Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #162 | Be as water, fill the grid with the right letters

Mihir Balantrapu  |  22 October 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Solving cryptic crosswords can be a lot like a martial art. You need to be firm yet flexible. Fluid yet soild. Carefree yet cautious. If you asked Bruce Lee what this all meant, he’d probably tell you to ‘be like water’.


The Hindu Cryptic #13073 | 6 Down | Karaoke

CLUE: Stein moulded in extremely useful vessel (7)

Clue types: Anagram, letter-pick

Definition: vessel


Clue explained:

Here’s another nice and easy one.

As we already know, cryptic clues place their definitions at either the start or end of the clue. Which means we need a 7-letter word that could possibly mean either ‘stein’ or ‘vessel’.

Occam’s Razor is a general epistemological (way of knowing things) rule. It says that between two possible interpretations, we would do better to pick the simpler one. I don’t know what‘stein’ means really, except that it sounds like German. But I do know what ‘vessel’ means and I can also possibly think of another 7-letter word for it.

Now, because I’ve chosen vessel as my definition, the rest of the clue becomes the wordplay.

‘Stein moulded’ very likely means that we need to anagram (‘moulded’ is a likely anagram indicator as it suggests some sort of change in form or shape) the word ‘stein’. That could gives us something like ESTIN or NISTE or SETIN or TENSI.

Then, the clue says ‘extremely useful’. Now, this is a clever way of making us pick the letters that are at the very edge of (as the word ‘extremly’ suggests) the word ‘useful’. Those would be U and L.

Now, since ‘stein moulded’ is ‘in extremely useful’, let’s try putting TENSI inside U and L.

That gives us the word UTENSIL, which is another word for ‘vessel’. Look how that panned out!

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!