Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #192 | Cat-person or dog-person, solving cryptics takes courage

Mihir Balantrapu  |  04 December 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

When you become friends with cryptic clues, they let you intuit their answer and the wordplay method at a glance. But when you see a cryptic clue that just doesn’t seem to produce that sort of generosity, just do it due diligence. Look at the number of letters given in the enumeration, apply it to both ends of the clue (either the first part or the final part) and see if it throws up any fitting synonyms for you. Then, rinse and repeat.


The Hindu Cryptic #13109 | Dr. X | 16 Across

CLUE:  Brave cat ripped into dog (7)

Clue types: Anagram, insertion

Definition: Brave


Clue explained:

In this one, we learn a few things.

‘Ripped’ is a past participle that sounds kind of violent, no? That should make you suspect that it is probably an anagram indicator. So, then, ‘cat ripped’ would just mean that you need to anagram or reshuffle the letters of the word ‘cat’. Doing so may get you TCA, ACT, TAC, or perhaps CTA.

A kind of ‘dog’ is a CHOW CHOW, a species that originated in the northeastern parts of Asia. You would have thought Dr. X would have been considerate enough to say something like “half a dog” if he meant to make us put down only one half of the name of this dog species.

As it turns out, he meant us to put down just CHOW.

‘Into’ is an insertion indicator that tells us to place CTA inside CHOW to get CHOCTAW.

In case you are wondering what a Choctaw is, and how it might equate to ‘brave’, there are two ways in which Dr. X might feel justified in having led us to the answer.

One is that there is a famous racehorse named Choctaw Brave. So, just as we can clue Thom by suggesting Yorke, or Narendra by suggesting Modi, we could clue Choctaw by suggesting ‘Brave’!

The other possibility is that a Choctaw is an American Indian warrior. And the word ‘brave’ is also used to refer to an American Indian warrior!

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Was the above clue 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’.

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