Thursday, December 30, 2010

To all our viewers

Salutation to unknowns; around three-quarters appear about a quarter of an hour earlier. (1,5,3,4)

Crossword 9 Answers Explanation


1. Insertion of dreadful pun inside it (5)
Definition ‘Insertion’: letters of ‘pun’ (dreadful = rearrange) inside ‘it’ = INPUT

4. Wonderful purse design (5)
Definition ‘Wonderful’: anagram (design) of ‘purse’ = SUPER

7.Child of resonance (3)
 Definition ‘Child’: ‘of’ indicating within ‘resonance’ = SON

9. Decorated or terribly neat (6)
Definition ‘Decorated’: ‘or’ plus anagram (terribly) of ‘neat’ = ORNATE

11. Local man gets collected (4)
Definition ‘collected’: ‘gets’ indicating content of ‘Local man’ = CALM  
12. Confirmation about tree (3)
Definition ‘tree’: ‘about’ indicating content of ‘Confirmation’ = FIR

13. No moons affected by seasonal wind (7)
Definition ‘seasonal wind’: ‘affected’ indicating anagram of ‘No moons’ = MONSOON

15. Student deserved to be wise (7)
Definition ‘wise’: compound of ‘Student’ = L plus ‘deserved’ = earned = LEARNED

18. Objection to returning tub (3)
Definition ‘Objection’: ‘returning’ indicating reversing ‘tub’ = BUT

19. Mad for food (4)
Double definition of ‘Mad’ and ‘food’ = NUTS

20. A drama about ships (6)
Definition ‘ships’: ‘about’ indicating anagram of ‘A drama’ = ARMADA

23. Lose argument about the Baltic, say (3)
Definition ‘ the Baltic’: ‘about’ indicating content of ‘Lose argument’ = SEA

24. Wait to play the first shot (5)
Double definition of ‘Wait’ and ‘play the first shot’ = SERVE

25. Lions’ conceit (5)
Double definition of ‘ Lions’ and ‘conceit’ = PRIDE


1. Club putting away small pieces of metal (4,7)
Definition ‘small pieces of metal’: compound expression of ‘Club’ = iron plus ‘putting away’ = filing(s) = IRON FILINGS

2. Refusal to include country (3)
Definition ‘country’: ‘to include’ indicating content of ‘Refusal’ = USA

3. Baby’s drink (3)
Double definition of ‘baby’ and ‘drink’ = TOT

5. Quiet instrument (5)
Double definition of ‘Quiet’ and ‘instrument’ = PIANO

6. Argue about monster scale (11)
Definition ‘Argue’: ‘about’ indicating anagram of ‘monster’ plus synonym for ‘scale’ = rate = REMONSTRATE

8. One Roman’s emperor (4)
Definition ‘emperor’: apostrophe ‘s’ of ‘One Roman’s’ indicating content = NERO (whole clue could also be definition)

10. Negative out of ignorance (3)
Definition ‘Negative’: ‘out of’ indicating content of ‘ignorance’ = NOR

13. Creature of romance (3)
Definition ‘Creature’: ‘of’ indicating content of ‘romance’ = MAN

14. Agree with the head (3)
Definition is the whole clue = NOD

16. Croat turned performer (5)
Definition ‘performer’: ‘turned’ indicating anagram of ‘Croat’ = ACTOR

17. The rascal takes ages (4)
Definition ‘ages’: ‘takes’ indicating content of ‘The rascal’ = ERAS

18. Serpent with feathers (3)
Double definition of ‘Serpent’ and ‘feathers’ = BOA

21. More polite with salesman (3)
Definition ‘salesman’: ‘with’ indicating content of ‘More polite’ = REP

22. Ruin in remarkable condition (3)
Definition ‘Ruin’: ‘in’ indicating content of ‘remarkable’ = MAR (‘condition’ conceivably superfluous but acting as ‘filler’)


Monday, December 27, 2010


Readers are well aware that punctuations judiciously used in sentences enhance ease of reading and comprehension.

Punctuations are a comparatively recent occurence. Long ago, writing was limited only to a few. As writing expanded to cover all sorts of  subjects, it incorporated and invented a few symbols. Today, there are about a dozen punctuation symbols we use in writing.

Inevitably, crossword-setters set some clues with punctuations in them serving as decoys. In rare cases, the solvers had to take them into account to reach the solution.

The clues that follow are some examples where the punctuations serve as decoys or cryptic elements.

A3: Look at daring to admit "I'm sorry?" (6)   _ E _ _ _ _

B3: "Serve Duke!" I cry (4,3)   _ _ _ _  O _ _

C3: "Tom here!" (jeers)  (10)  _ _ _ _ A _ _ I _ _


Friday, December 24, 2010

From the Cryptonites... all our Christian viewers :

Wish for two gifts of the Magi , one locally produced with strict contract. (5,9)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Literary Stuff Explanation

Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal

G2. Treasure-seeker pants hugely, having diseased liver. (4,4,6)

Treasure-seeker pants hugely, having diseased liver.

pants hugely = long johns
diseased liver = ilver

treasure seeker : long john silver


The reading is a bit strained.Somehow, pants and diseased liver are not natural connections.( as compared to pants and diseased lungs)
Also, pants hugely = long johns is a bit of a stretch. We know long johns to be "underpants with long legs"
The setter in using 'hugely" might have wanted to communicate that the clothing item is pants mainly. But I  think it does not quite work. Any one who can get a better connection - please comment.


Treasure Island is a children's classic which adults reread throughout their life. This most famous of treasure tales , has a cast of characters never to be forgotten.One figure in that cast is responsible for the popular image of the pirate. One-legged with a parrot on his shoulder, Long John Silver is an unusual fictional character. He has many virtues in him - yet he is a mutineer. Such ambiguity in a children's story is very hard to come by. Despite his criminal intent , I remember being quite happy that he didn't swing at the end of a rope at the end. Stevenson must have loved him too.

H2. Is man left without old woman an outcast? (7) _ _ _ _ A _ L

Is man left without old woman an outcast?

man = he
left = l
old woman = ma
without is an indicator that tells us that hel is outside ma
 is h ma e l
ishmael is an outcast.


old woman as ma is not quite there. I think using "mother" would add power to the reading.


Ishmael is mentioned in the Bible when Abraham beds Hagar, maid to his barren wife Sarah to produce a son. Ishmael is his name but when a son Isaac is granted to Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael are cast out of the tribe.

I2. He opposed the Turkish brothel local keeps. (7)

He opposed the Turkish brothel local keeps.

keeps is the hidden indicator and within brothel local  we can see OTHELLO
It was he who opposed the Turkish in the tale by Shakespeare.


Very nice reading as the solver will not separate Turkish & brothel initially.


Though Shakespeare gave the title of his play to Othello, his version of Iago is one of the most diabolical characters ever created.The mighty general stands no chance against the Machiavellian manipulator.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crossword 8 Answers Explanation



1.    Possibly great, if I’d been pleased (9). GRATIFIED. Definition is ‘pleased’. Anagram of ‘great if I’d’,  ‘possibly’ is the anagram indicator.

8.    Daughter tears weeds (5). DRIPS. Definition is ‘weeds’. ‘D for daughter’, and ‘tears’ = ‘rips’.

10.    Drama involving a rope (5). OPERA. Definition is ‘drama’. Anagram of ‘a rope’, ‘involving’ is the anagram indicator.

12.    Relaxed during conversation (3). SAT. Definition is ‘relaxed’. Hidden word.

13.    Gained raw onions outside (3). WON. Definition is ‘gained’. Hidden word.

14.    Consumer’s new ruse (4). USER. Definition is ‘consumer’. Anagram of ‘ruse’. Anagram indicator is ‘new’.

15.    Recent change to core (5). CENTRE. Definition is ‘core’. Anagram of ‘recent’. Anagram indicator is ‘change’.

16.    Isolated a section (5) APART. Double definition.

18.    Look round ship that’s not as good (6) LESSER. Definition is ‘not as good’. Ship is ‘SS’, and a synonym of look (leer), goes around it.

20.    Alright for artist to have food (4). OKRA. Definition is ‘food’. ‘Alright’ is ‘OK’, and ‘artist’ is ‘RA’.

22.    Island produce (3). COS. Double definition. ‘Cos’ is a type of lettuce, as well as (an alternative) name of a Greek island.

23.    He’s in the wrong (3). RON. Definition is ‘he” (a man’s name), and it is a hidden word.

24.    Tilts over a walking stick (5). STILT. Definition is ‘walking stick’. Anagram of ‘tilts’, and anagram indicator is ‘over’.

25.    Join military group to the East (5). UNITE.  Definition is ‘join’. Military group is ‘unit’, and abbreviation for ‘East’ is ‘E’.

26.    Fascinated by appearance with key (9). ENTRANCED. Definition is ‘fascinated’. ‘Appearance’ is ‘entrance’, and (musical) key is ‘D’.

2.    Lift gets more money (5). RAISE. Double definition.

3.    Cricket match can be a trial (4). TEST. Double definition.

4.    Blossom like a river (6). FLOWER. A blossom is a flower, but a river is also a flower (different pronunciation!)
5.    It happened in the Seventies (5). EVENT. Definition is ‘it happened’. Hidden word.

6.    Loses dour arrangement, not humming (9). ODOURLESS. Definition is “not humming” (a bit of a tricky definition). Anagram of ‘loses dour’. Anagram indicator is ‘arrangement’.

7.    Fastidious watchman (9). CARETAKER. Double definition.

9.    Soldiers only left an umbrella (7). PARASOL. Definition is ‘parasol’. ‘Soldiers’ is ‘paras’, and ‘OL’ is an abbreviation for ‘only left’.

11.    Game of bridge (8). PONTOON. ‘Pontoon’ is a card game, as well as being part of a bridge.

15.    Scared to include transport (3). CAR. ‘Transport’ is the definition. Hidden word.

17.    Annoy new pets with hesitation (6). PESTER. The definition is ‘annoy’. Anagram of ‘pets’ plus ‘ER’ for hesitation.

19.    Heir wasted coins (5). SCION. Definition is ‘heir’. Anagram of ‘coins’.  ‘Wasted’ is the anagram indicator.

21.    Ink spilt on iron blade (5). KNIFE. Definition is ‘blade’. Anagram of ‘ink’, plus the chemical symbol for iron (FE).

23.    Destroy what’s left of the castle (4). RUIN. Double definition.

Craig and Mary

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Literary Stuff 3

Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal


D2. Stranger grabbing supporter is bemoaning linesman. (7)   _ _ E _ _ _ T


Stranger grabbing supporter is bemoaning linesman.

Stranger = ET ( extra terrestrial )
Grabbing is Containment indicator.
supporter is = leg is

E  LEG  IS T  = bemoaning linesman


Bemoaning linesman conjures up a classic image of a complaining sports official.Yet it neatly fits as a cool definition of an elegist.


An elegist is the author of a mournful poem lamenting the dead.
An elegy brings forth the classical idea of memento mori, a Latin phrase which means, "Remember that you must die."

Some lines from Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" :  

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,  
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:  
No children run to lisp their sire's return,  
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

E2. Promise forger he'd be good at coining? (9)  _ _ _ D _ _ I _ _


Promise forger he'd be good at coining?

Promise = word
forger = smith
wordsmith = he'd be good at coining


Coining refers to the ability to put together words effectively.Excellent combination of forger and coining which would set you thinking of counterfeiter.


Someone who makes up words, intentionally, creatively, or purely on accident with the slip of the tongue.That's how some would define a wordsmith. Here are some words which might catch on and become part of our regular vocabulary:

Ignoranus:  A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
Foreploy:  Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
Giraffiti:  Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
Sarchasm:   The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
Glibido: All talk and no action.
Hindkerchief:  Really expensive toilet paper; toilet paper at Buckingham Palace.
Cashtration :  The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

F2. Aesthetic writer sees beauty by assignation on radio (10) _ _ _ _ E _ _ _ S _


Aesthetic writer sees beauty by assignation on radio

Beauty = Belle
Assignation = Tryst
on radio is homonym indicator
tryst becomes trist
by just indicates that belle is beside trist
sees is the link word.
belletrist = aesthetic writer


Very effective coupling of Aesthetic and Beauty.


The word comes from belles-lettres meaning light and elegant literature, esp. that which is excessively refined, characterized by aestheticism, and minor in subject, substance, or scope.

Gustave Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary , a novel which in the telling paid great attention to the trivial details of everyday life and which started a trend in 1857 and later became a craze.

He also wrote Salammbo: The Maid of Carthage ,  a powerful romance - realistic in the deepest sense. This is a must-read book.The ancient world comes alive in all its horror and voluptuousness.

But it is to another story I would draw your attention. From "Three Tales" - a story that encapsulates the violence and mysticism of the Middle Ages - The Legend of St Julian the Hospitaller. It is a short story but to feeeel the effect of a master belletrist , you must  read it slow and aloud.Each sentence is like a scene in a movie.

The three clues below refer to fictional characters.

G2. Treasure-seeker pants hugely, having diseased liver. (4,4,6)

H2. Is man left without old woman an outcast? (7) _ _ _ _ A _ L

I2. He opposed the Turkish brothel local keeps. (7)


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Crossword 7 Answers Explanation



1.Bird at two parties (4) DODO. Definition is “bird”. Two parties is “do” and “do”.

4.Element of victory (4)    GOLD. Definition is “element”, and gold is the colour of victory (eg gold medal).

6.Yield a plant ovule, say (4) CEDE. Homophone. “Cede” sounds like “seed”.

8.Most arguments are about celebrity (4)  STAR. Definition is “celebrity”. Hidden word.

11.New tsar of painting and sculpture (4)     ARTS. Anagram of “tsar”.

13.Bore of distinction (7) CALIBRE. Double definition.

14.Decline three keys (3) EBB. Definition is “decline”. Three musical keys.

16.Thanks for every candle (5)  TAPER. Definition is “candle”. “Ta” = “thanks”. “per = “for every”.

18.Terribly eager to concur (5)  AGREE. Anagram of “eager”.

21.Painting of them Urals (5) MURAL. Definition is “painting”. Hidden word.

22.Huge Elgar composition (5)     LARGE. Anagram of “Elgar”.

24.Member of the whole group (3) LEG.  Definition is “member”. Hidden word.

25.Facts about table that sparkle (7) GLISTEN. Definition is “sparkle”. Sandwich clue, with “gen” fitting around “list”.

28.Betting journalist was rushed (4)     SPED. Definition is “rushed”. “Betting” is “SP”, and “journalist” is “ED”.

30.The bird in the other nest (4)     ERNE. Definition is “bird”. Hidden word.

31.Aide’s unusual impression (4) IDEA. Definition is “impression”. Anagram of “aide”.

32.Destroy what’s left of the castle (4)     RUIN. Double definition.

33.Notice the location (4) SPOT. Double definition.


1.Record that may have slipped (4) DISC. Definition is “record”, and the wordplay refers to a slipped disc.

2.Trade in lead construction (4)    DEAL. Definition is “trade”. Anagram of “lead”.

3.Compassion at the core (5)    HEART. Double definition.

4.Procure from strange tradesman (3)    GET. Definition is “procure”. Hidden word.

5.Boring sort of bard (4)    DRAB. Definition is “boring”. Anagram of “bard”.

7.Imagine being armed, possibly (5)    DREAM. Definition is “imagine”. Anagram of “armed”.

9.Snarl at the first corner (6)     TANGLE. Definition is “snarl”. Take the first letter of “the” and add on a word for “corner”, which is “angle”.

10.Strive, really, to contain tributary (5)    RIVER. Definition is “tributary”. Another hidden word.

12.Reportedly burn prophet (4)    SEER. Definition is “prophet”. “Seer” sounds like “sear”.

15.Buddhism follows underwear forward (6)    BRAZEN. Definition is “forward”. “Underwear” is “bra”, and “Zen” is Buddhism.

17.Super sort of container (5)     PURSE. Definition is “container”. Anagram of “super”.

19.Starting point for riches (4)     RAGS. & Lit clue….”from rags to riches”.

20.Urged to produce five notes (5) EGGED. Definition is “urged”. Answer is using 5 musical notes.

23.Berry Senior (5)    ELDER. Definition is “senior”, and “elder” is a type of “berry”.

24.Left tune to study (4) LAIR. Definition is “study” (noun). “L” for left and “air” for “tune”.

26.Stumble on the journey (4)     TRIP. Double definition.

27.Tidy in one attempt (4)    NEAT. Definition is “tidy”. Hidden word again.

29.Hoping to include secret number (3)    PIN. Definition is “secret number”. Hidden word.

Craig and Mary

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Literary Stuff 2

Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal


A2. Writer given university situation but no parking. (5) _ A _ _ _

Analysis : Writer given university situation but no parking

University situation = campus

No parking = no p

campus - p = Camus ( writer )

Aesthetics : When reading the sentence situation means something else from what is intended by the setter.Intended meaning is the actual location of the university.

Afterword : Camus's words: "We refuse to despair of mankind. Without having the unreasonable ambition to save men, we still want to serve them" from La Peste (The Plague) are as relevant today as they were in 1947. Only of a handful of post war European writers who resisted the siren call of Marxism , he was in favor of Mediterranean humanism.

B2. Novelist needing to raise capital. (4,6) _ _ C _ _ O _ _ _ _

Analysis : Novelist needing to raise capital

raise = jack      capital = london

Aesthetics : The link word is rather long but gives a picture of a poor writer who has to write to survive.

Afterword : Jack London was an adventure writer of the first water.The Sea Wolf,The Call of the Wild and White Fang are some of his most famous works.

C2. Saint Henry penning epilogue for author. (8) _ _ _ N _ _ _ _

Analysis : Saint Henry penning epilogue for author

Saint Henry = St hal
penning means to surround
epilogue = end
giving us st end hal = STENDHAL ( author )

Aesthetics : Nice combo of penning,epilogue and author - all linked to writing.

Afterword : Stendhal wrote exquisitely on love - having failed miserably at it in real life."If you don't love me, it does not matter, anyway I can love for both of us." is one of those quotes that springs to mind when you see a couple where one partner still has the hots while the other is cool.Nevertheless, "Half – the most beautiful half – of life is hidden from him who has not loved passionately."
reminds us that to have loved and lost is a must for every man - at least for once in his life. Here and there are some comments on Stendhal's On Love.

This time around the clues are to do with types of writers.

D2. Stranger grabbing supporter is bemoaning linesman. (7)   _ _ E _ _ _ T

E2. Promise forger he'd be good at coining? (9)  _ _ _ D _ _ I _ _

F2. Aesthetic writer sees beauty by assignation on radio (10)  _ _ _ _ E _ _ _ S _


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Literary Stuff

Torquemada was the inventor of the cryptic puzzle.A scholar and linguist he was passionate about puzzles and loved setting them for kith and kin over dinner to avoid small talk.In the 1920s as crossword fever swept England, he created the first cryptic puzzle (1924 ) - being bored with straightforward clues. A voracious reader with an impressive memory, Torquemada favoured literary clues, using quotations from poetry, plays and the classics.

Early crosswords had more literary references than today's crosswords.This reduction is due to the fact that more and more crossword solvers do not have a background in the classics.

However, there are still a lot of good clues regarding literary stuff and in this series, we will see that they still have a place among other types of clues that require the solver to have some knowledge about.

Even if you don't, it's possible to solve them from the wordplay and then confirm it online.

The three below are to do with famous authors.

A2. Writer given university situation but no parking. (5) _ A _ _ _

B2. Novelist needing to raise capital. (4,6) _ _ C _ _ O _ _ _ _

C2. Saint Henry penning epilogue for author. (8) _ _ _ N _ _ _ _


Crossword 6 Answers Explanation



1. Vulgar sort of weld (4) LEWD: Definition VULGAR; ‘sort of’ indicating anagram of ‘weld’

4. Resting place out East (4) SEAT: Definition RESTING PLACE; ‘out’ indicating anagram of ‘East’

6. Cape’s new rate (4) PACE: Definition RATE; ‘new’ indicating anagram of ‘Cape’

8. Phase pets out (4) STEP: Definition PHASE; ‘out’ indicating anagram of ‘pets’

11. Boy has nothing to pack (4)  LOAD: Definition PACK; ‘boy’ = LAD has O (nothing); L(O)AD

13. Land seen off by girl SENEGAL: Definition LAND; ‘Off’ indicating anagram of ‘SEEN’ = SENE; girl = GAL

14. Also among pandas (3) AND: Definition ALSO; ‘among’ indicating some letters of ‘pandas’

16. The same two dots (5) DITTO: Definition THE SAME; which is usually indicated by ‘two dots’

18. Shock a quiet friend (5) APPAL: Definition SHOCK; A P (Piano = quiet) + PAL (friend)

21. Trace out a box (5) CRATE: Definition A BOX; ‘out’ indicating anagram of ‘trace’

22. I call out for shade (5) LILAC: Definition SHADE; ‘out’ indicating anagram of ‘I call’

24. Swan enclosure (3) PEN: Double definition of SWAN (pen is a female swan) and ENCLOSURE

25. Everyone has gone mad about ship (7) GALLEON: Definition SHIP; ‘mad’ indicating anagram of ‘gone’ = GEON  Everyone = ALL has GEON (gone mad about) = G(ALL)EON

28. We’re off to get a jug (4) EWER: Definition A JUG; ‘off’ indicating anagram of ‘We’re’

30. The way out of the planet (4) LANE: Definition THE WAY; ‘out of’ indicating some letters of ‘the planet’

31. Fear going round mythical ship (4) ARGO: Definition MYTHICAL SHIP; ‘round’ indicating some letters of ‘fear going’

32. Appearing to have food (4) PEAR: Definition FOOD; ‘to have’ indicating some letters of ‘appearing’

33. Insect of biting nature (4) GNAT: Definition INSECT; ‘of’ indicating some letters of ‘biting nature’


1. Blessed with not as much (4) LESS: Definition NOT AS MUCH; ‘with’ indicating some letters of ‘blessed’

2. Navy bird (4) WREN: Double definition of NAVY (WREN is a member of former Women’s Royal Naval Service) and BIRD

3. Food as ordered by boy (5)  SALAD: Definition FOOD; ‘ordered’ indicating anagram of ‘AS’= SA; boy = LAD

4. Reported character of geographical feature (3) SEA: Definition GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURE; ‘reported’ indicating sound like ‘character’ (letter C)

5. Incline towards nurse (4) TEND: Double definition of INCLINE TOWARDS and NURSE

7. Complaint about broken coil (5)  COLIC: Definition COMPLAINT;  About = C (Circa); ‘broken’ indicating anagram of COIL = OLIC     About broken coil = C + OLIC = COLIC

9. Church either side of the head (6) TEMPLE: Double definition of CHURCH and EITHER SIDE OF THE HEAD

10. Natural feature of plate design (5) PETAL: Definition NATURAL FEATURE; ‘design’ indicating anagram of ‘plate’

12. Attorney volunteers information (4) DATA: Definition INFORMATION; Attorney = DA (District Attorney); Volunteers = TA (Territorial Army)

15. Impression of negative charge (6)NOTION: Definition IMPRESSION; Negative = NOT; charge = ION

17. Ring about river ogre (5) TROLL: Definition OGRE; ring = TOLL; river = R; ring about river = TOLL about R = TROLL

19. Yearn for a tree (4) PINE: Double definition of YEARN and A TREE

20. Drink to large improvement (5) LAGER: Definition DRINK; ‘improvement’ indicating anagram of ‘large’

23. Vehicle to leave its shipment (5)  CARGO: Definition SHIPMENT; vehicle = CAR; leave = GO

24. Stay as a rugby player (4) PROP: Double definition of STAY and A RUGBY PLAYER (forward)

26. Merit of learning (4) EARN: Definition MERIT; ‘of’ indicating some letters of ‘learning’

27. Tidy in one attempt (4) NEAT: Definition TIDY; ‘in’ indicating some letters of ‘one attempt’

29. Rewarded with struggle (3)WAR: Definition STRUGGLE; ‘with’ indicating some letters of ‘rewarded’

Chian Min

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Idioms Explanation

Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal


G1. Very well suited for hunting? (2,3,4)

Analysis : Very well / suited for hunting?

Double definition meaning in the pink.

Aesthetics : The second reading of the clue doesn't yield any keyword to hang on to.So a double definition seems to be in the works.

Afterword : "in the pink" of course means that one is in good health. The lesser known fact might be that "pink" is the colour of hunting jackets. However , according to some sources : The association of the phrase 'in the pink' with the so-called pink jackets worn by the UK fox-hunting aficionados is unproven. The jackets, which are in fact scarlet, have been said to have derived their 'hunting pink' name from a tailor called Thomas Pink and that 'in the pink' refers to both the jackets and to the healthy, energetic approach to the pastime that many hunters adopt. Fox-hunters can be said to be literally in the pink but the hunting derivation is nevertheless far-fetched. There are no historical records of any such Thomas Pink and his association with the fox-hunting fraternity wasn't suggested until long after the first references to pink jackets.

H1. Study computing or not? I don't care ! (4,2,2,5,2)

Analysis : Study computing or not? I don't care !

computing can be IT (information technology)
So study computing can be take it
not would imply the opposite ie leave it.
or would remain as it is
i don't care is the definition meaning take it or leave it.

Aesthetics : not fulfills its function as an antonym indicator.

Afterword : In some circumstances the phrase sounds rather harsh as in "That;s my final offer. Take it or leave it". However, there is another aspect which invokes neutrality rather than indifference.For example, "Most people cannot resist Swiss chocolates but I can take it or leave it."

I1. Modern piano and organ found in chest outside gallery (5,2,3,3)

Analysis : Modern piano and organ found in chest outside gallery.

piano = soft
organ found in chest = heart
gallery = tate ( famous gallery in UK )
soft heart is outside tate ( s tate of the art )
state of the art = modern

Aesthetics : Brilliant linkage of two instruments - piano and organ . Another link is between the chest and the gallery.This one is more subtle - chest conjures up artifact from the past and is likely to be seen in a gallery.

Afterword : The earliest usage of the term "state of the art" documented by the Oxford English Dictionary dates back to 1910 from an engineering manual by Henry Harrison Suplee (1856-post 1943), an engineering graduate (U. Of Pennsylvania, 1876), titled Gas Turbine: progress in the design and construction of turbines operated by gases of combustion. It reads: "In the present state of the art this is all that can be done."


Friday, November 5, 2010

Crossword 5 Answers Explanation



1. Bird bit embankment (9) PARTRIDGE Combination clue where bird is the definition. bit = part and embankment = ridge

8. Small step into void (5) SPACE Combination clue where void is the definition. Small = S and step = pace

10. Show appreciation to husband in military vehicle (5) THANK Insertion clue where husband (H) has to be put in military vehicle (TANK) to give THANK which is to show appreciation.

12. Firm with new prisoner (3) CON Combination clue where firm (CO) and new (N) join to form CON which is a word meaning prisoner.

13. One ran for a long time (3) EON Anagram indicator is "ran" ; so ONE is rearranged to form EON which is very long time.

14. Time to order something (4) ITEM "order" is the anagram indicator working on TIME to change it to ITEM which is something.

15. Joined the team (6) UNITED double definition as united can be both "joined" and "team".

16. Smashes figure at school (5) BUSTS Combination clue where figure = BUST and school is S.
Busts means smashes.

18. Lost one-nil while browsing the net (6) ONLINE Anagram indicator is "lost" in the sense of having "strayed". Applying it to one nil will give us ONLINE which is synonymous with browsing the net.

20. Bound to adjust diet (4) TIED adjust is the anagram indicator applicable to DIET giving us TIED which is the same as BOUND.

22. Wanted to include the creature (3) ANT Container clue is revealed by "to include". Hence WANTED contains something which is a creature and its ANT.

23. Quantity of contents (3) TEN Another container clue where "of" serves as indicator that a quanity is within conTENts.

24. He admits being the proprietor (5) OWNER Double definition where OWNER , other than meaning Proprietor also fits as one who admits (owns).

25. One transaction is perfect (5) IDEAL Another combination clue where one = I and transaction = DEAL. Together they form IDEAL which is perfect.

26. Famous person unexpectedly bit celery (9) CELEBRITY "unexpectedly" serves as anagram indicator for bit celery which transforms into CELEBRITY - a famous person.


2. A quiet expert is fast (5) APACE A = A quiet = P expert = ACE Fast is the definition

3. Afterwards from both ends (4) THEN Tricky clue as "from both ends" is a normal indicator of a palindrome. However, "from" serves as a container indicator and if you look at BOTH ENDS you can get THEN from it.Definition is Afterwards.

4. The purpose of camping (6) INTENT Double definition with Intent = Purpose and IN TENT is a tongue-in-cheek replacement of camping.

5, He gets an allowance (5) GRANT Double definition as He would simply indicate a male name which is GRANT and this also means allowance.

6. Intuit to follow puller of sled (6,3) ESKIMO DOG intuit = eskimo and follow = dog giving us Eskimo Dog as a puller of sled.

7. Rearrange desk to confound then flee (9) SKEDADDLE Anagram indicated by "Rearrange" applies to DESK to give us SKED ; confound = addle and flee is the definition of skedaddle.

9. Search at home with energy to join (7) COMBINE Search = Comb at home = IN energy = E giving us COMBINE which is JOIN.

11. Raised those I'd altered (7) HOISTED altered "those id" gives us HOISTED which is RAISED.

15. Amused with employment (3) Again a container clue very subtly indicated by "with" indicating that AMUSED is in possession of something that means employment. amUSEd reveals the answer.

17. Throw nut and regret being disloyal (6) UNTRUE throw is an anagram indicator which changes NUT to UNT and regret = rue thus giving us UNTRUE = disloyal.

19. Clean off a weapon (5) LANCE off is the anagram indicator which when applied to clean gives us LANCE which is a weapon.

21. Useless in pet management (5) INEPT Either "useless" or "management" can be anagram indicators. In this case its "management" and manipulating " in pet" we have inept which means useless.

23. Row about rite (4) TIER about serves as anagram indicator for rite, giving us TIER which means Row.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Holidays

To all our Hindu visitors :

Very quietly in grass, thick with back-flowing rock, one gets greeting. (5,9)


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal


D1. Let me tell you what my tutor will do. (4,2,5) _ A _ _ _ _ _ _ R _ _

Analysis : Let me tell you / what my tutor will do

Double definition meaning mark my words.


Neat surface reading.The setter finds two ways to express this idiom used usually in the context of wanting people to remember what you are saying.let me tell you is also the way we start a sentence when we want people to pay attention to what we are about to say.what my tutor will do is the description of the marking of a written essay.


"me" and "my" in the clue would give away the 2 lettered word.

E1. Desolate on a break with nothing to do. (2,1,5,3) _ _ _ L _ _ _ _ _ N _

Analysis : Desolate on a break with nothing to do

break is anagram indicator for desolate on a giving us at a loose end.


Desolate ties in nicely with nothing to do - ennui being the result.


loose end means a minor unresolved problem or difficulty. How did at a loose end come to mean with nothing to do? After all, there IS something to do if you have a loose end.

F1. Faltering guards pursuing one won't, strangely. (2,3,5) _ _ _ _ O M _ _ _ _

Analysis : Faltering guards pursuing one won't, strangely

guards = minds

one wont strangely = i wont strangely = in two

pursuing puts in two ahead of minds

answer is in two minds which means faltering


Technically tight clue, but surface meaning is not quite complete.What won't they do- these guards who are pursuing one?


Though the idiom refers to any one not being able to reach a decision, a whole lot of science is dedicated to the duality of mind and it seems our thought processes are indeed driven by two minds.

Here is the final set of idioms.

G1. Very well suited for hunting? (2,3,4)

H1. Study computing or not? I don't care ! (4,2,2,5,2)

I1. Modern piano and organ found in chest outside gallery (5,2,3,3)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crossword 5

Here is crossword 5.


Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal

A1. Greeting to right girl not having consistent effect. (3-2-4) _ I _ _ _ _ _ _ S

Analysis : Greeting to right girl not having consistent effect.

Greeting = Hi
to is unaltered
right = r
girl = miss
Answer is Hit or miss


Surface reading is a recognizable situation.


Hit or miss is to either achieve success or completely fail.Another form of the idiom comes as hit and miss.The origins of this idiom are unclear.Some say its from baseball and some say its from the gent's.

B1. Return fixture football team to play at last , no matter what ! (3,4,2) _ _ _ N _ _ _ I _

Analysis : Return fixture football team to play at last , no matter what !

fixture = tie
football team = man u
to play ( at last ) = oy

reverse them (return) and you have you name it.


Pretty impressive arrangement as the setter is using charades mainly.


However, I feel the definition is not quite right.
"no matter what"  is "whatever the conditions" but "you name it" is "whatever you say or choose"

C1. The conifers' weight eclipsed by potato : brilliant ! (2,3,5,5) _ _ _ _ E _ I _ _ _ _ _ T _ _

Analysis : The conifers' weight eclipsed by potato : brilliant !

the conifers' = of the firs
weight = w
potato = tater
weight eclipsed by potato = t w ater  ( eclipsed by is a containment indicator )

answer is of the first water - meaning Brilliant.


Excellent use of the apostrophe to indicate possession.


This idiom refers to a grading system for diamonds for their color or luster (compared to the shininess of water).

Here's the second set of idioms.

D1. Let me tell you what my tutor will do. (4,2,5)  _ A _ _    _ _   _ _ R _ _

E1. Desolate on a break with nothing to do. (2,1,5,3)  _ _   _  L _ _ _ _  _ N _

F1. Faltering guards pursuing one won't, strangely. (2,3,5)  _ _   _ _ O  M _ _ _ _


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crossword News

Azed's 2000th Crossword !Go here to read more about it.

Crossword 4 Answers Explanation



1. HEAD: definition TOP; ‘part of’ indicating some letters of ‘the address’

4. LOST: definition MISLAID; ‘may get’ indicating anagram of ‘lots’


8. ABET: definition HELP; ‘a’ + ‘wager’=BET

11. NAIL: definition FORM OF DIGITAL PROTECTION; ‘nothing’=NIL about ‘a’

13. LEXICON: definition BOOK; ‘upset’ indicating anagram of ‘Colin’ about
‘former spouse’=EX

14. ION: definition CHARGE; ‘out of’ indicating part of ‘stationer’s’

16. ROTOR: definition BLADE; ‘reversible’ indicating palindrome (word
reading same both ways)

18. VITAL: definition VERY IMPORTANT; ‘woman’= VAL, ‘takes it’ indicating
‘it’ in VAL

21. RINDS: definition SCRAPS OF ORANGE; ‘minces’=GRINDS, ‘topless’
Indicating removal of first letter

22. DONOR: definition CONTRIBUTOR; ‘entrance’= DOOR ‘around’ ‘noon’=N

24. LEO: definition A SIGN; ‘from the’ indicating part of ‘galleon’

25. SENEGAL: definition LAND; ‘off’ indicating anagram of ‘seen’, ‘by’
meaning next to ‘girl’=GAL

28. KEEN: definition ENTHUSIASTIC; ‘king’=K, ‘energy’=E, ‘space’=EN (printing

30. DOLE: definition BENEFIT (social security term – unemployment
payment); ‘party’=DO, ‘by’ indicating next to ‘the French’=LE

31. ORES: definition RAW MINERALS; ‘from’ indicating part of word ‘forest’

32. TOWN: definition ADDRESS; ‘change’ indicating anagram of ‘won’t’

33. KEEP: double definition for ‘PART OF THE CASTLE’ and ‘MAINTAIN’


1. HEAL: double definition for ‘FIX’ and ‘PART OF FOOT’, ‘say’ indicating homophone

2. APEX: definition SUMMIT; ‘primate’=APE, ‘kiss’

3. MINOR: definition UNIMPORTANT; homophone of MINER=collier

4. LEI: definition FLOWERS; ‘in the’ indicating part of word ‘sleigh’

5. THEN: definition AFTERWARDS; ‘from’ indicating part of words ‘both ends’

7. MANOR: definition HOUSE; ‘style’ indicating anagram of ‘Roman’

9. BESIDE: definition APART FROM; ‘notes’ are B and E (musical), ‘to’ indicating next to ‘team’= SIDE

10. TITAN: definition GIANT; ‘bird’= TIT, ‘article’= AN

12. LION: pun/play on words (pride of lions)

15. ORDEAL: definition TRIAL; ‘or’ + ‘trade’= DEAL

17. TIMED: definition USED STOPWATCH; ‘bound’= TIED, ‘to have’ i.e. to include ‘month’=M

19. TOOK: definition STOLEN; ‘also’= TOO ‘has’ ‘kilo’=K

20. LOSER: definition NO-HOPER; ‘swap’ indicating anagram of ‘roles’

23. RENEW: definition CONTINUE; ‘concerning’= RE, ‘novel’=NEW

24. LIST: double definition of ‘table’ and ‘lean’

25. GORE: definition MAKE A KILLING; ‘leave’= GO, ‘engineers’= RE (British Army Royal Engineers)

27. LEAP: definition SPRING; ‘sort of’ indicating anagram of ‘pale’


Monday, October 18, 2010


An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words.
Three examples follow. Each has the word "flesh" in it.

Pound of flesh
If someone wants their pound of flesh, they force someone to pay or give back something owed, even though they don't need it and it will cause the other person a lot of difficulty.

Press the flesh
When people, especially politicians, press the flesh, they meet members of the public and shake their hands, usually when trying to get support.

Flesh and blood
Your flesh and blood are your blood relatives, especially your immediate family.

Both in writing and in every day speech, sayings and expressions are repeated without any real thought to where they come from or why people say them.
But these combination of words have weathered centuries of usage and can only be supplanted by more current and effective combination of words.

An example might be " deer in the headlights" meaning too stunned to move.

Idioms might be a problem for those who are new to the language.To the crossword solver, the idiom is a regular feature in most 15 by 15 grids.

Try your hand at solving a few of them in this series.

But before that - can you spot the idiom that is the subject of a pun in the following dialogue from MASH , an old TV series based on the goings-on in an army medical unit in the Korean War?

Captain : He was dishonorably discharged.
Hawkeye : Why? Was he rotten to the corps?

A1. Greeting to right girl not having consistent effect. (3-2-4) _ I _ _ _ _ _ _ S

B1. Return fixture football team to play at last , no matter what ! (3,4,2) _ _ _ N _ _ _ I _

C1. The conifers' weight eclipsed by potato : brilliant ! (2,3,5,5) _ _ _ _ E _ I _ _ _ _ _ T _ _


Monday, October 11, 2010

Neat Definitions Explanation

Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal

G. Ridiculous two hours pay is on offer to one at bar. (5,4,6) _ _ A _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ O _


Ridiculous two hours pay is on offer to one at bar.

Ridiculous (anagram indicator) rearranges two hours pay is on to what's your poison?


A straight forward clue - this has a smooth reading to it.What makes it stand out is the definition which once again goes to show how efficacious the setter is.


Phrases are regularly featured in cryptic crosswords.They provide opportunities for some neat definitions.The next series of clues will be about phrases.

H. British Rail in a struggle to find lender. (9) _ _ _ R _ _ _ _ _


British Rail in a struggle to find lender

British = BR
BR + rail + in a becomes the wordplay to be manipulated ( indicated by the anagram indicator struggle ) to become LIBRARIAN  which fits nicely with the definition of a lender.


The clue could almost be a newspaper headline in these hard times.


British can be substituted by B , Br, GB or UK . The crossword solver will become familiar with a whole slew of abbreviations in the course of solving hundreds of crosswords.

I. Labour Party unlikely to split? (5,4) _ _ A _ _ _ _ N


Labour Party unlikely to split?

You will notice that the above clue is left as it originally was without recourse to splitting it up into definition,link and wordplay.
This is because the clue is entirely a definition as well as wordplay.I am unsure as to whether it qualifies as &lit.
Answer is Chain Gang.


This clue epitomises neat definitions.The image of a bunch of prisoners manacled and doing hard labour outside prison comes to mind when you get the answer.Its a world away from politics and yet there is a genuine connection when labour and party are both capitalised.


Pure &lits are hard to come by.Partial ones are more common.Yet in the above clue there is no wordplay in the classic sense.So its probably the hardest to solve among the three.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crossword 3 Answers Explanation


Fellow Cryptonites, welcome back, and I hope that by now you are starting to get into the swing of cryptic crosswords! Our third crossword was a little tougher than the first two, but hopefully you have managed the increased degree of difficulty OK.

This week we have a lot more hidden words than before (7 clues), and less pure anagrams (2 clues). There are also a number more combination clues (8), which reflects the increase in difficulty. There are lots of double definitions (6 clues) but there is also a homophone, a sandwich, a couple of reversals and a deletion. All in all, a little something for everyone.


1. Guide a bullock (5). STEER. Double definition. To “guide” is to “steer”. Also, a “bullock” is another name for a “steer”.

4. Crawler in charge of jelly (5). ASPIC. Combination clue. “Jelly” is the definition. An “asp” is a type of crawler, and IC is an acceptable abbreviation for “in charge”. Add the two together and you get “aspic”, which is a type of jelly.

9. Come out East and join (6). EMERGE. Combination clue. The definition is “come out”. “E” is used as an abbreviation for “east”, and “merge” is a synonym for “join”.

11. Instrument not initially out of tune (4). HARP. Combination clue. The definition is “instrument”. “Out of tune” is “sharp”, and if you take off the first letter (“not initially”) you get “harp”.

12. Enjoy some archaeology (3). DIG. Double definition. To “enjoy” something is to “dig” it, and an archaeology site is known as a “dig”.

13. Set off, getting called odd (6). STRANGE. Sandwich/anagram clue. The definition is “odd”. The anagram indicator is “off”, and an anagram of “set” forms the outside of the clue.

The hint for this is the word “getting”, which suggests that a synonym for “called” (in this case, “rang”) is put in the middle of an anagram of “set”. As I said above, the clues are now getting a little harder!

15. Kitty shot off first to lively club (3,4). HOT SPOT. Combination clue (anagram and addition). The definition is “lively club”. “Shot off first” indicates an anagram of “shot” (“off” is the anagram indicator) forms the first part of the answer.

And another word for “kitty” is “pot”. Join the two parts of the clue together and you get “hot spot”.

18. But returned a container (3). TUB. Reversal clue. This one is nice and easy, but it is the first reversal we have used to date. The definition is “container”. The reversal indicator is “returned”, which suggests reversing the letters in “but” to give you “tub”.

19. Time to order something (4). ITEM. Anagram. The definition is “something”. “To order” is the anagram indicator, and if you shuffle the letters in “time” you get “item”. Note – I have to say that “something” is not a great definition, as a synonym for “something” could be “anything”!

20. Diagnose nine as mad (6). INSANE. Anagram. The definition is “mad”. The anagram indicator is “diagnose”, and the words to be shuffled are “nine as”, which can be re-arranged to make “insane”.

This is a bit tricky, as in this case, “mad” could also be an anagram indicator, and hence the definition could also have been “diagnose”. Sometimes you will find you need some letters (from other answers) before you can correctly ascertain the definition (and hence the answer).

23. The end of stipulation (3). TIP. Hidden word. The definition is “the end”, and in this case “of” indicates that the answer is hidden inside “stipulation”, which is where you will find the word “tip”.

24. Whole time alto was performing (5). TOTAL. Combination clue. The definition is “whole”. The answer starts with the letter “t”, which is an accepted abbreviation for “time”.

Then follows an anagram of “alto” (“performing” is the anagram indicator), which can be re-arranged to give the last four letters in “total”.

25. Remnant worn over the eye (5). PATCH. Double definition clue. A “patch” is worn over the eye, plus a “remnant” could also be described as a “patch”.


1. Exhausted, having third problem with fellow miser (11) SPENDTHRIFT. Combination clue. The definition is “miser”.However, spendthrift is the opposite of miser. Freudian slip, maybe? Another word for “exhausted” is “spent”.

“Having” suggests that “spent” forms the outside of the clue, and that inside is an anagram of “third” (“problem” is the anagram indicator).

In addition, “F” is a recognised abbreviation for “fellow”, and this follows the anagram of “third”, on the inside part of the sandwich. Hence the answer is: SPEN, followed by DTHRI (anagram of “third”), followed by F, followed T (the last letter in “spent”. Phew!

2. Hearsay about an organ (3). EAR. (Type of) organ is the definition. The answer is hidden in the word “hearsay”, but the hidden word indicator (“about”) is misleading. It sometimes happens that clues (such as this one) are not as tightly defined as they ought to be.
3. The brigade’s gear. (3) RIG. Hidden word. The definition is “gear”, and the answer is hidden inside “brigade”, which is indicated by the possessive apostrophe.

5. Unattractive land (5) PLAIN. Double definition. Another word for “unattractive” is “plain”, and “plain” is a form of “land”.

6. Tree of metal and sand, say (6,5). COPPER BEECH. Combination clue with homophone. The definition is “tree”, and the wordplay is made up of a type of metal (“copper”), and a homophone (“say” is the homophone indicator) for a word that indicates “sand”, which is “beech”.

8. Hire in Brentwood (4). RENT. Another hidden word clue. The definition is “hire”. The hidden word indicator is “in”, and the answer is inside “Brentwood”.

10. Encourage dairy produce (3). EGG. Double definition again. An “egg” is a form of dairy produce, and to encourage someone is to “egg” them on.

13. Fool returned out of compassion (3) SAP. Hidden clue/reversal. The definition is “fool”. “Returned out of” suggests a hidden word and a reversal, in “compassion”.

14. Traitor in the fraternity (3) RAT. This is a relatively straightforward hidden word. “Traitor” is the definition, “in the” is the hidden word indicator, and the hidden word is in “fraternity”.

16. Deal with a nice surprise (5) TREAT. Double definition. A “nice surprise” is a “treat”, and to “deal (with)” also means to “treat”.

17. Leave out of the room itself (4) OMIT. Another hidden word – you’re getting lots of practice at these! “Leave out” is the definition. “Of” indicates a hidden word, and the answer is hidden in “roOM ITself".

18. Drink of character, say (3) TEA. Homophone. The definition is “drink”, “say” is the homophone indicator, and “tea” sounds the same as the letter (or character) “T”.

21. Pinch the pin back (3) NIP. Reversal. The definition is “pinch”, the reversal indicator “back”, and it is simply a matter of reversing “pin” to find the solution.

22. Betting on a spring (3). SPA. General clue. The definition is “spring”. “SP” is a term used for a “bookie”, or “betting”, and “SP” precedes “A”.

Craig & Mary

Monday, October 4, 2010

Neat Definitions 3

Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal

D. Work in a cause : that's the aim of running mates. (9) _ _ O _ _ _ _ _ _


Work in a cause : that's the aim of running mates.

With an O present in the answer, it is likely the word OP which stands in for Work. A Cause can be substituted(!) by Element. OP in ELEMENT gives us ELOPEMENT which is what running mates aim for!


The surface reading is tight.On the first reading,you would think of running mates as those who are vice-presidential candidates in an upcoming election.This is because work in a cause reinforces the impression of people committing themselves publicly to win an election.


The hardest feature in the clue is the substitution of a cause with element.This synonym is uncommon and not all thesauruses have it. Are they truly interchangeable? Can you construct a sentence where either word can be used without changing the meaning of the sentence?If you can, do share.

E. How reactor may be occupied reproducing relatively closely? (10) _ _ _ R _ _ _ _ _ _


How reactor may be occupied reproducing relatively closely?

There are several types of reactors, among which breeder might catch your eye.Reproducing is breeding.And reproducing relatively closely would qualify as inbreeding.


The phrase of how a reactor may be occupied suggests that the answer is connected with its function - since occupied hints at what it does. The answer to this phrase is " in breeding" since its a breeder reactor.The wordplay portion is a definition of sorts. Hence the clue comes under "double definitions" category. The neat definition, however, is reproducing relatively closely which is a nifty way of describing "inbreeding".The setter separates in from breeding to fashion the wordplay portion with just five words coming up with an alternative definition!


Notice that the setter used may be instead of "is".The first expresses possibility while the second expresses certainty.Because there are a few types of reactors, he cannot use "is". Only the breeder reactor fits the wordplay perfectly.The clue is fair to the solver in that may be is a pointer to looking up the range of reactors. From that range, the solver can narrow down a candidate which fits nicely with the definition.

F. Check plant for new life. (13) _ _ _ N _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Check plant for new life.

Check = Rein and Plant = Carnation
New Life = Reincarnation


Reincarnation is the rebirth of a soul in a new body."Start a new life" is a term commonly used after a big change in one's life. Think about it! The biggest change to one's life is death. Then you start a new life - which is precisely what reincarnation is. This neat definition is a vivid example of exaptation - a term mostly used in evolutionary biology. Two sets of words, previously unconnected, find new life in one another!


The substitution of plant with carnation will tut-tut tongues,snort noses,raise eyebrows or shake heads in some quarters.
After all, carnation is an example of a plant. The clue should have read plant,say or plant, for example.
Look at clue E where "may be" qualified the accuracy of the definition.
Here there is no such qualification. Is this valid? I would say so.
Over time, the presence of words like plant,tree,bird,fish,dog,cat,bone,etc in clues has come to imply that what the setter is asking for as a substitute is an example.
So regular crossword solvers no longer tut-tut tongues,snort noses,raise eyebrows or shake heads.They hunker down and open up their crossword dictionaries to look for suitable substitutes.

Here is the final triplet of neat definitions.

G. Ridiculous two hours pay is on offer to one at bar. (5,4,6) _ _ A _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ O _

H. British Rail in a struggle to find lender. (9) _ _ _ R _ _ _ _ _

I. Labour Party unlikely to split? (5,4) _ _ A _ _ _ _ N _


Friday, September 24, 2010

Neat Definitions 2

Each Clue explanation is divided into Analysis, Aesthetics and Afterword.

Visual Key to Clue Analysis :
Definition : BOLD
Wordplay : Italics with keywords underlined as well
Link : Normal


Clue A : Water-colour production from painter using East End location (7)


Water-colour production from painter using East End location.

Painter = RA (see 9Down write-up in Crossword 1 Answers Explanation Posting)
Using East End location  will take up the remaining 5 letters.This particular location in East End should be 3 lettered.
This is because at least 2 letters are needed for "using". Let's say the location is called ZZZ. Then "using ZZZ" can be "at ZZZ" or "in ZZZ". Since RA is next to it, IN seems the better choice. So we have RAINZZZ. When we see RAIN and water-colour, we will be able to reach RAINBOW. You can check to verify that Bow is part of East End, London.


The art motif is used in the definition as well as the wordplay and this enhances the surface reading of the clue.Water-colour is a common enough term but when used in this context , it is elevated and  becomes inextricably linked with rainbow, one of Nature's mysterious creations.


Below is the image of a double rainbow in a watercolour painting by a master of the form, John Constable.

Constable painted directly from Nature.When he did this painting, the sun would have been behind him. Just this fact would have been sufficient for anyone to connect the sun behind, the rain in front - with the eventual appearance of a rainbow in front of an observer.
Yet it took until 1666, the "annus mirabilis" to understand the connection.No less a wizard than Newton ( superb in theoretical, mathematical and experimental physics ) solved the mystery in his masterpiece "Opticks".

To Newton, Nature offered the ultimate treasure hunt for the natural philosopher.

William Blake, mystic poet, lamented the solving of this and other mysteries. John Keats famously said that Newton had "unweaved" the rainbow, thus robbing it of its beauty.But his later words " Beauty is Truth, truth beauty" acknowledged that such unweaving had exposed pure beauty.How would a modern day Constable have painted the rainbow? Maybe the picture below can give a hint.

This was the image that prompted me to pen a clue for the word "Pelangi" (rainbow in the Malay language) in a treasure hunt circa 2002.

Your head blocks the sun from its centre.

Of course, no definition is needed in a treasure hunt clue, since the answers are out there! To understand why the clue fits, you can read about it here.

Clue B : Provider of a big bang? Possibly, it's supersonic! (13)


Provider of a big bang? Possibly, it's supersonic!

Possibly is the anagram indicator.And it's supersonic has 13 letters.Rearranging them, we have percussionist.
Percussion instruments are that family of instruments which musicians beat or strike to produce sound.And that certainly fits the definition provided.


Once again we spot a connection between definition and wordplay.A supersonic (transport) produces a sonic boom (big bang) when it crosses the sound barrier.Also, we have one of those delightful anagrams where a derived word is paired smoothly with the definition. It is simple and satisfying.


The anagram indicator is a staple in cryptic crosswords and hunts.In Crossword 2 , you would have seen that there were 12 of them.As a rule, when that many anagrams occur in a single setting, you can consider the puzzle to be easy and doable for beginners.
Even in difficult crosswords, the humble anagram indicator appears in at least a couple of clues.They are familiar faces you are glad to spot at a party that's full of forbidding strangers.You start a conversation with them before you get an intro to their immediate neighbours.
Hence anagram indicators are important that way - not terribly sexy like the other cold beauties around - hey, but you gotta start somewhere!

Some setters make it even more difficult for you at their party by disguising their anagram indicators with exotic garb, like at a masked ball.Hopefully, you see through the charade and recognize that familiar face.Don't take them for granted.Take up their kind offer and work your way through the room.Of course, there are those supremely confident playboys who start anywhere and before you know it, they're off to another party!

Clue C : Revising at a blue-chip university leaving with a first. etc (10)


Revising at a blue-chip university leaving with a first. etc

Revising is a familiar face.Yes, its an anagram indicator. The answer requires 10 letters but at a blue-chip has 11 letters.So one needs to leave and that one is u which is a short form for university.This is confirmed by the remaining portion of the wordplay which is university leaving. So then we revise ATABLECHIP to ALPHABETIC. This word suggests a particular order of letters starting with A, then B and so on - which fits nicely with the pithy a first, etc.


In the context of this clue, first is the equivalent of a first-class honours, indicating high achievement and ability.This is the meaning your mind would impart to that word , since it concatenates with revising and blue-chip.
Other than standing in as a dependable anagram indicator, revising is also linked to the drudgery of studying and re-studying.And that, too at a blue-chip university, no less.So you study hard at a top uni and deservedly get a first-class honours.Great! That's what is definitely in your brain when you first read the clue.


Etc is usually part of the wordplay in most clues.This is one of the few times it appears in a definition.Another thing that throws beginners off is that when you read the clue, "a" is pronounced as the article and not the letter.So it takes some amount of mental gymnastics to shift gears to treating it in letter-mode.Your brain will get to treat "a" in both modes after revising CONSTANTLY.Another lesson here is the substitution of words like university with a single letter. There are a whole lot of them out there and it takes time get familiar with all of them.

And to finish off this posting here is another triplet of neat definitions.

D. Work in a cause : that's the aim of running mates. (9)  _ _ O _ _ _ _ _ _

E. How reactor may be occupied reproducing relatively closely? (10) _ _ _ R _ _ _ _ _ _

F. Check plant for new life. (13) _ _ _ N _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 Give them a go and if you think you've got 'em, do send your answers to


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crossword 2 Answers Explanation


Welcome all! We hope you enjoyed your first crossword with the Cryptonites, and that you found the explanations to be of assistance to you.

This week’s crossword gives you a good opportunity to practice your anagrams (12 clues), double definitions (7 clues) and hidden words (3 clues), but there is also a homophone, a sandwich, plus several combination/general clues.


1.  Maroon Beach (6). STRAND. Double definition. To “maroon” someone is to “strand” them. But also, a strip of beach is often called a “strand”.

4. Reasonable entertainment (4). FAIR. Double definition. To be “reasonable” means to be “fair”, but a “fair” is also a form of “entertainment”.

7. Eager sort of diva (4). AVID. Anagram. The definition is “eager” (which is a synonym for “avid”). “Sort of” is an anagram indicator, and if you shuffle the letters for “diva” you get “avid”.

8. Rib not broken by Scot, say (6). BRITON. Anagram. The definition is “Scot, say”. The answer is “Briton”, and a “Scot” is one example of a “Briton” (hence the use of the word “say”). The anagram indicator is “broken”, and if you shuffle the letters for “rib not” you get “Briton”.

9. Average guy (4). NORM. Double definition. “Average” is a synonym for “norm”, and Norm is a guy’s name.

10. Always in one version (4). EVER. Hidden word. The definition is “always”, “ever” is a synonym of “always”, and it is hidden in “onE VERsion”.

12. Hero serious about plant (4). ROSE. Hidden word. The definition is “plant”, “rose” is a type of “plant”, and it is hidden in “heRO SErious”.

14. One ran for a long time (3). EON.  Anagram. The definition is “long time” (which is a synonym for “eon”). “Ran” is the anagram indicator, and if you shuffle the letters for “one” you get “eon”.

16. Exclude from the pub (3). BAR. Double definition. To “exclude” means to “bar”, and another word for  “pub” is “bar”. In this case, “from the” are link words.

17. Deity gets terribly sore (4). EROS. Anagram. The definition is “deity”, and “Eros” is a deity, or God. The anagram indicator is “terribly”, and if you shuffle the letters “sore” you get “eros”.

20. Race around some land (4).  ACRE. Anagram. The definition is “some land”, and “acre” is a measure of land. The anagram indicator is “around” and if you shuffle the letters “race” you get “acre”.

23. Attendant’s strange idea (4).  AIDE. Anagram. The definition is “attendant”, and “aide” is a type of attendant. “Strange” is the anagram indicator, and if you shuffle the letters in “idea” you get “aide”.

24.  Hunt for a long time (6). FORAGE. General clue. The definition is “hunt”, and a synonym for “hunt” is “forage”. The wordplay is “for a long time”. In this case it is a matter of inserting “for” directly into the first part of the answer. For the second part of the answer, a synonym for “long time” is “age”.  So, “for” plus “age” = “forage”.

25. Otherwise see about taking leaf (4). ELSE.  Combination of anagram and sandwich clue. “Otherwise” is the definition, and a synonym for “otherwise” is “else”. The anagram indicator is “about”, so we have to shuffle the letters of the word “see”. In addition though, the other part of the wordplay is “taking leaf”. In this case, the word “taking” is an indicator of a sandwich clue. So if we take the first letter of “leaf” and insert it inside an anagram of “see”, we get “else”.

26. Chuck has husband turn right and left (4).  HURL. General clue. “Chuck” is the definition, and a synonym for “chuck” is “hurl”. The wordplay is made up of the following components:
    ‘Husband” can often mean you can use the first letter, “H”.
    “Turn” often denotes “U turn”, so you can use just the letter U.
    “Right” and “left” are often replaced by “R” and “L” respectively.
If you bring each of these letters together, they form the word “hurl”. Did you see the error in the clue??

27. Bad rent to be negotiated (6).  ROTTEN. Anagram. “Bad” is the definition, and a synonym for “bad” is “rotten”. The anagram indicator is “negotiated”, and if you shuffle the letters in “rent to”, you get “rotten”.


1. Dreadful bores are sensible (5).  SOBER. Anagram. “Sensible” is the definition, and a synonym of “sensible” is “sober”.  The anagram indicator is “dreadful”, and if you shuffle the letters in “bores” you get “sober”.

2. Managed to get one in bad weather (4). RAIN. Sandwich clue. The definition is “bad weather”, and one type of bad weather is “rain”. Another word for “managed” is “ran”, and “to get one” means to put either an “a” or an “i” (in this case “i”) into “ran”, which gives you the word “rain”.

3. Reportedly condescends to Europeans (5). DANES. Homophone. The definition is “Europeans”. The word which gives it away as a homophone is “reportedly”, which means we are looking for a word which sounds like a synonym of “condescends”, but means “Europeans”. The answer we are looking for is “Danes”. Danes are Europeans, plus it sounds the same as “deigns” which means “condescends”.

4. Acceptable damages (4). FINE. Double definition. “Fine” is a synonym for “acceptable”, but “fine” is also a form of damages.

5. Loved to bother socialist (6). ADORED.  General clue (a bit like 24 across). The definition is “loved”, and a synonym for “loved” is “adored”. The wordplay is made up of “bother” = “ado” and “socialist” = “red”. Put them together and you get “adored”.

6. Old Italian-style manor (5). ROMAN. Anagram. The definition is “old Italian”, which is a Roman. The anagram indicator is “style”, and if you shuffle the letters of “manor” you get “roman”.

11. Stop changing vote (4). VETO. Another anagram (you’re getting lots of practice with anagrams!). The definition is “stop”, which also means to “veto”. “Changing” is the anagram indicator, and if you shuffle the letters in “vote” you get “veto”.

13. Finished six deliveries (4). OVER. Double definition. “Finished” means “over”, but “over” is also a cricket term for six deliveries or balls.

15. Merchant got tarred, unfortunately (6). TRADER. Anagram. The definition is “merchant”, and a type of merchant is a trader. The anagram indicator is “unfortunately”, and if you change around the letters in “tarred” you get “trader”.

16. Bishop, impetuous and pushy (5). BRASH. General clue (a bit like 24 across and 5 down). “Pushy” is the definition, and another word for “pushy” is “brash”. From the worldplay, you can use the letter “b” for “bishop”, and another word for “impetuous” is “rash”. When you add “rash” to “b”, you get “brash”.

18. Mention freer arrangement (5). REFER. Anagram. The definition is “mention”, and a synonym for “mention” is “refer”. The anagram indicator is “arrangement”, and if you play with the letters in “freer” you get  “refer”.

19. A shade naïve (5). GREEN. Double definition. To be “naïve” is to be “green”, but “green” is also a colour shade.

21. Cancellation includes room (4). CELL. Hidden word. The definition is “room”, and a “cell” is a type of “room”. The word “includes” suggests a hidden word, and included in “canCELLation" is the answer.

22. Wish for wife to join worker (4). WANT.  General clue. “Wish for” is the definition, which can also mean to “want”. From the wordplay, you can substitute “w” for “wife”, and a type of worker is an “ant”. If you join “w” to “ant”, you get “want”.

Craig & Mary

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Neat Definitions

One of the first things that a cryptic crossword solver checks for in a clue is where the definition lies. Is it at the front or at the back of the clue? Any clue that yields to such analysis can be broken reasonably fast. One has now to solve the wordplay portion to confirm what the actual answer is.

However, there will be times when the definition is difficult to ascertain. In such a case your only path forward is to crack the wordplay and see if it fits in with the obscure OR neat definition.We wont talk about obscure definitions at  this point. Instead , let me tell you about some NEAT definitions I have come across.

By NEAT , I mean "elegant" or "stylish". You will not see any of these neat definitions in a dictionary or thesaurus. Definitions that are so deceptive - yet accurate.They come up infrequently. But when they do - you get a glimpse of the creativity of the crossword setters.

And most impressively, old and familiar words sparkle again as if they have been given a good scrubbing from head to toe, pressed into their best suits and are now standing in front of you with erect posture.
No longer are they possessed of slouchiness and flaccidity - the natural consequence of over-exposure in the media!

Here are three clues which illustrate what I mean by neat definition.See if you can crack them.

A. Water-colour production from painter using East End location? (7)    _ _ _ _ _ O _

B. Provider of a big bang? Possibly, it's supersonic! (13)    _ _ _ _ _ _ S _ _ _ _ _ _

C. Revising at a blue-chip university leaving with a first, etc (10)   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ T _ _

You can send your answers to

You're also welcome to share with all our readers any NEAT definitions you have come across.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Crossword 1 Answers Explanation

Solution to Crossword 1

1. Flier finds German university students (4)
 The definition lies either in front of the question (ie flier) or at the back (students).In this question, the definition is the flier; so you must find a 4-letter word for flier.But which flier is implied by ‘German university students’; the cryptic fodder? No indicator here, so let’s try ‘word substitution’. German can be replaced with G; while University is commonly referred to as U. How about Students? Student (or sometimes Trainee or Novice) can be replaced by L (short for Learner as in L-plate); hence Students can be represented by LL (ie more than 1 learner). So putting them together:-German = G; University = U; Students = LL (Learners); G+U+LL = GULL (flier)

4. Dandy has left as a failure (4)
With the definition either in front or at the back of the question, you have 2 options; ‘dandy’ or ‘failure’. Here the definition is ‘failure’. So you need a 4-letter word for failure; by deciphering ‘Dandy has left’. This will involve ‘indicator recognition’ and ‘word substitution’. ‘has’ (or sometimes ‘takes’) means “is in possession of”; hence it is an insertion indicator to tell you that dandy is in possession of left. For word substitution, your thesaurus will give you FOP as a synonym to “dandy”; while left can be substituted as L (likewise right can be R).
Dandy = FOP; left = L; Dandy has left = FOP has L = F(L)OP = FLOP (failure)

6. Total zero at sport (4)
I guess that by now, you would have suspected either Total or Sport as definition. You’re on the right track, because the definition here is sport. That leaves ‘total zero’ as the fodder. Without any indicator, if we go with word substitution; Total can be SUM and zero can be O.Total= SUM; zero = O; SUM+O = SUMO (sport)

8. Part of the Far East (4)
Here the definition is 'part'. 'of the Far East' means from the Far East. So answer is from Far East.If you take it literally ( as a hidden word clue ) then you might see the word 'area' in Far East. And area matches as a synonym for 'part'. PART = AREA ( of the FAR EAST)

11. Printed article about missile (4)
 Back to the typical way to find definition! You should consider either ‘printed’ or ‘missile’.In this case, it’s missile. So how about ‘printed article about’? ‘About’ looks suspicious; where it can act as a hidden indicator. If you look inside ‘printed article’, you can find DART (missile).About (hidden indicator); Printed article = DART (missile)

13. Steal pub and profit (7)
 The definition can be either ‘steal’ or ‘profit’. Here it is ‘steal’; so you have to look for a 7-letter word for steal; from ‘pub and profit’. A simple ‘word substitution’ will do the trick; where pub is bar and profit is gain.
Pub = BAR; profit = GAIN; BAR+GAIN = BARGAIN = steal

14. The rodent in the crate (3)
The definition is either ‘the rodent’ or ‘crate’. Here you are to look for a 3-letter word for rodent; from the cryptic fodder ‘in the crate’. ‘In’ is a hidden indicator; which if you look inside ‘the crate’, you will find RAT (rodent).In (hidden indicator); the crate = RAT (rodent)

16. Head in charge of subject (5)
Look for the definition at the front (ie ‘head’) or at the back (ie ‘subject’) of the question. Here the definition is ‘subject’ and the cryptic fodder is ‘head in charge’. Again ‘word substitution’ can reveal the answer. Think of a synonym of head; which can be TOP. Likewise ‘In charge’ can be represented by IC (sometimes in work delegation, you may see PIC, which means ‘person in charge’).Head=TOP; In Charge = IC; TOP+IC = TOPIC (subject)

18. Animal's key is no different (5)
The definition can be either ‘animal’ or ‘different’. Since ‘different’ can be an anagram indicator, I would suggest that you consider animal as definition first. Look for a 5-letter word for animal; from the cryptic fodder ‘key is no different’. However you’ll notice that ‘key is no’ has more than 5 letters; hence direct anagram may not be the answer. ‘Key’ (or ‘note) is commonly used in cryptic crossword to indicate music key note (ie A, B, C, D, E, F or G). So now by combining one of these notes with the anagram of  IS NO, it is now possible to get BISON (animal). Different (anagram indicator); key = B (music key note); key is no = B IS NO = BISON (animal)

21. The origins of botany (5)
 This question is unique, as it is a cryptic definition of the answer. As usual, the definition can be ‘the origins’ or ‘botany’. Here you have to look for another 5-letter word for ‘the origins’. But which one? This is where the cryptic fodder ‘of botany’ comes into play. Think of common words in the world of botany, and you will realise that ROOTS (origins) can satisfy the criteria.

22. Pillar found in one well (5)
This question is similar to 14 Across. Instead of ‘the rodent’, the definition is ‘pillar’. ‘Found in’ will suggest a hidden indicator. So looking inside ‘one well’, you should spot NEWEL (pillar). Easy; once you have learnt the technique!Found in (hidden indicator); One well = NEWEL (pillar)

24. Appearing to have food (3)
Similar to the hidden question in 11 Across, the definition here is ‘food’. ‘To have’ is another typical hidden indicator; so look inside ‘Appearing’ and you’ll see PEA(food).To have (hidden indicator); Appearing = PEA (food)

25. Article about concert (7)
A simple question with only 3 words; where the words can be the definition, the indicator or the fodder. ‘About’ looks like a candidate as an anagram indicator; so that leaves ‘article’ and ‘concert’ as definition or fodder. But which is which? So you can try to anagram CONCERT and get another word that means ARTICLE. Or alternatively you can anagram ARTICLE and get another word that means CONCERT. In the latter case, from ARTICLE, you can get RECITAL (concert).About (anagram indicator); ARTICLE = RECITAL (concert)

28. Nothing but affection (4)
Another 3-word question. However unlike 25 Across, this one doesn’t have any clue indicator. Hence, one should suspect ‘double definition’. It means that you must look for 4-letter word that means ‘nothing’; as well as ‘affection’. LOVE will fulfill the double definition.Double def; Nothing = LOVE = affection

30. Late translating a story (4)
Similar to the anagram question in 25 Across, here ‘translating’ can be an anagram indicator. That leaves either ‘late’ or ‘story’ as definition. Since we’re looking for a 4-letter word, it makes perfect sense, to try anagram LATE (instead of story) and take ‘story’ as definition.Translating (anagram indicator); LATE = TALE (story)

31. Resting-places in the county (4)
At first glance, the sentence seems to suggest a ‘hidden’ question. However the word ‘in’ doesn’t represent a hidden indicator. Here this is another ‘double definition’ question. Look for a 4-letter word that represents ‘resting-places’ and ‘county’. A common word for ‘resting places’ can be ‘BEDS’. A quick check on the encyclopaedia will show that BEDS (short for Bedfordshire) is a county, in southeast-central England.Double def; Resting-places = BEDS = county

32. Rite used flag (4)
Similar to the anagram question in 25 Across and 30 Across, here ‘used’ is an anagram indicator; while the definition can be either ‘rite’ or ‘flag’. Try to anagram ‘flag’ to get a word for ‘rite’ and you may get nothing. However if you anagram ‘rite’, you can get TIRE (which can mean flag ie less enthusiastic).Used (anagram indicator); RITE = TIRE (flag)

33. Adherent takes trainee a cake (4)
The definition can be either ‘adherent’ or ‘cake’. Here you need to get a 4-letter word for ‘cake’; by deciphering ‘adherent takes trainee’. Now it involves a bit of ‘word substitution’ and ‘clue recognition’. You can replace adherent as FAN; while trainee can be L (please refer to earlier explanation in 1 Across). How about ‘takes’? ‘Takes’ can be an insertion indicator (pls refer to earlier explanation in 4 Across). So insert L (trainee) inside FAN (adherent) to get FLAN (cake).Adherent = FAN; Trainee = L (learner); FAN takes L = F(L)AN = FLAN (cake)

1 Seize outlandish garb (4)
‘Outlandish’ can represent an indicator for anagram. So the definition can be either ‘seize’ or ‘garb’. Since we are looking for a 4-letter word, it’s more logical to assume ‘seize’ as the definition and anagram the 4-letter ‘garb’. You should get GRAB (seize).Outlandish (anagram indicator); GARB = GRAB (seize)

2. Look for shelter on the right (4)
The definition can be either ‘look’ or ‘right’. Here ‘look’ is the definition. So we need to get a 4-letter word for look; from ‘shelter on the right’. LEE can be a shelter (usually from wind or weather); while right can be R (as explained in 4 Across). Please take note that the word ‘on’ is suitably used in a Down question; as LEE is on top of R. Of course, LEER is to look (usually in an unpleasant way).Shelter = LEE; Right = R; LEE + R = LEER (look)

3. Check for gold key and object (5)
The definition can be either ‘check’ or ‘object’. Here the definition is ‘check’; so let’s look for a 5-letter synonym. How about ‘gold key and object’? Without any indicator, this seems to suggest ‘word substitution’. Typically when a chemical element is mentioned, it is good to know its symbol/abbreviation (please refer here for complete list). Gold is commonly represented by Au (from Latin Aurum). Key can be D (as previously explained in 18 Across). Object can be represented by IT. Putting them together, you should get AUDIT (check).Gold = AU (Aurum); key = D (music key note); object = IT; AU+D+IT = AUDIT (check)

4. In favour of a number, say (3)
The definition can be either ‘in favour of’ or ‘say’. Since ‘say’ can be a sound-like indicator, it’s more likely to assume the definition to be ‘in favour of’. So we are looking a 3-letter word for ‘in favour of’; which also sound like a number. Working systematically from one, two etc, you will realise that ‘four’ sounds like FOR (in favour of).Say (sound indicator); A number = four; sounds like FOR (in favour of)

5. Left some wine (4)
This question may seem to suggest a hidden type, with ‘some’ as the hidden indicator. However similar to 31 Across, this is a double definition question. Look for a 4-letter word, which means ‘left’ and ‘some wine’; hence PORT.Double definition; left = PORT = wine

7. Roman-style residence (5)
Smooth reading on the surface. But as usual, the definition can be ‘Roman’ or ‘residence’. Style (as in to design) can be an anagram indicator. For a 5-letter answer, we should anagram Roman to get another word for residence.; which you should get MANOR
style (anag indicator); ROMAN = MANOR (residence)

9. Artist finds plant in canyon (6)
The definition can be ‘artist’ or ‘canyon’. Here it is canyon we’re looking from ‘Artist finds plant’. Without any indicator, this can be another ‘word substitution’ question. For those who are new to cryptic crosswords, RA can represent Royal Academician (who is a member of Royal Academy of Arts). VINE can be a plant. This should give RAVINE (canyon).Artist = RA (Royal Academician); plant = VINE; RA + VINE = RAVINE (canyon)

10. Silver, blue and shining (5)
Wow… another chemical element here. Remember the knowledge required for chemical element (please refer 3 Down, if you have forgotten). Silver is commonly represented by AG (Argentum). Beside being a colour, ‘blue’ can also mean sad or LOW. Put this together, you should get AGLOW (which is shining).Silver = AG (Argentum); blue = LOW; AG + LOW = AGLOW (shining)

12. Group generating riot (4)
Similar to 1 Down anagram question, with ‘generating’ as anagram indicator, the definition here is more likely to be ‘Group’, as ‘riot’ can be anagrammed into the 4-letter answer. You should get ‘riot’ as TRIO (which is a group of three).generating (anag indicator); RIOT = TRIO (group)

15. Real performance? Turn to a novice (6)
The definition can be either ‘Real’ or ‘novice’. With ‘real’ as the definition, you have to decipher ‘performance? Turn to a novice!’. Here you have to break this into 4 parts and word exchange each one. You can say that performance can be an ACT, while ‘turn’ can be U (as in U-Turn by vehicle) and ‘a’ remains as A. Do you still remember what I have taught you about ‘Novice’? Novice can be L (please refer to 1 Across). You should be able to construct ACTUAL (real).Performance = ACT; Turn = U (U turn); A novice = A L (learner); ACT+U+AL=ACTUAL (real)

17. Suggest I stop running (5)
 The definition can be ‘suggest’ or ‘running’. Here it is ‘suggest’ which is the definition, with ‘running’ a suitable anagram indicator. If you anagram ‘I stop’, you can get POSIT (suggest).running (anagram indicator); I STOP = POSIT (suggest)

19. Close to the animal (4)
Without any indicator, this could be another question of double definition. Look for a 4-letter word, which means ‘close’ or ‘the animal’. How about SEAL?
double definition; close = SEAL = animal

20. Never lost courage (5)
 Similar to 25 Across and 30 Across, you will notice that Lost can be an anagram indicator. This leaves either ‘never’ or ‘courage’ as the definition. Again the 5-letter answer points toward ‘courage’ as the definition and ‘nerve’ needs to be anagrammed. By doing that, you should get NERVE (courage).Lost (anag indicator); NEVER = NERVE (courage)

23. City guides get reported (5)
A second sound-like question; since ‘get reported’ looks good as a sound indicator. Since the sound indicator is next to ‘guides’, it naturally means that we are looking for a 5-letter word, which is a ‘city’, but sounds like ‘guides’. In this case, LEEDS (a city in England) sounds like ‘leads’ (guides).Reported (sound indicator); guides = leads; sounds like LEEDS (a city in England)

24. Pets turn out to be an irritation (4)
 Another anagram question is on the cards, since ‘turn out’ can be an anagram indicator. So the definition can be ‘pets’ or ‘irritation’. Again the 4-letter ‘pets’ should be anagrammed; to get PEST (irritation).Turn out (anagram indicator); Pets = PEST (irritation)

26. Follow the queue (4)
 Without any indicator, this is likely to be a double definition question. Look for a 4-letter word, which means ‘follow’ or ‘the queue’. How about TAIL?Double definition; Follow = TAIL = queue

27. Incline to be thin (4)
Without any indicator, this is also likely to be a double definition question. Look for a 4-letter word, which means ‘incline’ or ‘thin’. LEAN should fit the bill.Double definition; Incline = LEAN = thin

29. Nobel's prize (3)
Last but not the least, this is a unique hidden question. The presence of an apostrophe suggests that the ‘prize’ is possessed by ‘Nobel’. So if you look inside Nobel, you will see OBE (short for Officer of the Order of the British Empire; a prize given for national order of merit)OBE = prize (hidden in Nobel)

Chian Min