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.


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