Saturday, May 16, 2020

Cryptically thinking

Like so many other people, I've been less physically active during these last few months. But I'm working on that, as I'm trying to resume activities like bicycle riding and perhaps even golf, to go with my regular long walks.

Meanwhile, though, I've been doing lots and lots of crossword puzzles. Beyond the traditional puzzle, my paper frequently includes some "variety" puzzles, of which one of my favorites is the "cryptic" crossword.

Cryptic crosswords change the rules.

The cryptic crossword clue typically involves lots of word-play, including but not limited to: homophones, anagrams, reversals, hidden words, puns, etc.

Here's a lovely example:

  • Terribly dim thing! (8)

The answer, in this case, is "midnight", which is indeed a "terribly dim thing", but more importantly is an anagram of "dim thing".

I went through a burst of these over the last few weeks and below have collected a baker's dozen of my favorite clues.

Typically a clue is a favorite of mine if it makes me chuckle or groan when I finally crack it, but sometimes I just find them elegant or whatever.

And I know these aren't really hard. To get really hard Cryptic Crossword Clues, you have to go get the ones in the Telegraph or the Sunday Times. But I'm a lightweight, what can I say?

I'll come back here in a few days and post the answers, so if you haven't cracked them yourself by then you can look them up :)

Oh, btw: the format here is to list the clue itself, followed by the number of letters in the answer. If the answer is multiple words, the length of each word is given.

  1. Refurbished laptops are vastly different (5,5)
  2. Associates of violent armed cops (9)
  3. Where you may see a North African in a suit, perhaps (7)
  4. Smart panel working to create big business strategy (6,4)
  5. Shakespeare's amazing breadth (3,4)
  6. Old means of communication is great help, surprisingly (9)
  7. Or whisper Reformed prayer (9)
  8. Listening, notice raspy upright swimmer (3,5)
  9. Like some editors' notes about prize for far-out subject? (12)
  10. Have children arrange procedure (9)
  11. Farmworker eats hot poultry (8)
  12. African nation angered by a Tesla alternative (10)
  13. Technophobe diluted fluid (7)

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