Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wanting a Clue Study?

A word that can take on multiple meanings, and can conform to different parts of speech, becomes a powerful tool in the hands of a cryptic setter. 'Can' and 'about' are classic examples that come to mind. In this post, guest author Chaturvasi (Rishi) writes about another word that shows this kind of malleability.

Wanting in Cryptic Clues Recently when I saw a comment by a blogger on Fifteensquared, about the setter of a crossword having used 'wanting' thrice in the same puzzle, I did a search for the term in the website's database and was struck by the various ways in which the word is used in writing clues. Let's take a look at them.

1. Deletion Indicator

'Wanting', in the sense of 'lacking' (e.g. the audience is wanting in attention), is an instruction to delete something to obtain a component in the word breakup.

One way to read 'A wanting B' is as 'A lacking B' (A – B), but if you are willing to give the setter some licence, you can also read it as 'A-wanting B' (B – A). Indeed, as with other double-edged indicators, 'A wanting B' can be seen in popular puzzles working the deletion both ways.

Example of A wanting B => (A – B):
Independent on Sunday 1326 (Commoner): English teacher wanting love wears attractive item of jewellery (10,4) ENGAGEMENT RING
ENGAGING (attractive) around {E + MENTR}. Here, 'teacher wanting love' = MENTOR (teacher) – O (love) = MENTR.

Example of A wanting B => (B – A):
Independent 8678 (Tyrus): British wanting more intelligent prince (7) RAINIER
B-wanting BRAINIER (more intelligent)

2. Containment Indicator

When read as 'needing', 'wanting' may be a signal to take one component of wordplay inside another.

Times Quiptic 262 (Flamande): Better half wanting everyone to join in dancing (6) BALLET
BET (half of 'BETter') wanting i.e. taking in ALL (everyone)

3. Deletion Indicator – with 'not'

Since 'wanting' is 'needing', 'not wanting' is 'not needing' – and this can be called upon to drop letters from the fodder.

FT 14980 (Mudd): Country separating couple, not wanting a loving relationship between men (8) BROMANCE
OMAN (country) in {BRACE (couple) not wanting i.e. dropping A}

Note that - thanks to the different meanings of the word - both 'wanting' and 'not wanting' can lead to the same effect of deletion in wordplay.

Don't be too hung up on reading 'wanting' as clue type indicator, though. The next few sections show why.

4. Part of wordplay component definition 

'Wanting' may just be a definition of a wordplay component that acts as building block for the answer. As in:

Guardian 26370 (Paul): Forger not wanting to be seen around university (6) SMITHY
SHY (not wanting to be seen) around MIT (university)

Independent on Sunday 1332 (Poins): Composer not wanting to embrace Russian leader (4) ORFF
OFF (not wanting) aroun R[ussian]

5. Part of definition

Sometimes 'wanting' may be a part of the (often elaborate) definition for the required solution. See:

Guardian 26350 (Pasquale): Sister's eaten enough – picky type wanting a bit of everything? (7) SAMPLER
SR (sister) around AMPLE (enough)

6. Link between definition and subsidiary indication

In the sense of 'summoning', 'calling upon', 'demanding', 'wanting' is often used as a connector between definition and subsidiary indication (SI).

Here are some examples of its use as <definition> wanting <SI>:

Guardian 26568 (Rufus): Part of the UK wanting tax to come down (8) SCOTLAND
SCOT (tax) LAND (to come down)

Guardian 26649 (Pasquale): Those out for pleasure wanting seductive lady start to finish? (8) TRIPPERS
STRIPPER (seductive lady) with the first letter shifted to the end

Though the connector works far more convincingly in the order <definition>wanting<SI>, one does come across <SI> wanting <definition> too in published puzzles. See:

FT 14994 (Armonie): A group of people wanting the last word (4) AMEN
A MEN (group of people)

7. Link within subsidiary indication - buttress for other indicators

'Wanting' has the agreeable ability to position itself as innocuous filler within the subsidiary indication. Its presence can improve the surface without marring the cryptic reading.

In this clue, 'wanting' joins the charade components together:

Independent 9018 (Dac): Broke in, wanting glue to sniff (9) INSOLVENT
IN + SOLVENT (form of glue sniffed for intoxication)

In the next clue, 'wanting' supports initial letter deletion:

Independent 8922 (Dac); Heckle, wanting leader removed? That's the spirit (6) ARRACK
BARRACK (heckle) – B (leading letter of 'BARRACK')

In this one, 'wanting' pads the hidden reversal indicators:

Guardian 26566 (Picaroon): In China, millions wanting return for capital (4) LIMA
LIME hidden reversed in 'chinALIMillions'

8. Finally, all this knowledge may be useless in solving

The Hindu Crossword 10411 (Sankalak): Unable to bear it, wanting hint, Tod's confused (15) NOTWITHSTANDING
(WANTINGHINTTODS)*

Solve These

Independent 8904 (Quixote): Animated adult wanting wickedness overthrown (5) _L___
Times 25927: Such is Pope, a certain person wanting to prevent war (11) P_A________
Independent 8761 (Dac): Right-wingers caught infiltrating union, briefly wanting us out (11) U_______O__
Guardian 26289 (Nutmeg): Decline to follow sun, wanting experience of shade (4,5) __G_ ____N
FT 14564 (Alberich): I'll enter plea, not wanting second bit of jury duty (6) E_____

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9 comments

Raghunath said...

Independent 8904 (Quixote): A(LIVE<-)
Times 25927: PEACEKEEPER Po(pe, a ce)rtain person
Independent 8761 (Dac): UN(CONS)(C)IO(US )-N.
Guardian 26289 (Nutmeg): S(AGE) (GREEN)
FT 14564 (Alberich): EXC(I)(-u)SE Is "I'll enter" OK or should it have been "I enter" or "I'd entered"?

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan (LV) said...

Hi,
A bit tough one.

Independent 8904 (Quixote): Animated adult wanting wickedness overthrown (5) _L___ ALIVE - A(dult) LIVE <- ( EVIL) def: animated

Times 25927: Such is Pope, a certain person wanting to prevent war (11) P_A________ PEACEKEEPER ( PEACE IS IN poPE A CErtain , no anno for KEEPER ) def: person wanting to prevent war

Independent 8761 (Dac): Right-wingers caught infiltrating union, briefly wanting us out (11)U_______O__

Guardian 26289 (Nutmeg): Decline to follow sun, wanting experience of shade (4,5) __G_ ____N SAGE GREEN - Sun AGE(decline) GREEN (wanting experience)

FT 14564 (Alberich): I'll enter plea, not wanting second bit of jury duty (6) E_____ EXCISE - EXC(-U - second bit of jury) I (I from I'll - enter c/c) SE

Bombadil said...

1. ALIVE
A (film rating) + EVIL (reversal) / wanting as concatenation indicator

5. EXCISE
EXC{-U+I}SE / wanting as deletion indicator

Nadathur Rajan said...

adult A wanting wickedness overthrown EVIL<= Defn: Animated A(LIVE<=)

Pope, a certain (these words keep PEACE). Defn: person wanting to prevent war PEACEKEEPER

Right-wingers CONS caught C infiltrating (Insertion Indicator) union, briefly UNIO[-n] wanting us US Defn: out {UN(CONS)(C)IO[-n]}{US}

Decline AGE to follow sun S, wanting experience GREEN Defn: shade S(AGE) (GREEN)

I'll enter (+I) plea EXCUSE, not wanting second bit of jury [-u] Defn: duty EXC[-u](+I)SE

Shuchi said...

@Raghunath: Props for getting them all.

"I'll enter" is fine. "I enter" or "I'd entered" don't work as well in the cryptic reading [Ref: I am not OK but I must be OK].

@LV, @Bombadil: Well solved. I agree the clues were tough this time!

Shuchi said...

All the answers:

Independent 8904 (Quixote): Animated adult wanting wickedness overthrown (5) ALIVE
A (adult) EVIL (wickedness) overthrown i.e. reversed; 'wanting' is a link within subsidiary indication - supporting the charade,

Times 25927: Such is Pope, a certain person wanting to prevent war (11) PEACEKEEPER
'Pope a certain' is an example of 'peacekeeper' since 'poPEACErtain' has PEACE within it; 'wanting' is a part of definition.

Independent 8761 (Dac): Right-wingers caught infiltrating union, briefly wanting us out (11) UNCONSCIOUS
CONS (right-wingers) C (caught), inside UNIO[n] + US; 'wanting' is a link within subsidiary indication - supporting the charade.

Guardian 26289 (Nutmeg): Decline to follow sun, wanting experience of shade (4,5) SAGE GREEN
S (sun) AGE (decline) GREEN (wanting experience); 'wanting' is a part of wordplay component definition.

FT 14564 (Alberich): I'll enter plea, not wanting second bit of jury duty (6) EXCISE
I will enter EXCUSE (plea) without [j]U[ry]; 'wanting' works as a deletion indicator with 'not'

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan (LV) said...

More than clues, it's the `wanting' which made the clues tough to solve :D

Nadathur Rajan said...

Solution submitted well before the answers were posted.
Somehow, appear to have been missed.

Shuchi said...

@Nadathur Rajan: Sorry about that! Not sure why, but blogger had filed it into the Spam folder. Your answers are published now - they are all correct as usual!