Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #160 | Crosswords — a place where the mind can roam free

Mihir Balantrapu  |  21 October 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

People have a lot of opinions about a wandering mind. Some say it leads to undesirable things like indecision, unhappiness, distraction, etc. But here’a another side of the coin. Unless you let your mind wander like a 4-year-old in a play pen, it will never get the hang of exploration and the freedom and creativity that accompanies it. The key is probably to keep an eye on and monitor the 4-year-old so that it doesn’t end up bumping noggin-first into other kids or swallowing any choking hazards, of course.


The Hindu Cryptic #13071 | 19 Across | Avtaar

CLUE: Roaming freely in train leads to thrilling experiences (9)

Clue types: Anagram, acronym letter-pick

Definition: Roaming


Clue explained:

Here we’re looking for a 9-letter word. It should be a synonym of the clue’s definition. And as you would know by now, the definition of a clue is almost always found at either the beginning of the clue or the end.

So, the definition could be a synonym of ‘roaming’. Or maybe or ‘experiences’. Or maybe even of ‘thrilling experiences’. So, let’s use the words in between to make sense of it all and see if that gives us a hint about which is the definition.

‘Freely’ can possibly be an anagrind (a word that indicates an anagram). An anagram is always a useful device for us solvers because it gifts us a bunch of the letters from the answer. So, if we were to anagram the adjacent words ‘in train’, and put them in a different order, we have the letters ITINRAN. Now, look at that weird set of letters and see if it reminds you of a synonym for either of our two shortlisted definitions, ‘roaming’ or ‘experiences’. To me, it already reads like “itinerant”, which is another word for ‘roaming’. So...

... If ‘roaming’ is really the definition to this clue and ‘freely’ is the anagrind and ‘in train’ is part of the anagram fodder, then there are still four more words left for us to work out within the wordplay — ‘leads to thrilling experiences’.

Now, when you see a phrase like ‘leads to’, your mind should automatically imagine that the setter is hinting at the starting letters of the adjacent word/s. The starting letters of ‘thrilling experiences’ are T and E.

And if you anagram (as indicated by ‘freely’) the letters of ‘in train’ as well as T and E, you certainly get ITINERANT, which, if your mind is still and focussed, you would immediately recognise as the 9-letter word that means ‘roaming’!

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!