Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #22 | Answers hidden in plain sight

Mihir Balantrapu  |  09 April 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Here’s a clue that seems to go the extra yard with its cryptic camouflage. What makes it all the more devious is that it lays out a trap for a solver who is presumably on the alert and savvy at intuitively detecting crossword clue types.


The Hindu Cryptic #12,904 | Sunnet | 15 Down

Clue surface: Plot to allow men to cross (9)

Definition: plot (noun)

Clue type: charade


Explanation: ALLOT (synonym for ‘allow’) + MEN (‘men’ will be ‘men’) + T (crosswording abbreviation for ‘cross’) gives you ALLOTMENT (as in a plot of land allotted to a buyer)

Now, when you see the word ‘Plot’ and the phrase ‘... to ALLOW MEN To...’, your brain immediately suspects that it is a ‘Hidden’ clue type with the wordplay containing the word ‘allotment’. Except that one letter is missing. I need a T in place of the W, you reason, in all fairness. But the wordplay has no displacement indicator. And so, unable to reconcile definition and wordplay, you proceed to tear your hair out, thinking unparliamentary thoughts about the setter and the world at large.

At long last, when you get your foot out of your mouth, you realise that it was a charade all along, and the answer was hidden, as the setter would have it, in plain sight. Just shows, it’s rarely ever solve at first sight.

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