Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #2 | Errant sons, vain leaders, and technophobia

 |  19 October 2019

How have you enjoyed the puzzles on TH Crossword+ over the past couple of weeks? 

Maybe you came across a clue that you were sure you could crack but, after several minutes, you stayed flummoxed. As veteran crossword blogger Shuchismita Upadhyay warns, there is no secret or shortcut: “The most effective exercise is regular solving. With experience, solvers develop a knack for discarding the surface meaning and cutting right through to the cryptic sense of the clue.”

We’re happy to unravel some of those trickier ones right here. But we need your feedback to help us understand which ones you found too hard to crack on your own. So, don’t hesitate to post your questions in the comments below; we’d love to be your Agony Aunt.

Now, how about we unravel some interesting clues from last week’s set of The Hindu’s Cryptic Crosswords? Whether these tickle your brains or not, they’re sure to give you a clue as to how to go about solving some of these conundrums our beloved setters enjoy posing for us.

Here are some easy ones that made for amusing surfaces…


THC #12747

Clue surface: Blunder including son in assignments (7)


Clue type: charade for ‘assignments’

Annotation: (synonym for verb ‘Blunder’ = ERR) + (synonym for ‘including’ = AND ) + (abbreviation of ‘son’ = S) 

In this one, Dr. X isn’t necessarily advising T. Rajendar against casting STR in his next flick. That’s why you shouldn’t fall for what crossworders call ‘surface reading’. But if you are wishing Fred Trump hadn’t included his son in his assignments, Dr. X throws you a bone or two by asking you to solve this next clue —


THC #12747

Clue surface: Vain President abandoned course of action with anger (7)


Clue type: charade for ‘vain'

Annotation: (synonym for ‘course of action’ = STEP) – (‘President' abbreviated = P) + (synonym for verb ‘anger’ = RILE) ; (‘abandoned’ = deletion indicator)

Here, Dr. X wants us to come up with a 7-lettered word that means ‘vain’. And he’s helping us out by cryptically breaking the word up into a charade. He wants us to remove a ‘P’ from ‘STEP’ and add ‘RILE’ to form ‘STERILE’.



Who hasn’t hoped that despite all the anger he displays in his tweets, the American President might eventually abandon what some may feel are misguided courses of action?

Speaking of useful courses, here’s another reason why it pays to pay attention in science class — you could go on to win a Nobel like Abhijit Banerjee and leave the world wondering if Economics is an art or a science! Here’s some Afterdark for you…



THC #12752


Clue surface: Inventor is person of Indian origin, born at Raichur primarily (7)


Clue type: charade for ‘Inventor’

Annotation: (‘Person of Indian origin’ abbreviated = PIO) + (French-derived synonym for ‘born’ = NÉE) + (‘Raichur primarily’ = first letter of ‘Raichur’ = R)


An Indian gaining recognition worldwide is always wonderful, as the likes of Rabindranath Tagore, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, and Kunal Nayyar have helped us realise. Even though we’ve shifted focus to India, Afterdark clearly isn’t done with the POTUS: 


THC #12752

Clue surface: US President is against journalist; you hear pressure is contrived (7,2)


Clue type: charade for ‘contrived’

Annotation: (example of ‘US President’ = TRUMP) + (common abbreviation for ‘journalist’ = ED) + (homophone alphabet of ‘you’ = U) + (‘pressure’ abbreviated = P); (‘is against’ suggests ‘is adjacent to’); (‘hear’ = homophone indicator)



It's common for there to be differing views in any democracy. But no matter how much we adore or abhor those we elect, those who aspire to pass off as the face of the nation, every political leader is…


THC #12752

Clue surface: Peter loses power, new leader is egregious, heartless — causes to last forever (9)


Clue type: charade for ‘causes to last forever’

Annotation: (‘Peter loses power’ = ETER) + (‘new leader’ = first letter of the word ‘new’ = N) + (the letters of ‘is' = IS) + (‘egregious heartless’ = the outermost letters of ‘egregious’  = ES)

… only a passing phase. Disclaimer: TH Cryptic setters are not known to wear their politics on their sleeve, unlike, say, the Guardian’s.

Ninas, or hidden messages/patterns concealed among the answers of a grid, are hard enough to set. But you’d need a real gimlet eye to spot them. Depending on your view, this clue from Bruno could strike you as eye-opening, technophobic, god-fearing… or a weird postmodern hybrid of all those.


THC #12757

Clue surface: Online assistant-turned-Goddess (4)

Answer: IRIS

Clue type: reverse clue for ‘Goddess’

Annotation: (‘Online assistant’ = SIRI); (‘turned’ = indication that the letters of SIRI must be reversed) 


If your bugbear hasn’t already been debugged above, make sure to ask us below in the comments, and we’ll come back bearing an answer for you!

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