Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #13 | Motoring on for as long as we can afford

 |  31 March 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Incognito is among the more benign compliers adorning the pantheon of the THC setters. His grids are strewn with kindly inoffensive four-lettered words, straightforward clues, and exude an overall ‘solvability’. Take this dolly for example:


The Hindu Cryptic #12,896 | Incognito | (7 Down)

Clue surface: Model ward gets camping equipment (4)

Clue types: Simple charade

Definition: camping equipment

Answer: TENT

Annotation: T (example of / crosswording synonym for ‘Model’) precedes ENT (an instance of a ‘ward’)

That said, solvability is a rather relative term, isn’t it? Just like in regular communication, words have resonance only when they have relevance. And if you are a Baby Boomer, Millennial or younger, and have not been solving crosswords for any length of time, you may have been hard-pressed to ever wildly guess that the letter ‘T’ can be considered a synonym for ‘Model’.

Of course, if you have been solving cryptics, then you would be familiar, thanks purely to your familiarity with crosswording convention, with the Ford Model T (introduced in 1908 and discontinued in 1927) which made God’s great open spaces accessible to the American middle-class.

What do you think? Would you say that being billed as the first affordable automobile definitely entitles the Model T to the eternal stature of representing a standard crosswording abbreviation forever more? Or would you say that Time, along with its tendency to heal all wounds, also tapers the resonance of certain usages to gradually render them too archaic?

Crosswordese is an ever-expanding vintage dialect. Is there any need to update its vocabulary as the decades and centuries motor on?

Let us know your views in the comments below. And keep solving!

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