Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cryptonyte’s Special Crossword in The Hindu

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While solving The Hindu Crossword 10437 by Cryptonyte (Tony Sebastian), I could spot the hidden (22d) references early on since I know Tony is getting married on 21st April 2012 (21a). And so the wedding mentions (1d, 9d), his fiancée's name (16d)…was there more? A Nina? I couldn't see one.

Perhaps in-jokes that we aren't expected to know, I thought, and left it at that.

I did wonder why 5d had a word in it for no reason at all.

Your ploy involves discretion towards the in-charge (6) TACTIC
TACT (discretion) IC (in-charge)

Why "your ploy"? Why not just:

Ploy involves discretion towards the in-charge (6) TACTIC

Then, with another look at the clues, the penny dropped.

cryptonyte-special-hindu 

Do you see what I see?

Will update the answer after a few hours.  Follow other discussion about this crossword on THCC.

Update: The clues contain a buried message, highlighted here.

Congrats and best wishes to the happy couple.

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16 comments

Chaturvasi said...

Shuchi

Now I see it!

Since I too had got the wedding invitation, I saw the thematic words almost instantaneously but I missed the "ploy" that you mention.

Since we are on the subject: I know that the setter did not take the subeditor/publisher into confidence but simply sent in the puzzle. My question is: what is the convention in the UK? Don't setters tell the paper in advance of any buried message? Can any UK setter enlighten me?

Col_Gopinath said...

Rosanna will definitely say 'I do' on the 21st

Tony Chesterley said...

Very slick. Congratulations to the happy couple!

SandhyaP said...

Wow, what a novel way to propose!

Suresh said...

Wow.

Navneeth said...

Brilliantly done, Tony! My best wishes to you and your fiancee.

I did think the 'your' was superfluous, but did not bother to look into further, apart from making a mental to note to mention it on the blog.

Kishore said...

All the best to Tony. One clue had me musing, was it a hint to the party of the other part ;-0

I happened to read separately the parts of 14d separated by the hyphen...

Shuchi said...

CV Sir: Your question raises another. To what extent should the setter be expected to reveal personal inspirations behind the crossword? "The proper name in 7d is my brother-in-law's, the Europe theme is because I had a wonderful vacation there last year, through 5d I'm trying to apologise to a friend"? If the setter and the publisher get into qualitative discussions about crossword content, or if they share the kind of camaraderie where these details get talked about, then the setter would be likely to mention such a theme. In the absence of those, I can't see how this can treated as a formal convention.

There must be more cases of setters putting in messages/references that only they and their near ones chuckle over, while the rest of us solve and move on with our lives, never knowing.

And that's perfectly all right I think, provided the crossword is fair to the solver and does not make personal knowledge of the setter a necessary condition for solving. As with this crossword. The theme was an add-on; none of the answers depended on it.

Your thoughts?

[I'm reminded of this related discussion: How self-effacing should a crossword setter be?]

Navneeth said...

There must be more cases of setters putting in messages/references that only they and their near ones chuckle over, while the rest of us solve and move on with our lives, never knowing.

I could easily be missing or mis-interpreting a few things here, but wasn't there a famous instance of encrypted military messages being sent across through crosswords in a daily newspaper? I think I came across this during the Landmark Quiz many years ago.

Shuchi said...

@Navneeth: Do you mean the D-Day crosswords? Those turned out to have a pretty harmless explanation. Interesting anecdote, thanks for reminding us of it.

Navneeth said...

@Navneeth: Do you mean the D-Day crosswords?

Perhaps. As I said, most of what I remember is rather hazy. Thanks for the link to the article nevertheless.

Nadathur Rajan said...

There has been another setter earlier who has done this.

John Henderson sets cryptics for The Guardian (as Enigmatist), the Financial Times (as Io), The Independent (as Nimrod) and The Daily Telegraph (as Elgar). His wife is a regular blogger (under the penname Jetdoc) on Fifteensquared.

On their wedding day, the Guardian, Times, Independent, FT and Telegraph Toughie (and the Inquisitor on the following day), carried John's puzzles with an overt or covert wedding slant.

It will be interesting to watch out for Tony's next puzzle in The Mint.

Kishore said...

Wonder if the acceptance will come through a crossword, if the lady is a setter too?

Shyam said...

Congrats Tony. The opportunity to propose through a published crossword will not occur to many, so well done!

Coming to CV's question, I think it is pretty much fine to have a theme without telling others - but the most important thing is that fair cluing must not be compensated. However, in this puzzle, there are quite a few clues which are quite forced - NERITIC (a CD?!), TACTIC and some enumeration issues to boot. Given it is a puzzle written for a personal reason, such errors are bound to get critics sharpening their axes.

All that said I have to concede I am not much in favour of a personal celebration in a national newspaper (did not like Neyartha's celebrations for 100, either). Instead, it will be charming if a few setters jointly write a congratulatory puzzle. It would be an extremely lovely gesture and has happened quite a few times in British puzzles.

Bhavan said...

At the risk of inviting the wrath of setters all over...

Whether they are necessary to solve clues or whether they are incidental, my personal opinion is that ninas, pangrams, themes and other such special features are a setter's way of saying 'see how clever I am'.

Let me hasten to add that there is nothing wrong with that. Setters are entitled to leave a stamp on their own puzzle any way they see fit.

No two solvers might have the same opinion about a normal puzzle, so not surprised Tony's puzzle has attracted different reactions.

I'd like to congratulate him on the happy occasion and also for his effort to commemorate it.

Shyam said...

Bhavan, forget thematic puzzles or setting puzzles itself, isn't even being associated with crosswords a mark of cleverness? Moreover if setters, puzzlers and quiz-masters can't be clever, who else in the world can?

In crosswords, there is never a debate about cleverness, it's always fairness where arguments come into play. Occasionally an unsuccessful solver may make a remark about the setter's cleverness, but that goes down as a personal attack and is highly unwelcome.