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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Cryptic crosswords for rookies: a bit little bit of politics | Crosswords

Within the instance clues beneath, I clarify the 2 elements of every one. There’s a definition of the reply and there may be some wordplay – a recipe for assembling its letters. In a real puzzle atmosphere, in fact, you even have the crossing letters, which massively alleviate your fixing load. Additionally, right here, the setters’ names are inclined to hyperlink to profiles of the people behind the pseudonyms.

I are inclined to assume that if I’ve learn a lot of the remainder of the newspaper, I must know all the pieces I would like to resolve the crossword. And one staple of the “information” sections that seems within the clues repeatedly is politics.

‘Member’ = MP

MPs, 1999-style
MPs, 1999-style. {Photograph}: PA

Right here’s Nutmeg with considered one of her characteristically neat clues …

12a Member behind evaluation of spots to remain below canvas (6)
[ wordplay: abbrev. for ‘member’ after (‘behind’) reversed (‘review of’) synonym for ‘spots’ ][ MP after reversed ACNE ][ definition: to stay under canvas ]

… for ENCAMP. Different phrases in clues which may point out an MP within the reply are “consultant” and, straightforwardly, “politician”. (And it must be famous {that a} “member” may equally point out ARM, LEG and the remainder of it.)

‘Social gathering’ = CON

Tristan, a three-year-old Lhasa apso, wearing a Conservative rosette, 2016.
Tristan, a three-year-old Lhasa apso, sporting a Conservative rosette, 2016. {Photograph}: Nina Massey/PA

Right here’s Paul with a clue …

18a Pressure, say, behind celebration rivalry (10)
[ wordplay: soundalike (‘say’) of synonym for ‘strain’ after (‘behind’ again) abbrev. for a political party ][ soundalike of ‘tension’ after CON ][ definition: rivalry ]

… for CONTENTION, and a possibility to notice {that a} “celebration” can in fact even be LAB, simply as a “prisoner” generally is a totally different (except you’re Jeffrey Archer) type of CON.

‘Staff’ = TU

An RMT banner
An RMT banner. {Photograph}: Martin Argles/The Guardian

What about, as they used to ask, the employees? Right here’s Brendan …

4d Legal guidelines in elements of US overlaying organisation of employees (8)
[ wordplay: synonym for ‘parts of US’ containing (‘covering’) abbrev. for ‘organisation of workers’ ][ STATES containing TU ][ definition: laws ]

… spelling it out as “organisation of employees” in a clue for STATUTES, however that abbreviation for commerce union may equally be indicated by “employees”, simply as these useful letter-strings NUM and NUT may trigger there to be a “miners” or a “lecturers” in your clue.

‘Taxman’ = IR

Inland Revenue tax return form.
Inland Income tax return type. {Photograph}: Sarah Lee/The Guardian

These days, extra typically “outdated taxman”, for the reason that Inland Income merged with HM Customs and Excise in 2005. So right here’s Harpo with a clue …

18d Outdated tax workplace work lastly getting a bit tedious (7)
[ wordplay: abbrev. for ‘old tax office’ + last letter of (‘finally’) WORK + synonym for ‘a little’ ][ IR + K + SOME ][ definition: tedious ]

… for TEDIOUS and a comment that the letter-string HMRC is far much less helpful to setters.

‘Revolutionary’ = CHE

Graffito depicting Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara in Matanzas, Cuba.
Graffito depicting Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara in Matanzas, Cuba. {Photograph}: Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Photos

There’s actually one revolutionary I consider immediately once I see that phrase in a clue. So it goes on this clue from Vulcan …

21d Revolutionary spray dispenser (7)
[ wordplay: familiar name of a revolutionary + synonym for ‘spray’ ][ CHE + MIST ][ definition: dispenser ]

… for CHEMIST.

Seasoned solvers: any acquainted abbreviations or conventions I’ve missed? Newcomers: any questions?

Extra steerage

Cryptic units: hidden solutions; double definitions; cryptic definitions; soundalikes; preliminary letters; spoonerisms; containers; reversals; alternate letters; biking; stammering; taking most of a phrase; bare phrases; first and final letters; center letters; defining by instance.

Fine details: Roman numerals; Nato alphabet; Greek letters; chemistry; abbreviations for international locations; factors of the compass; taking part in playing cards; capital letters; girls and boys; apostrophes; cricket; alcohol; the church; Latin; royals; newspapers; docs; medication; music; animals; automobiles; cities; rivers; boats; when the setter’s title seems; when the solver seems; “dishonest”.

Particular person letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, Ok, L, M.

The Transport Forecast Puzzle Guide by Alan Connor, which is partly however not predominantly cryptic, can be obtained from the Guardian Bookshop.

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