Monday 9 November 2009

To = Closed

The Count, understanding my anxiety, opened [the door], went out, and pulled it to after him. - 'The Woman In White' by Wilkie Collins, 1859

pull-it-to It's funny how what we read comes in handy in unexpected ways, when we solve crosswords.

The expression 'pull the door to' means to bring the door into closed position. This would not occur readily to me, but I had been reading the above quoted passage only a few hours before I saw this clue in The Hindu Sunday crossword:

Stand by tower, closed (4,2)

With the 'TO = closed' connection fresh in mind, this wasn't so inaccessible.

Another recent clue that takes advantage of this meaning of TO:

Guardian 24841 (Enigmatist): Just about closed in big deal with medical instrumentation (8) O{TO}S COPE

Have you seen the opposite, i.e. the word 'to' in the clue leading to 'closed'/'shut' in the solution? If set well, it's sure to take the solver by surprise - we are so tuned to dismissing 'to' as a harmless connector.

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