Saturday 3 July 2010

Some Really Good Cryptic Definitions

cryptic-definition-clues The Hindu Crossword solvers have been talking of the high number of cryptic definition clues in M Manna's current run of crosswords. It is no secret that Colonel Gopinath of THCC is not a fan of this clue type. He will be happy to know that Ximenes was on his side, and from what I hear, American cryptic crosswords do not allow CDs either.

For me, a good cryptic definition is most impressive, a reflection of the setter's maturity and command over the language. Writing a cryptic definition also possibly requires more courage – it has higher chances of "flopping", like cracking a joke which gets no laughs if the audience doesn't understand it or if the audience sees it long before the punch line comes.

From the solver's perspective, one difficulty with CDs is that you either get them or you don't - there is no subsidiary indication to help. But when the penny drops on a really juicy CD, it is worth going through that ambiguity. All I ask of the setter is not to let many CDs accumulate in the same part of the grid so that we get some help with checking.

The trouble with M Manna’s crosswords, to me, is not the high number of cryptic definitions but that they are poor cryptic definitions. Many are straight clues weakly trying to be cryptic (which reminds me – if you have not added your vote in the Poll: Non-Cryptic Clues In The Hindu Crossword, do so now – last day today! Results will be announced early next week.)

To offset the spate of bad CDs in THC, sharing with you a few CDs that I like. I hope you will like them too.

Guardian 24983 (Gordius): Enlightenment for the masses? (8) S L _ _ M _ _ _
FT 13036 (Viking): Good place for stiff doubles? (8) W _ _ _ O _ K _
Guardian (Rufus): Made up a number (8) C _ _ P _ _ _ D
Times : What's needed when jumper is in such a state? (3, 6) N _ _ / J _ _ S _ _
FT 13326 (Bradman): Coach after a bit of magic? (7) P _ _ P _ _ N

Post your answers as comments. Will publish them on Monday 5th July.


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Anonymous said...

Guardian (Rufus): Made up a number (8) COMPOSED

Times : What's needed when jumper is in such a state? (3, 6) NEW JERSEY

FT 13326 (Bradman): Coach after a bit of magic? (7) PUMPKIN Very good clue. Confession: I onelooked.

Shuchi said...

Congrats, you've got them all right!

The other answers are updated as well, on the main post.

raju umamaheswaer said...

I think PUMPKIN and SLIMMING are a bit too far-fetched.

Can someone annotate for me?


Shuchi said...


PUMPKIN: In Cinderella, a pumpkin turned into a coach after a bit of magic. The same story give rise to the expression "to turn into a pumpkin".

SLIMMING: masses = weight, enlightenment = a cryptic way of saying "the process of making lighter".

Steve Ball said...

FT 13036 (Viking): Good place for stiff doubles? (8) W _ _ _ O _ K _ is WAXWORKS

Steve = : ^ )