Saturday 5 July 2014

Counting the Ways of Using COUNTER

counter "Counter" is one of those gifted words that map to multiple lexical categories and, like other words of its kind ("about" comes to mind), it lays open a world of wordplay opportunities for the setter. In a typical example, on the clue's surface "counter" would be a noun, in the cryptic reading a verb, an adjective or an adverb acting as wordplay indicator.

Here are some popular ways in which COUNTER gets used in clues.

1. As reversal indicator

Counter implies "in the opposite direction", a meaning used to form reversal clues.

Indy 8510 (Klingsor): Counter-revolutionary avoids opening in Leicester Square (4) NINE
LENIN (revolutionary) reversed, minus L[eicester]. NINE is a square number.

Independent 8191 (Donk): Appropriate stuff when one's expected to burst on the counter (6) PIRATE
ETA (when one's expected i.e. Expected Time of Arrival) RIP (burst), "on the counter" i.e. all reversed

2. In its nounal forms

"counter" has several meanings when it's a noun, and what's more, the word can be swapped in the answer with other crossword-friendly words – bar, chip, fish, table, etc.

Independent 8425 (Radian): Counter counter (6) ABACUS
cd; A frame used for counting with beads (counters) sliding on wires.

Times 24825: Chip against the bar (7) COUNTER
Triple definition: chip, against, bar.

Independent 8396 (Dac): Who might be unearthing rubbish on counter? (7-6) BARGAIN-HUNTER
(UNEARTHING)* on BAR (counter), &lit

3. As anagram fodder

The letters in "counter" can be sorted/combined with more letters, to produce other words/phrases for the answer.

Guardian 25964 (Rufus): Counter-productive defeat (7) TROUNCE

Independent 8245 (Hob): Name given to counter-revolutionary piece (8) NOCTURNE
N (name) (COUNTER)*

4. As part of the definition

FT 14498 (Jason): Possibly Selma saw no person on the counter? (10) SALESWOMAN

FT 14577 (Rosa Klebb): Counter-agent has Sunday off, stationed abroad (8) ANTIDOTE

Solve These

Times 25232: Original chicken counter in popular Indian (5) N____
Times 24338: Scene showing gold under the counter (7) T______ 
FT 14471 (Wanderer): Counter with winning counter, an asset in trading (10, 4) B_________ ____

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Sowmya said...

Interesting post Shuchi. Enjoyed it.. The answer to FT 14471 is BARGAINING CHIP (Counter - BAR, Winning GAINING, Counter - CHIP)

Sowmya said...

Times 24338 - TABLEAU - TABLE (Counter) + AU (Gold) - Perhaps intended as a Down clue:)

Anonymous said...

1. (NEH RU)< Chambers lists ur- as prefix for original, but the main hint came from popular Indian, which from a British viewpoint, must mean just a handful

Chesterley said...

Another one for your entertainment:

Narcotic brand on counter at back of pharmacy (6) D_____

Venkatesh said...

1. {NEH}{RU} <=
2. {TABLE}{AU}

Chesterley said...

Finally figured all of them out!

Original chicken counter in popular Indian (5)
NEH+RU (ur+hen rev.)

Scene showing gold under the counter (7)

Counter with winning counter, an asset in trading (10,4)

Krishna said...

Scene showing gold under the counter (7) TABLE + AU

Counter with winning counter, an asset in trading (10,4) The first counter is BAR. The second is CHIP. BAR + GAINING + CHIP

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan said...

Times 24338: Scene showing gold under the counter (7) T______
Times 25232: Original chicken counter in popular Indian (5) N____
(Is it "is popular Indian or in popular Indian ? )

Shuchi said...

@Sowmya: Down clue - rightly deduced.

@Kishore: Smart way of narrowing down the options! I'm sure I've seen UR = original in THC too.

@Chesterley, @Venkatesh, @Krishna: Good answers.

@LV: It is "in". On the surface, I guess "Indian" means "Indian restaurant" in an informal sense. In the cryptic reading, "in" is a connector.