Take a close look at this clue:
Away from home, in the open, dies in battle (7) OUTSIDE
OUT (in the open) (DIES)*; Definition: away from home
The etymology of OUTSIDE is OUT + SIDE, so the clue partly recycles the definition of OUTSIDE in its wordplay OUT (DIES)*.
Try another:What's used as a religious setting on a piece of furniture (7) RETABLE
RE (on) TABLE (piece of furniture); definition: what's used as a religious setting
The word RETABLE originates from medieval Latin retrotabulum which stands for 'rear table'. In this clue's wordplay, RETABLE splits along its natural etymological join (RE+TABLE), with TABLE retaining its furniture meaning.
Both of those clues show signs of definition/wordplay etymology crossover.
Understanding "definition/wordplay etymology crossover"
When the wordplay of a cryptic clue is etymologically related to its answer, it is a case of definition/wordplay etymology crossover.
You have a definition/wordplay etymology crossover on hand if:
- The answer is SPACESHIP, the wordplay is SPACE + SHIP
- The answer is LULLABY, the wordplay is LULL + [b]ABY
- The answer is MECHANIC, the wordplay is (MACHINE)* + C
- The answer is ENCLOSES, the wordplay is mEN CLOSE Something [T]
Is this wrong?
In double definition clues, it is widely accepted as good clueing practice to avoid etymology crossover between the two definitions. The same isn't universally followed with other clue types.
In his CU interview, David Stickley mentioned the "no definition/wordplay etymology crossover" rule as applicable to US cryptics, while being acceptable as a setter's tool in UK and Australia. I notice though that some setters of UK cryptics too avoid this device.
In his blog, Australian setter David Astle calls out such clues as "hookworms" in round-ups of weakly constructed clues.
Definition/wordplay etyomology crossover often results in wordplay that is not very cryptic. Crafting a smooth surface exacts less imagination from the setter when the wordplay echoes the definition.
What do you think?
Fine or flawed – what's your take?
Three words, two clues for each word: one with definition/wordplay etymology crossover, the other without. Enjoy solving and spotting which one.
Rampant war arising always without peacekeepers (7)
One's taken flight to travel across the Channel (7)
Gangster abandoning accepted rule (4)
Turned on by jolly type (4)
Lost hour of sleep's restored (8)
To expect little is being negative (8)
[Thanks to setter Aakash Sridhar (Axe/Exa) for contributing all the clues for this post.]
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