Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #330 | Infering and deciphering is the art of the cryptic

Mihir Balantrapu  |  20 June 2021

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

You need to hope that you can decipher which words in a clue are fodder and which ones are indicators. This sifting process can be as tricky as it can be fascinating. Often, when you have a strong suspect for the definition, you are able to infer backwards and work out the wordplay more easily.


The Hindu Cryptic #13279 | Incognito | 31 Across

CLUE: A couple of small streets’ staff (5)

Clue types: abbreviation, cryptic

Definition: staff

Answer: STAVE

Clue explained:

We need a 5-letter word that means ‘staff’.

‘A couple of’ cryptically indicates that we need to different variants of synonyms for the word ‘streets’. These could be STREET and AVENUE.

‘Small’ is an abbreviation indicator that tells us to find short forms for STREET and AVENUE. These are ST and AVE.

And that spells STAVE, another word for ‘staff’, the basic framwork in western musical staff notation!

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’.

And guess what, The Hindu Cryptic on Sunday is absolutely free! All you have to do is sign up to play.

To become better at solving cryptic crosswords, you should do one simple thing. Just subscribe to The Hindu Crossword Plus. That’s the place where you can solve cryptics live to your heart’s content. Come over to Clued In to get your doubts cleared and your craft honed.

Click right here to subscribe to the interactive THCrosswordPlus, so you can solve on your mobile phone, get hints, and even check your answers on the go!