Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #22 | Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

Mihir Balantrapu  |  10 April 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Today’s post features yet another case of vivid wordplay, an interesting definition (and then a bonus clue).


The Hindu Cryptic #12,905 | Afterdark | 10 Across

Clue surface: Perhaps the painting is incomplete, leading cartoonist left halfway (7)

Definition: Perhaps the

Clue type: charade, deletion, letter-pick


Explanation: ART (synonym for ‘painting’) + I (‘is incomplete’ means that we pick only the ‘i’ of ‘is’) + C (‘leading cartoonist’, with some leeway, implies leading letter of ‘cartoonist’) + LE (‘left halfway’ implies that only half of the letters of ‘left’ are to be picked) to give you ‘ARTICLE’, which ‘the’ is an example of. Phew. That was a long-ish one.

To make a strking surface, the wordplay needs to tell a story. A story needs cogency, which a setter builds by finding interrelated terms that simultaneously perform the function of cryptic indication. This is where a setter’s creativity comes into play.

And in these times of uncertainty, a little note on the word ‘perhaps’ and its usage in cryptic crosswords.

‘Perhaps’ is usually used to suggest that the adjacent word or phrase is an example of the answer you’re looking for. In the clue above, we know that ‘the’ is an instance of an article in grammar, and a definite one at that.

But beware. The word ‘perhaps’ can also be used as an anagram indicator (or ‘anagrind’, as it is affectionately called), like Sunnet did in The Hindu Cryptic #12,903.


The Hindu Cryptic #12,903 | Sunnet | 17 Down

Clue surface: Place a ruler on East-North-East to cross North perhaps (8)

Definition: Place a ruler

Clue type: Abbreviation, containment, anagram


Explanation: Easy pickings first. Directions are usually abbreviations in cryptics. So, we are almost giften E, N and E (‘East-North-East’). Which we then envelop around (as indicated by ‘to cross’) THRON (‘North perhaps’ tells us to find an anagram of ‘north’).

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