Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cryptics, part II

The last four types of cryptic clues:

5. Two meanings. The clue gives two definitions of the same word. A bird that's used for lifting? (5) is a crane, both a type of bird and a machine for lifting. A question mark at the end usually indicates a verbal prank is being played, and you need to watch out. These clues tend to be very short as well, and they often involve puns.

Once you figure them out, they are often groaners.

6. Deletion. First off most uncompromising mountain (7) is Everest. Stay with me here...most uncompromising is the severest. If you take the first off, you get Everest, which is a mountain.


Deletions can come at the end or middle of words, too. Look for "beheaded", "heartless", "endless" and the like.

7. Container. Kid keeps near this evening (7) becomes tonight under this wordplay.

A kid is a tot. Tot goes around (or "keeps" in a figurative sense) nigh (near), so...

8. Charade. Anti-Abortionist ate spread (11) is proliferate once you get done with it.

As in the game of charades, this wordplay breaks the clue into parts to be solved, then put together for the answer.

Anti-abortionist is a pro-lifer

Ate is a directly given part of the answer

Pro-lifer + ate = proliferate, which means to spread.

If I say that these puzzles are fun, you will probably put me firmly in the "nutcase" section of your personal filing cabinet. The relief joy at actually solving one of these things is directly proportional to the effort expended to get there. It does relax me, and seems to sharpen my mind for other things (provided of course that I actually solve a few clues during any given session).

At least if I do finally lose my mind, it will be for good reason.

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