Monday 14 December 2009

Letter Exchange


In the letter exchange clue type, two letters switch positions to give the solution. That's a variation on letter shifting, in which a single letter changes position.

Examples of words that can be clued by letter exchange:

SHUT: swap the letters S and T to get THUS
NOTE: swap the letters N and T to get TONE

Letter Exchange Clue Structure: The clue consists of -
1. Solution definition
2. Definition of the source word
3. Letter exchange Indicator

Times 24399: Doomed king switching sides? True(4) {L}EA{R} –> {R}EA{L}
Solution definition: True
Definition of the source word: Doomed king
Letter exchange indicator: switching sides, indicates swapping L and R in LEAR (doomed king)

Letter Exchange Clue Characteristics

  • Most commonly, the exchange happens between the first and last letters of the word, or two adjacent letters anywhere in the word.

  • The indicator may mention the two letters to be swapped, or the positions of these letters. In case of switch between adjacent letters, the indicator might be less specific with only something like "internal exchange" to signal letter swapping.

  • The exchange can happen not just between two single letters but between groups of letters.
    Example Azed 1956: What, typically, has two halves, these being switched to a great extent (4)
    The two halves GA and ME of GAME (what, typically, has two halves) swap positions to give MEGA.

  • A good clue leaves no ambiguity about which is the source word, which the answer - but with this clue type there's a higher chance of finding a not-so-great clue in which the distinction isn't obvious. In such cases, it's best to wait for a few checking letters before filling in the answer in the grid. 

Solve These

Times 23530: Whatever happens, queen's gown must exchange hands! (10)
Guardian 24797 (Taupi): Dull reasons for spies switching sides (7)

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Raghunath said...

Hi Shuchi,
Guardian 24797 (Taupi): Dull reasons for spies switching sides (7)

Shuchi said...

Yes raghunath. I like how "reasons for" is used in the clue.

The setter Taupi died in July this year. This clue is from one of his puzzles published posthumously.

maddy said...

Whatever happens, queen's gown must exchange hands! (10)


Shuchi said...

I had almost posted a hint for the REGARDLESS clue when your comment came in, maddy. Bingo!

Chaturvasi said...

Whatever happens, queen's gown must exchange hands! (10)


Okay, maddy! REGAL DRESS becomes REGAR DLESS. Now how do we give the push for the two words to merge into one? By merely putting it in the slot?

How would the gown exchange its hands without the intervention of a tailor?

Suppose it were "Whatever happens, hands of queen's gown must be interchanged" I can understand that the queen's tailors will come in later for the alteration.

Maybe we should not read too much into the clues? What do you think?

Shuchi said...

CVasi Sir, I think it's all right for two words to become one - that's how charade clues work after all - the only addition here is combining it with letter exchange.

Whatever happens, queen's gown must exchange hands! (10)

On the surface I was interpreting "exchange hands" to mean handing over to another. Suppose the gown is being made by tailorA who has, of late, lost favour with the queen (maybe the last gown he made got booed by the fashion press). So, the queen's PR people say - come what may, this gown must be given to tailorB for completion.

Now that you point it out, it seems too much reading between the lines (and "change hands" would convey it better than "exchange hands"), but when I saw the clue I read it this way quite naturally.

Pinaki said...

Best part of the post is the pictorial clue on top!!


Māyā said...

REGAL DRESS becomes REGARDLESS by swapping hands - L and R (left and right). Which of the 'R's is to be exchanged with the 'L' is ambiguous.

Shuchi said...

Thank you Charles, good catch!