an attractive discount running on the Chambers Crossword Lover's Dictionary Set on Amazon UK – regular price £70.00, being sold currently for £27.49.

[Amazon will give me a 4% referral fee if you buy through a link on my page. The price for you will remain the same.]

Also consider this unique set of twelve 3D crosswords created by some of the best crossword compilers from UK. Money from your purchase goes to BBC CiNA and RNIB.

3d_calendar_puzzle_2012

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Clue Challenge: Annotate These Answers III

annotate-cluesWith this batch of clues, I sweated over making sense of the wordplay even after the answer was plain. The clues with their solutions are presented below. Can you work out how to get the answer from the clue?

Update (08th December 2011): Annotations added.

1. Guardian 25481 (Paul): Regarding the eyes, doubly hard to claim pension, initially, after surgery (10) OPHTHALMIC
Annotation: (HH+TO+CLAIM+P[ension]) 'after surgery' i.e. anagrammed; definition: regarding the eyes.

2. Times 24962: Protective garments formerly, covering legs? Quite the opposite (9) PINAFORES
Annotation: PIN(AFORE)S i.e. the opposite of AFORE (formerly) around PINS (legs); definition: protective garments.

3. FT 13859 (Alberich): Letter concerning endless gossip after doctor left last practice (5,9) DRESS REHEARSAL
Annotation: ESS (letter 'S') RE (concerning) HEARSA[y] (endless gossip), after DR (doctor), L (left); definition: last practice.

4. Times 24907: With cold, bracing air outside, maidens keep cozy here (7,4) COMFORT ZONE
Annotation: C (cold) OZONE (bracing air), around M (maidens) FORT (keep); definition: cozy here.

5. Independent 7746 (Anax): Produced nothing before the signal to stop (8) FATHERED
Annotation: FA (nothing, as in sweet FA) THE RED (signal to stop); definition: produced. 

6. FT 13657 (Alberich): Not clever to pick on American legendary hero (7) PERSEUS
Annotation: FPERSECUTE (pick on) – CUTE (clever) + US (American); definition: legendary hero. 

7. Guardian 25439 (Orlando): Animals with peculiar prehensile tails, certainly not quite right (8) REINDEER
Annotation: 'tails' i.e. last letters of 'peculiaR prehensilE' INDEE[d] (certainly, not quite) R (right); definition: animals. 

8. Independent 7840 (Monk): Language suggested by Escher right away? (7) CHINESE
Annotation: ESCHE[r] = CH in ESE; definition: language. 

Visit our past clue challenges: Annotate These Answers I and Annotate These Answers II.

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