Tuesday 11 August 2009

The Hindu Crossword 9608: Neyartha

Presenting awards to noteworthy clues in the grid today (THC 9608 Link).

winning-clue Winning Clue Awards: This award goes to the top two clues in the puzzle.

12A Cost in U.S. fixed to protect BSE divisions (11) SU{BSE}CTIONS*
This has all the elements that a great clue can boast of – a meaningful surface, well-chosen indicators, a definition that merges seamlessly with the wordplay, no padding and a fair challenge for the solver.

1D Critical device is malfunctioning (8) DECISIVE*
An excellent anagram, and I love how it even makes use of the "is".

giveaway Giveaway Clue Awards: This being a Neyartha crossword, there are hardly any "starter" clues. The award is to acknowledge two clues that did allow us to break into the puzzle.

18A Dangerous mania surrounds Bismuth in this country (7) NAMI{BI}A*
Easy wordplay, with Bismuth = BI but obvious. The first thing that came to mind on seeing BI was NAMIBIA.

8D Attractive Romeo's departure is inconsequential (5) P{-r}ETTY
Not exactly a "giveaway" but accessible enough. I was puzzled at first with the surface - it's opening led me to expect a different end. Later I told myself that the statement must be made by a lady sore at the Romeo's departure, trying to convince herself it doesn't matter.

not-done-surprised "Not Done" Clue Awards: This award is for the top two clues that left me feeling that they're not fair enough.

10A Cooks cheer once in harmony (9) COHERENCE*
For the cryptic grammar to be fine, an anagrind like "cook" can either be an instruction to the solver [Cook XXX], or a property of the fodder [XXX cooked]. "Cooks" as used here doesn't is not a grammatically correct anagram indicator.

Similar objection to
21D *Absence of GSM worries agronomist (7) ONTARIO*
"agronomist worried" will be fine, "worries agronomist" - no.

books "Never Knew This" Awards: New words that this puzzle has introduced to my vocabulary get this award.

Errr…when geographically-challenged solvers attempt a puzzle with names of lakes scattered all over, what else will happen except multiple "never knew this" moments and frantic Google searches?

missed-glory-award Missed Glory Awards: This is for clues that were brilliant in one aspect, but didn't quite make it in another.

28A Some men decided to conceal the fix (5) EMEND [T]
The answer spans neatly across not 2 but 3 words, without making the surface awkward – a commendable feat. The issue arises when we reach the definition – EMEND is a verb, but "the fix" can only give a noun. I don't buy the argument that the article has to be ignored.

19D The two knights involved in the disastrous raids had guts (7) I{NN}ARDS*
This has a great surface, conjuring the image of brave knights rioting. What doesn't work is the "had" – needed for the surface, but interferes with the cryptic reading.

For complete solutions to THC 9608, visit Col. Gopinath's blog.

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Raghunath said...

Hi Shuchi,

You've missed out commenting on this clue:
27 Speaker’s focus is on the characteristics of caricatures (9) PORTRAITS

What's the break up of the answer? Characteristics leads to TRAITS. How does one arrive at POR?

Shuchi said...

Hi Raghunath, I read 27A as a double-definition.

PORTRAIT is a verbal picture, so "speaker's focus". It is also a likeness of a person, so "characteristics of caricatures".

Now that you ask, I'm wondering if it is a homophone, with "speaker" doing double-duty? The use of "caricatures" points to that, since a caricature distorts the person's peculiarities.

PORTRAITS {~poor traits} ?

I've mentioned here only a few clues. There were many others I liked and also did not like, I just picked my Top Two in each category. But let me know if there's any other clue you want to discuss, we'll talk about it in the comments.

Raghunath said...


I particularly liked 1 AC [about geometry] and 7 DN. Returned present was misleading me into thinking that it was POS<-.

On the whole a good puzzle if you remove the bits about geography. But that's Neyartha, and who knows what tomorrow's puzzle would Focus on?

maddy said...

14 Clinical department loses right to take part in accord (7) ENT ENTE{-r}
Is the deletion indicator fair?? doesnt it imply take out 'r' from Clinical dept??

Shuchi said...

I agree, maddy, the deletion indicator isn't placed correctly.