Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #265 | Keep being creative as setters keep creating diversions

Mihir Balantrapu  |  16 March 2021

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

As you solve more and more cryptic crosswords, you develop an intuitive sense for what the setter is likely to be suggesting with their wordplay. And as you solve some more, you realise that the setter is a master of misdirection, is always one step ahead of you, and is constantly pushing you to be alert and creative. So, don’t ever let yourself become complacent with all the thumb rules, heuristics, and conventional modes of approach that you may’ve developed along the way.


The Hindu Cryptic #13,196 | Dr. X | 13 Across

CLUE: Starting affair with Greek character for bit of diversion (9)

Clue types: letter-pick, substitution

Definition: starting


Clue explained:

We need a 9-letter word here that means ‘starting’. It’s tricky — you see a word like ‘starting’ and you immediately think that the setter is asking you to pick the first letter of the adjacent word. But a setter does not sleep soundly unless he has created a bit of diversion.

That said, a ‘bit of diversion’ here means the starting letter of ‘diversion’, which is D.

Another word for ‘affair’ is INCIDENT.

A Greek character could be PI, aka π.

And ‘for’ is a substitution indicator telling us to substitute PI in place of the D in INCIDENT — and that spells INCIPIENT, our 9-letter word meaning ‘starting’!

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 posts 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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