Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #17 | Even athletes could use good grammar

 |  03 April 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Here’s a clue that is interesting for its current affairs reference, and for a lesson it could hold about attention to grammar.


The Hindu Cryptic #12,900 | Anon | 21 Down

Clue surface: Athletes from Osaka even rise in revolt (6)

Definition: Athletes

Answer: SKIERS

Annotation: If you take the even letters of ‘Osaka’, you get SK. That’s the first part. Then, the letters of ‘rise’ must be reshuffled (as indicated by ‘in revolt’) to get IERS.

On the surface, Anon’s clue seems to nicely reference the postponement of the 2020 Olympics in Japan and the supposedly dismayed response of its prospective contestants. But look just a little more closely, and you may find a problem with the construction of the clue.

In cryptic Crosswordese, when you come across the word ‘even’ or ‘evenly’, you’re most likely in the presence of a letter-pick indicator — the setter wants you to select the even letters of the adjacent word or phrase. But in the above case, ‘Osaka even’ doesnt quite seem to articulate this properly.

To instruct the solver to take the even letters of Osaka, the setter needed to have said either ‘even Osaka’ or ‘Osaka evenly’.

Any veteran solvers, setters or Crossworders in the house? Would you agree or disagree? Do feel free to drop a comment that voices your views on the pitfalls of improper subsidiary indication!

And to all you solvers out there, were there any other clues that discombobulated/delighted you in the past few weeks? Let us know in the comments below.