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

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