Friday 10 October 2008

Evaluating The Hindu Crossword: 9338 to 9347

the-hindu-crossword-9338-9347 On the Hindu Crossword Community that I am a member of, plenty of discussion is happening about the quality of clues puzzle nos. 9338 to 9347 by compiler Nita Jaggi.

Summarizing here some problematic aspects of the clues.

1. Giveaway definitions
While the definition should be specific enough for the clue to be fair, it need not be so obvious that the subsidiary indication becomes redundant. Clues like these can be solved even if one omits the wordplay.
9340: Father left a Catholic Earl at the king’s residence (6) PA L A C E
9346: Master reference for a female horse (4) MA RE

9347: Sound of a donkey right in bay (4) B{R}AY

2. Wrong placement of homophone indicator
The homophone indicator should appear adjacent to the secondary word. This set of puzzles had several clues where the indicator was next to the main definition, without sharing an edge with the secondary word. 
9340: Act of seeing a place of a significant event, overheard (4) SITE {~sight}
9341: Bird is fashionable, overheard (4) CHIC{~chick}
9342: Give over plant ovule, I hear (4) SEED{~cede}

3. Weak double-definitions
Double-definitions work well only when the two definitions are very different from each other. The clue is hardly cryptic when the two definitions have similar meanings.
9338: An abdominal sac having an inflatable inner bag (7) BLADDER [2]
9346: Eaten up and taken in eagerly (8) DEVOURED [2]
9347: Sufficient quantity in a large number (8) ABUNDANT [2]

4. Inappropriate anagram indicators
The anagram indicator should give a sense of scrambling or rearrangement. "at large" is all right; "largely" or "loudly" not really.
9343: Largely neared to gain (6) EARNED*
9345: Loudly cry tune for a hundred years (7) CENTURY*
9346: Largely use clog for a sugar form of energy (7)GLUCOSE*

5. Abbreviation clues
Standard abbreviations are fine for clueing short sections of the clue, but a clue that ONLY contains standard abbreviations strung together is unexciting.
9338: Sheet of glass for Father in Nebraska (4)PA NE
9342: A street ray is away from the right path (6) A ST RAY
9344: Florida or one way a shop selling flowers (7)FL OR I ST

6. Repetitive style of acrostics
Every time an acrostic clue comes up, it is neatly prefixed with the indicator "initially".  A little variety and complexity for this clue type would be welcome.
9338: Initially, mix enough sweet herbs in net like material (4) M E S H
9340: Initially, get nets and trap a fly (4) G N A T
9346: Initially, put a little mud on an oar blade (4) P A L M

7. Words from the clue used as is in the solution 
If a large portion of the solution is given away gratis, it should at least involve some pun – such as a change of meaning or part of speech. Many clues in this set handed out words to be substituted in exactly the same sense in the solution. 
9338: A detailed report of a short trip made down (7)RUNDOWN
9340: Producer of a show is a gifted entertainer (7) SHOWMAN
9346: A set of people following in a nearby area of a group of galaxies (5,5) LOCAL GROUP

8. Flawed surface reading 
A minimum expectation from a cryptic clue is coherent, grammatically correct surface reading. Many of the clues had poor or no surface meaning at all.
9339: Blotch of street article in (5) ST A IN
9345: Like back from travel even exemplary leaders put he to rest (6) AS LEEP
9346: Ringing sound of a brown head girl (4) TAN G


I’ll be writing in detail about THC 9350 to be published on Saturday 11th October 08, for the Hindu Crossword Community. Will post my article here as well.

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1 comment

Anonymous said...

my take: