Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #190 | Bamboozled yet deeply interested

Mihir Balantrapu  |  02 December 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Nothing worth having comes easy. This applies to most cryptic clues, especially those where each and every word has a distinct significance. Which means that every word contains a key to the puzzle. This is the sign of a great clue — it keeps you simultaneously bamboozled and deeply interested.


The Hindu Cryptic #13107 | Incognito | 26 Across

CLUE:  Hot swirling rapids conceal helmsman’s initial difficulty (8)

Clue types: Abbreviation, anagram, containment, letter-pick

Definition: difficulty


Clue explained:

The challenge here is simply to use the wordplay and build an 8-letter word that means ‘difficulty’. Here’s how we could go about that...

The word ‘hot’ can be abbreviated as H.

‘Swirling’ is very likely an anagram indicator. So, if you anagram the letters of the adjacent word ‘rapids’, you get something like ARDSIP. That doesn’t look like a word at all, sure. But remember, anagram clues are usually accompanied by some more clueing devices, so if the anagram doesn’t provide you the full answer, just examine the rest of the wordplay more intently.

What does ‘helmsman’s initial’ mean? It literally means the initial or first letter of the word ‘helmsman’, which means we have uncovered a second H from the wordplay.

Now, ‘conceal’ means cover or mask or basically wrap around in some way. Which means, it is a containment indicator. So, if you wrap H + ARDSIP around another H, you may get HARDSHIP, which is the 8-letter for ‘difficulty’ that we have solved with great ease!


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!