Monday, December 24, 2012

My Top Ten Clues 2012

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top-ten-crossword-clues It is that time when I post my personal favourite cryptic crossword clues of the year. I found it hard to whittle down the list to ten, what with the variety of gems from debuting setters with fresh styles - notably Picaroon of the Guardian, Rorschach of the Independent and Lightning of The Hindu. Eventually I gravitated towards my usual soft spots - the crackling &lit, innovative wordplay and sly surfaces.

Here are my top ten clues of 2012. Take a stab at solving them. Enjoy!

Sunday Times 4474 (Tim Moorey): Reconstructing roughly? (7,7) C______ ______S

Guardian 25823 (Arachne): It might drop me, if uninitiated in its use (9) T_______E

Times 25169: Taking betrothal with zeal, I failed to get a grip on matrimony, ultimately? (9,6) E________ _____R

Guardian 25638 (Picaroon): He has left the property (7) T_____E

Sunday Times 4467 (Dean Mayer): Heavy weight is breaking wooden floor (8) A______H

THC 10505 (Textrous): So this may be a 'dots' animal? (9) D_______N

Independent 8130 (Klingsor): As one's awfully mean, small tips for waiters ensue (2,5) __ M____

Sunday Times 4506 (Dean Mayer): Danger - albeit rum - at sea (7,8) B______ _______E

FT13968 (Dante): When models that have lost their shape are employed? (6) S_____

Guardian 25697 (Orlando): Mafia-style base? (6,4) F_____ ___T

Which cryptic clues will you pick for your Best Of 2012 list?

Wish you a happy Christmas and lots of joy for the New Year.

[Update: See comments for answers.]

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24 comments

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

Got a few on first pass (I think):

1) CUTTING CORNERS (Anagram and &lit)

4) TESTATE (THE - HE + ESTATE). Deletion, charade and &lit

5) ASTONISH = FLOOR (AS(TON+IS)H). This gets my vote so far, but a tough choice

6) DALMATION (could be DALMATIAN, which is the more common spelling, but am assuming it is also an anagram of dot+animal. The s in dots somehow casts a shadow on an otherwise neat clue

8) BERMUDA TRIANGLE (anagram and &lit)

9) SELDOM (CD + anagram of MODELS)

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

10) FAMILY SEAT (anagram of MAFIA STYLE). Am not sure this is necessarily an &lit

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

2) TIGHTROPE. The penny dropped at last, though the solution was not too difficult, the parsing had me stumped. Take off the initial letters of first four words, anagram and &lit.
Just changed my vote!

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

Modification to 2: no anagram, sorry

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

7) EN MASSE (MEAN* + S(small) + SE (tips/ends of waiters and ensue)

SandhyaP said...

Hi Shuchi, How about posting your top ten Hindu crossword clues (2012)?

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan said...

Sunday Times 4474 (Tim Moorey): Reconstructing roughly? C______ ______S
Ans: &Lit CUTTING CORNERS(Reconstructing*)
Sunday Times 4506 (Dean Mayer): Danger - albeit rum - at sea (7,8)
Ans: &Lit BERMUDA TRIANGLE (Danger albeit rum*)
Guardian 25697 (Orlando): Mafia-style base?(6,4) F_____ ___T
ANS; FAMILY SEAT(Mafia style*)

raghunath said...

Reconstructing roughly? (7,7) CUTTING,CORNERS*
It might drop me, if uninitiated in its use (9) T_______E
Taking betrothal with zeal, I failed to get a grip on matrimony, ultimately? (9,6) E________ _____R
He has left the property (7) (T -HE)ESTATE
Heavy weight is breaking wooden floor (8)AS(TON)(IS)H. Ash: Wooden
So this may be a 'dots' animal? (9) DALMATIAN
As one's awfully mean, small tips for waiters ensue (2,5) (EN,MA*)+S+S+E Small. waiterS, ensuE
Danger - albeit rum - at sea (7,8) BREMUDA,TRIANGLE*
When models that have lost their shape are employed? (6) SELDOM*
Mafia-style base? (6,4) FAMILY,EAST*

Shuchi said...

Hi Sandhya,

I haven't solved THC daily in 2012 and might miss some good clues if I make a top ten list. I'd love to know your personal THC favourites - would you share them here?

PS: I'm keeping the solutions hidden for another week, so that readers who are away on year-end vacation also get to try solving them.

Hint for clue#3: The answer is a person's name.

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan said...

Guessed after reading your hint.

Times 25169: Taking betrothal with zeal, I failed to get a grip on matrimony, ultimately? (9,6) E________ _____R
Is it ELIZABETH TAYLOR? (betrothal+zeal+ I+y*)
THC 10505 (Textrous): So this may be a 'dots' animal? (9) D_______N
DALMATIAN

sreelakshmi as said...

Loved the clues! I had a fine time cracking them, could get only two of them for now :(
Sunday Times 4474 (Tim Moorey): Reconstructing roughly? (7,7) C______ ______S

(CUTTING CORNERS)* &lit

Taking betrothal with zeal, I failed to get a grip on matrimony, ultimately? (9,6) E________ _____R

(ELIZABETH TA(Y)LOR)* &lit
A fantastic clue!

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

Had quite forgotten about this post, but the e-mail alert revived my interest, and with the helpful hint (thanks Shuchi), No. 3 should be ELIZABETH TAYLOR.

Haven't been making a list of top clues, so I don't want to put in something here as a placeholder. But maybe I will start keeping a log for 2013.

Happy New Year to all

David Hampton said...

#3 at last! Elizabeth Taylor (betrothal zeal I y)*

Happy New Year Shuchi!

Shuchi said...

More hints:

#5: The definition is 'floor'.

#6: Composite anagram.

#7: The definition is 'as one'.

#9: Look for an anagram.

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

Shuchi, apropos your last comment, I think I had gotten them and responded quite some time back. Not sure now if the comment ever reached? Or is it for the benefit of a wider audience and you are still holding the answers back?

Shuchi said...

Hi Bhala,

Your answers are all there, keeping them hidden for another couple of days since traffic was lean in the last week of December.

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan said...

Trying with the help of hints given by you.
FT13968 (Dante): When models that have lost their shape are employed? (6) S_____
Ans: SELDOM (models*)
Sunday Times 4467 (Dean Mayer): Heavy weight is breaking wooden floor (8) A______H
Ans: ASTONISH
(got TON(heavy weight) and IS ,but for "ASH" i don't know how to annotate that part)
Independent 8130 (Klingsor): As one's awfully mean, small tips for waiters ensue (2,5) __ M____
ANS: EN MASSE {MEAN+S(mall)+SE(tips of waters and ensue}}

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan said...

I am just a solver, not an expert like you,but I liked these two clues very much,because I found the 2 very interesting.
Thanks for explaining both the clues Shuchi!

ET 191 Removal of these from the ear will give her chances (4)
Telegraph Toughie 886 (Elkamere): R 60 (10) THREESCORE

sreelakshmi as said...

THC 10505 (Textrous): So this may be a 'dots' animal? (9) D_______N
DALMATION (DOTS ANIMAL-SO)* &lit
:D Amazing!

Shuchi said...

Thanks for your answers and comments on the clues. Happy New Year once again to each one of you.

The consolidated answers:
Sunday Times 4474 (Tim Moorey): Reconstructing roughly? (7,7) CUTTING CORNERS
(RECONSTRUCTING)* &lit.

Guardian 25823 (Arachne): It might drop me, if uninitiated in its use (9) TIGHTROPE
Initial letters removed from 'iT mIGHT dROP mE', &lit.

Times 25169: Taking betrothal with zeal, I failed to get a grip on matrimony, ultimately? (9,6) ELIZABETH TAYLOR
Last letter of 'matrimonY' in (BETROTHALZEALI)*, &lit. Elizabeth Taylor was engaged/married several times.

Guardian 25638 (Picaroon): He has left the property (7) TESTATE
THE - HE + ESTATE (property), &lit.

Sunday Times 4467 (Dean Mayer): Heavy weight is breaking wooden floor (8) ASTONISH
TON (heavy weight) IS, in ASH (wooden); definition: floor (verb).

THC 10505 (Textrous): So this may be a 'dots' animal? (9) DALMATION
(SO + DALMATION)* = (DOTS + ANIMAL), &lit.

Independent 8130 (Klingsor): As one's awfully mean, small tips for waiters ensue (2,5) EN MASSE
(MEAN)* S (small) last letters of 'waiterS ensuE'; definition: as one.

Sunday Times 4506 (Dean Mayer): Danger - albeit rum - at sea (7,8) BERMUDA TRIANGLE
(DANGER ALBEIT RUM)*, &lit.

FT13968 (Dante): When models that have lost their shape are employed? (6) SELDOM
(MODELS)*, &lit

Guardian 25697 (Orlando): Mafia-style base? (6,4) FAMILY SEAT
(MAFIA STYLE)*, with 'base' as the anagrind, &lit - the whole clue being a "whimsical definition punning on 'mafia-style' = 'family' and 'base' = 'seat'", as Orlando puts it.

Bhalchandra Pasupathy said...

The vice of not spending enough time to parse the clue properly is that one doesn't appreciate the intricacy and worse still may criticise it.

Am truly guilty of that for 'DALMATIAN', wonderful clue when seen in the right context

Chaturvasi said...

THC 10505 (Textrous): So this may be a 'dots' animal? (9) DALMATION
(SO + DALMATION)* = (DOTS + ANIMAL), &lit.
---
Is there a mistake in the clue itself? Or is just the solution given wrongly? I thought the dog is spelt DALMATIAN.

Shuchi said...

My bad, of course. The clue is fine, with a single 'O' in the fodder.

The answer is DALMATIAN.

sreelakshmi as said...

Sorry- even I spelt it Dalmation !:(