Monday 25 June 2012

Other meanings of OR

gold-men-OR My last post was about the doubtful use of 'alternative' for OR in crossword clues.

If 'alternative' has gained popularity as a way of clueing OR, it is not for lack of alternatives. Let's see some other devices crossword setters make use of to encode that 2-letter sequence.

OR is gold

In heraldry, Or (from the French word for 'gold') is a gold or yellow tincture, of the class of tinctures called metals.

Times 25137: Worth depositing gold for investment by firm (8) STORABLE
OR (gold) in STABLE (firm); definition: worth depositing

Times Sunday 4391: Posh car on motorway with yellow glass (6) MIRROR
RR (posh car i.e. Rolls Royce) on M1 (motorway), OR (yellow)

The yellow meaning is put to clever use in this clue:

Independent 7864 (Tees): Shout at one repaying loan or more? (9) YELLOWER
YELL (shout) OWER (one repaying loan); definition: or more i.e. more yellow.

OR is men

Non-commissioned members of the British army, RAF or Royal Marines are called Other Ranks, OR in short. So OR becomes a handy replacement in the answer for words like 'men' or 'soldiers' in the clue.

Guardian 25661 (Arachne): Severely criticised and curtailed American right to lock up men (4,5) TORE APART
TEA PART[y] (American right, curtailed) around OR (men)

OR is Oregon

The abbreviation of the American state of Oregon.

Guardian 24031 (Brendan): Liberal policy in West Coast state, welcoming writer to party circle (4,4) OPEN DOOR
OR (West Coast state), around PEN (writer) DO (party) O (circle); definition: liberal policy. Interestingly, the writer of this clue Brendan lives in Oregon.

OR is a Boolean operator

In Boolean algebra, OR is the digital logic gate that represents logical disjunction. Implementations in electronics and computer programming are based on the Boolean OR, such as the bitwise operator.

The words 'gate' or 'operator' on the clue's surface can be deceptive fronts for OR.

FT 14012 (Gaff): English car with operator fault (5) ERROR
E (English) car (RR) OR (operator)

OR is before (archaic)?

Dictionaries list 'before' as an archaic meaning of OR but I have not come across this usage in cryptic clues. Too obscure for daily cryptics?

Solve These

Times 24601: Lazy person's aim: to stash away gold for retirement (5) D____
Times 25167: Men getting band together as auditions are done (6) __A___
THC 10262 (Buzzer): Goldsmith for one, plated thorium with gold on either side (6)

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Nadathur Rajan said...

1) (OR in END) reversed = {D(RO)NE} <-
2) men OR banding together ALLY = ORALLY
3) Thorium TH with gold on either side (AU and OR on either side)
AU is the chemical symbol for gold and stands for Aurum, the Latin word for gold.
AU TH OR (Oliver Goldsmith is an author)

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan said...

THC 10262 (Buzzer): Goldsmith for one, plated thorium with gold on either side (6)
Ans: AUTHOR Anno: (Thorium-)TH +(Gold) AU and OR (on either side).
Times 25167: Men getting band together as auditions are done (6) __A___
ORALLY Anno: (Men)-OR + (Band together)ALLY

Anonymous said...

Goldsmith for one, plated thorium with gold on either side (6)-
Nice one!

Chesterley said...

There's also "operating room" and its synonym, "surgery".

Anonymous said...


Liked the last one best. Keep 'em coming. A paraphrased quote from Goldsmith in appreciation of Shuchi:

"And still they gaz'd and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all she knew."

Shuchi said...

Good answers Nadathur Rajan, Lakshmi, sreelakshmi, Kishore.

@Chesterley: I don't recall coming across OR = operating room/surgery in the crosswords I solve. Is it an American abbreviation? ER = 'Emergency Room' or 'US hospital area' is used a lot more.

@Kishore: Thank you very much :)