Clue types in a DT crossword

February 15, 2010

An explanation of how the answers are derived in DT Cryptic No. 26164 is available in my blog here:

http://bigdave44.com/2010/02/15/dt-26164/

This is an attempt to classify the clues by their type and analyse the crossword further.

Do leave a comment if you differ in the classification of any clue.

We find that of the 32 clues, the maximum are wordsum (WS) with 8 (I think that in any crossword usually these are bound to be more than any other clue type). Next in descending order: anagram (anag) 6 and double definition, also 6; cryptic definition (CD) 5; container contained (CC) 2; word sum with anagram (WSwAnag), also 2; wordsum with container contained (WSwCC) 1; cryptic and double definition (C&DD), also 1; and antonymic (Ant) also 1.

Abbreviations used:

CD – Cryptic definition
DD – double definition
WS – word sum (also known as charade or combination or as word after word)
Anag – anagram
WSwAnag – Word sum where one component is an anagram
WSwCC – Word sum where one component is a CC
CC – container/contained or word within word (whether one is taken around another or whether is one is inserted in another
C&DD – Cryptic and double definition
Ant – Antonymic (clue-type name that I have just coined: if there is any precedence I shall withdraw this claim

Note: The order of clue types in chart from left to right is the same as from top to bottom in the vertical column alongside

Across
1a Does he take a chance, or just think about it? (10)
SPECULATOR – DD
9a Peas and carrots are given a star (4)
VEG A – WS
10a Point to one duke or another (10)
WELLINGTON – WS
11a Cut by a quarter? That’s serious (6)
SEVER E – WS
12a It could be disastrous when I.O.U runs out (7)
RUINOUS – Anag
15a Aunt Sal unexpectedly seen in harem (7)
SULTANA – Anag
16a Persuade an agency girl to start typing (5)
TEMP T – WS
17a Intervals quietly employed in empty talk (4)
GA(P)S – CC
18a Animal quarters, perhaps (4)
HIND – C&DD
19a Jacket cut in style (5)
TUNIC – Anag
21a A place of current conflict (4,3)
TIDE RIP – CD
22a Bitterness associated with an age old craft (7)
GALL (EON)* -WSwAnag
24a Quick, the doctor’s in the river! (6)
NI(MB)LE – CC
27a Their union offers security (4,3,3)
LOCK AND KEY – CD
28a Property to come down (4)
LAND – DD
29a Going for acquittal (7,3)
GETTING OFF – DD

Down
2d Aristocrat always preceded by a page (4)
P E’ER – WS
3d Pillar of the press? (6)
COLUMN – CD
4d It results in a certain jumpiness among rugby players (4-3)
LINE-OUT – CD
5d Child has a point to convey (4)
TOT E – WS
6d Becomes exhausted and exits hurriedly (4,3)
RUNS OUT – DD
7d Davies seen playing a form of Rugby (5-1-4)
SEVEN-A-SIDE – Anag
8d Manager we’d ordered to run the wild life reserve (4,6)
GAME WARDEN – Anag
12d Corner at 90 (5,5)
RIGHT ANGLE – CD
13d I’m in prison without money, that’s the snag (10)
IMPEDIMENT – WSwCC
14d Arrangement not laid down? (3-2)
SET-UP – Antonymic
15d Twig a starting price swindle (5)
SP RIG – WS
19d Interval elapsing before giving sentence to a convict (4,3)
TIME LAG – WS
20d Drink in the fresh air next to tents (7)
CAMP (ARI)* – WSwAnag
23d Pet greyhound? (6)
LAPDOG – DD
25d Tax which makes a difference to cost (4)
SCOT – Anag
26d Grouse meat (4)
BEEF – DD

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Hard twists in clues

February 1, 2010

This is an addendum to the usual blog on Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26152 that I posted in Big Dave’s Telegraph Crossword Blog today ( http://bigdave44.com/2010/02/01/dt-26152/ ).

Here I wish to analyse why I thought some clues in this crossword were more difficult than others in the same puzzle.

This is not a plea to any composer that clues must be less difficult. I also realise that clues in some advanced puzzles can be even more difficult. This is just an analysis to show beginners certain elements in certain clues that delay their solving.

Let us take selected clues one by one.

Across

1 Written evidence leads to convictions (6) RECORD

The problem here is that the solver is not able to grasp immediately whether the answer is in singular or plural form. The answer is delayed until he realises that clue is a cryptic definition and is to be taken as a whole. The ‘written evidence’ here is what is let out in court proceedings and what may lead to ‘convictions’, not in the sense of ‘strong beliefs’ but ‘decisions that the person accused is guilty’. One wonders why the composer thought it fit to use ‘convictions’, for I believe that ‘conviction’ itself has the sense of belief as well as a judge’s decision.

4 Incline to wither in general (8) GRADIENT

A word that means ‘wither’ put inside the name of a general (an old general whose first name was Ulysses) gives the answer word that means ‘incline’. Here, ‘incline’ is verb in surface reading but as the definition for word required it is noun. Also, as long as the solver thinks that ‘general’ is an adjective in the sense of ‘common’, he won’t get the answer.

10 Reliable account given by priest (8) ACCURATE

An abbreviation for ‘account’ plus a word for a ‘priest’ provides the answer. If the definition had been ‘right’, ‘exact’, ‘errorless’ or ‘precise’, this clue would have been less difficult. The definition ‘reliable’ makes it hard.

13 Go round twice at speed (5) OOMPH

‘Go’ is verb in surface reading but a noun as def for word reqd. It is this element that makes this clue hard.

29 Angel fish hesitant at heart (6) CHERUB

As long as we think of Angel fish as anglefish, a kind of shark, we won’t get the answer. Here we take a word for ‘fish’ and put inside it a word for ‘hesitant’. The def is angel.

30 Friend goes to States for talks (8) PALAVERS

A word for ‘friend’ plus a word that means ‘states’,v., give a word for ‘talks’. ‘States’ in the clue has false capitalisation and it’s this adds difficulty to the novice.

31 A time for high-handedness (6) TWELVE

Cryptic definition. The answer is a number suggested by “A time” that may be by noon or midnight. “High-handedness” is when the hands of the clock (assuming that it’s an analog clock that we are looking at) point upwards. Excellent wordplay; the clever use of ‘high-handedness’ is something that beginners may find difficult.

Down

5 Go over – to the enemy once more? (12) RECAPITULATE

Definition cannot be just ‘go over’, for RECAPITULATE is ‘go over again’. But ‘once more’ comes after ‘to the enemy’. “Go over to the enemy once more” as a whole very well suggests ‘recapitulate’ for ‘go over to’ means ‘transfer allegiance to’. But when once one has capitulated to an enemy where is the question of recapitulating, so ‘once more’ seems redundant in this case. The answer is attainable but but it is not too easy.

7 Gets full satisfaction out of religious work (6) EXACTS

A prefix meaning ‘out of’ plus the title of a ‘religious work’. Definition: gets full satisfaction. I believe that if the definition had been ‘extorts’ ‘demands’ the clue would be easy (but that won’t do for the surface reading of the clue as written).

19d Collect up jumble in efficient fashion (8) ASSEMBLE

Though ‘collect’ is a synonym of the answer word, it is not the definition. It is just an instruction to string together the letters of MESS, a word meaning ‘jumble’, in reverse order (‘up’ in this Down clue) and put SSEM inside ABLE aword that means ‘efficient’. What then is the definition? It is ‘fashion’. But as def for word reqd it is verb. Thus many elements make this clue hard.