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Cryptic clues

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Dave B
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Cryptic clues

#1 Postby Dave B » November 23rd, 2010, 7:29 pm

Any cryptic crossword fans here?

Even if he is a pointless grip the music is great!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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animist
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Re: Cryptic clues

#2 Postby animist » November 23rd, 2010, 7:51 pm

Dave B wrote:Any cryptic crossword fans here?

Even if he is a pointless grip the music is great!

how many letters? or is that cryptic too?

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Re: Cryptic clues

#3 Postby Dave B » November 23rd, 2010, 8:28 pm

animist wrote:
Dave B wrote:Any cryptic crossword fans here?

Even if he is a pointless grip the music is great!

how many letters? or is that cryptic too?
Ooops :redface:

5
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Re: Cryptic clues

#4 Postby animist » November 23rd, 2010, 8:48 pm

if it were 6 I would say Handel

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Dave B
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Re: Cryptic clues

#5 Postby Dave B » November 23rd, 2010, 9:13 pm

Another red face I fear :redface:

There are two composers, Handel and Handl - mine was Handl (quickly checked on Google and confused) but I meant Handel.

So you win, animist, and I go sit in the dunce's corner . . .

:laughter:
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Fia
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Re: Cryptic clues

#6 Postby Fia » November 23rd, 2010, 10:29 pm

Seeing as this thread is here, I'd be grateful if someone could elucidate some general rules for cryptic clues as I am wholly clueless...

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Nick
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Re: Cryptic clues

#7 Postby Nick » November 24th, 2010, 12:24 am

Fia wrote:Seeing as this thread is here, I'd be grateful if someone could elucidate some general rules for cryptic clues as I am wholly clueless...

My dear Fia! I thought you'd never ask!

Here's my quickguide to cryptic crosswords. :D

Unless there's a question mark (more later), divide the clue into two. One part gives you the meaning, just like a quick crossword. The other part, which may be split into several sections, will make up the word, or otherwise confirm it.

The clue will be written, more or less, as if the whole clue makes sense (which it never does). Don't fall for that one.

The clues of cryptic crosswords often include what I call "Aha!" words. These are words which, when you see them you, make you exclaim "Aha!", as you recognise a possible component of the word you are looking for. For example, doctor could be DR or MO (medical officer) or MD, "Kiss" is probably "X", queen may be ER, ambassador could be HE etc.

There may also be "doing" words, which tell you what to do. If it is something like mixed, muddled, troubled, confused, edit, awful, etc., it is likely to indicate an anagram. In, amongst, within etc., are likely to be a hidden word. "Initially", probably means take the first letter of successive words and so on.

There are other clues too, like "the French" or " the German" will probably be le, la, der, die or das. Names also feature: it could anything, but is likely to be combinations of useful letters, like ian, sue, tom, but probably not quentin, neville, etc.

There are also what I call "Ooh" words. These are words which make you say "Ooh! I wonder if that's an "Aha!" word!" Not so obvious, but a possibility nonetheless. River, for example, could be Tees, Dee, Exe, etc.

A question mark in a clue will generally mean the whole clue has a double meaning.

There you are, Fia! A flying start to solving cryptic crosswords! Another 20 years, and you'll start to get the hang of it! :D

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animist
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Re: Cryptic clues

#8 Postby animist » November 24th, 2010, 8:06 am

Dave B wrote:Another red face I fear :redface:

There are two composers, Handel and Handl - mine was Handl (quickly checked on Google and confused) but I meant Handel.

So you win, animist, and I go sit in the dunce's corner . . .

:laughter:
You're making me feel embarrassed for your embarrassment - come out of the corner, the hat doesn't suit! Actually, I thought you might be thinking of Irene Handl - not a composer as far as I know, but a great comedian(enne) who also wrote at least one novel ("The Sioux", which for about 40 years I have been meaning to read)

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Re: Cryptic clues

#9 Postby animist » November 24th, 2010, 8:21 am

I suppose we might as well have a go ourselves (not a clue). Clue (which does relate a bit to Nick's entertaining explanation): Insult Harry's friend by repeated gentle manual movements to corpus (9 letters)

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jaywhat
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Re: Cryptic clues

#10 Postby jaywhat » November 24th, 2010, 8:26 am

sounds a bit rude, animist!

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Re: Cryptic clues

#11 Postby animist » November 24th, 2010, 8:32 am

jaywhat wrote:sounds a bit rude, animist!

is that a cryptic way of saying you've got it?

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Dave B
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Re: Cryptic clues

#12 Postby Dave B » November 24th, 2010, 9:48 am

I am now unembarrassed. In addition to Irene there was a composer called Handl - no "e" - as well. There are other German words that end in "l", a "dirndl" is a sort of traditional skirt.

Fia, I will give you my favourite example of the two part clue (ex-Telegraph): "Insect I adore, it cures me. (8)" So, the comma tells me it is a two part clue; 8 letters tell me that neither word is very long - so "short" insects = ant, bee, fly (it won't be anything too exotic) . . . and there is an "I" in the middle . . . 4 letter substitute words for "adore" then; love, dote, care . . . (thesaurus useful here).

To cut a longer story short the answer is "ant I dote" = "antidote" which might cure you of poisoning. As Nick implied, English does get stretched a little at times.

Also, pronounce words in every way you can. There are "conventions" in x-words, so "flower" might mean a pretty plant sexual organ but you could also pronounce it "flow-er", something that flows, and what flows best but a river?

So, a nasty anagrammatic clue might read, "This flower upset can give you all kinds of problems. (6)" The "flower" (river) "Severn" "upset" is "nerves" and suffering with your nerves can . . . Note that the clue still has two parts really.

(Later) Because I put that clue together quickly, I did not notice another "double confusion": "This flower upset . . ." could also mean an anagram of, "This Flower" or just "flower". Six letter precludes the first but "flower" might confuse. It would take a really nasty compiler to offer a double double meaning clue like that but, no doubt there are such!
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Re: Cryptic clues

#13 Postby Fia » November 24th, 2010, 4:27 pm

Many thanks for the explanation, Nick.

When I have more time I'll apply the grey matter to cryptic clues...

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Nick
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Re: Cryptic clues

#14 Postby Nick » November 24th, 2010, 5:44 pm

animist wrote:I suppose we might as well have a go ourselves (not a clue). Clue (which does relate a bit to Nick's entertaining explanation): Insult Harry's friend by repeated gentle manual movements to corpus (9 letters)

Hmmm... having explained how to do them, I'm now struggling with this one :laughter:

So.... my guess is that the word means insult, which could well be a noun, rather than a verb.

Harry's.... hmmm... Henry could be Hal, but I doubt it for Harry

Friend.... could be pal, or mate

Corpus.... Latin for body. Why not say body? Because we need the letters?

Nope. I'm stuck. :puzzled:

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Dave B
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Re: Cryptic clues

#15 Postby Dave B » November 24th, 2010, 5:56 pm

Glad I'm not the only one!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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animist
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Re: Cryptic clues

#16 Postby animist » November 25th, 2010, 9:13 am

Nick wrote:
animist wrote:I suppose we might as well have a go ourselves (not a clue). Clue (which does relate a bit to Nick's entertaining explanation): Insult Harry's friend by repeated gentle manual movements to corpus (9 letters)

Hmmm... having explained how to do them, I'm now struggling with this one :laughter:

So.... my guess is that the word means insult, which could well be a noun, rather than a verb.

Harry's.... hmmm... Henry could be Hal, but I doubt it for Harry

Friend.... could be pal, or mate

Corpus.... Latin for body. Why not say body? Because we need the letters?

Nope. I'm stuck. :puzzled:

sorry, body would have been OK (I have not done this before); re Harry clue, think more topical and less Shakespearean. You can enjoy the prospect of revenge when you start setting yours, Nick! Here's an amended clue: Insult ceramic Harry's friend by repeated gentle manual movements to body

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animist
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Re: Cryptic clues

#17 Postby animist » November 25th, 2010, 1:52 pm

god, I am working hard on this now! Third bash as follows:

Insult ceramic Harry's friend by repeated gentle manual movements to his eyes?

Probably does not follow all the rules, but suits me - the change to "eyes" was because I realised I had not got a clue for the last three letters

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Nick
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Re: Cryptic clues

#18 Postby Nick » November 25th, 2010, 4:39 pm

Oo-er!

Am I right that the whole thing means insult?


Could Harry's friend be Ron?

Repeated manual movements... could be pat?

Eyes, is they represent the last 3 letters, could well be -ise


So! Is the answer patronise?

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animist
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Re: Cryptic clues

#19 Postby animist » November 25th, 2010, 4:45 pm

Nick wrote:Oo-er!

Am I right that the whole thing means insult?


Could Harry's friend be Ron?

Repeated manual movements... could be pat?

Eyes, is they represent the last 3 letters, could well be -ise


So! Is the answer patronise?

yes, well done :wink:

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Re: Cryptic clues

#20 Postby Nick » November 25th, 2010, 5:01 pm

Yippeee!

Ok my turn :D

Here's a couple from last Saturday's Times Jumbo Crossword: (I was tempted toask you one I haven't got, but that would be unfair wouldn't it :wink: )

1ac. Most awful cry from German, doubly prostrate from back pain. (7,4)

A bit of help. "Prostrate from back" gives you "e", ie the 'back' letter, as it were, of the word prostrate. So you can ignore those words,having obtained an "e". Remeber the phrase does not make sense, so disect the clue. Try to establish the meaning, and find the "doing word which tells you what sort of clue it is.


34d. Stands blade in the mixer to be abrasively cleaned (11)

Likewise, is there a "doing" word? You may find it useful to count letters.... And what does the whole word mean?


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