Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #156 | How to reconcile the left with the right? Try Cryptics

Mihir Balantrapu  |  14 October 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Setters aren’t political. But politics as we know and experience it is all wrong. And we all fall for it helplessly, if you ask me.

See, it wants us to like or choose one side over the other. Even though human beings are complex individuals with a lot more grey than black or white.

And the two competing worldviews will only destroy our actual real world with perpetual conflict.

Unless we are able to reconcile the differences between the two, and forge a new way based on an amalgamated worldview that picks an optimal solution from the best of both worlds. And that involves understanding each side clearly for how it is trying to deceive us or benefit us.

Good news, solving cryptic crosswords gives you practice to do just that. Get smarter. Understand the world more clearly. Find the answer in cooperation rather than conflict.

Here’s a nice clue that points out the importance of reconciliation over a win-lose. 


The Hindu Cryptic #13066 | Dr. X | 7 Down

CLUE:  Former British PM ignores leading diplomat, one from a Middle Eastern country (7)

Clue types: Deletion, abbreviation

Definition: one from a Middle Eastern country


Clue explained:

We need a 7-letter word here. As per the rules/conventions of cryptic crosswords, the definition of that word is either the first word/phrase or the final word/phrase. Meaning that the answer appears to be on either side of the clue.

Let’s presume that it’s the final word/phrase and see where it takes us. It’s as good a guess as any.

And that means the wordplay we’re looking to solve belongs to the left side of the clue. Now, the left side should be matched with or reconciled with the right side. That’s what every cryptic clue is trying to get you to do. (Is that true equality? Well, the setter isn’t political, so let’s see.)

So, a ‘former British PM’ could be any of the multitudes of statesmen who have taken up the post in the past. But look at the right side (where the definition presumably lies), and you may just get a cue...

The definition, ‘one from a middle-eastern country’, could be an Israeli, possibly. So, does that make you think of Benjamin Disraeli, the former Conservative British Prime Minister who made Queen Victoria Empress of India in the 19th Century?

Ah, so that should help us work out the wordplay from the definition, which is sort of like working out the method from the answer. Well, presuming that Disraeli is indeed the British PM that the setter is referring to, let’s see if the rest of the wordplay properly bridges the left and the right.

If DISRAELI (‘former British PM’) ‘ignores leading diplomat’, we might just remove (as in, ‘ignore’) the D (‘leading diplomat’ is pointing to a D, the leading letter of ‘diplomat’) and get ourselves an ISRAELI!

Was that fun to solve? Did you get a kick out of understanding how to work out the answer to a cryptic crossword clue? Did you enjoy being given a random sentence that ultimately leads to a completely unexpected but totally decipherable answer? Do you feel like you could use some help to guide you towards the answer for each of the 20-30 clues that usually bamboozle you in each puzzle? Well, look no further!

Ok, look just a little further. Because, every Sunday, The Hindu Crossword Plus will be posting a new The Hindu Cryptic puzzle with annotations for each clue! Go ahead and bookmark that link and play the latest puzzle.

Each annotation will give you helping hints and hold your hand as we work out the answer together. If you liked the long-winded explanation to the above clue, then you will surely enjoy the crisper versions we give you in The Hindu Cryptic on Sunday puzzles, when you click the button ‘Reveal’ and then ‘Show a hint’.

And guess what, The Hindu Cryptic on Sunday is absolutely free! All you have to do is sign up to play.

Click right here to subscribe to the interactive THCrosswordPlus, so you can solve on your mobile phone, get hints, and even check your answers on the go!