Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #34 | Composite Anagrams and Chinese currencies?

 |  23 April 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Here’s one more reason to be mad at China, do you think?

 

The Hindu Cryptic #12,916 | Avtaar | 9 Down

Clue surface: Tale about this Asian capital is interminable (8)

Definition: Asian capital

Clue type/s: Composite Anagram

Answer: RENMINBI

Explanation: We have to find a synonym for ‘Asian capital’ that, anagrammed (as indicated by ‘about’) along with ‘Tale’, will give us ‘Interminable’. So, we do a simple algebraic equation that goes...

X+ TALE = INTERMINABLE.

Therefore, X = INTERMINABLE - TALE

Therefore, X = I N T E R M I N A B L E

Therefore, X = RENMINBI

FYI, Renminbi is the basic currency (or capital) of China. Not to be confused with the Yuan, which is a basic unit of the Chinese currency. Nobel-prize-winning economist Paul Krugman once opined that the dual naming convention was “a sinister plot by the Chinese designed specifically to deter people from discussing Chinese currency policy”.

Wait, what is the definition doing in the middle of the clue? Don’t change the channel! The above clue type is called a Composite Anagram. And it’s the only cryptic clue type that is allowed to bypass the cryptic crossword norm that the definition be found at either the beginning or end of the clue. Think of it as a kind of special privilege it gets in exchange for the airtightness and variety it offers?

A Composite Anagram clue needs you to find the missing letters that would be needed to make a part of the wordplay a perfect anagram of another part of the wordplay.

In a CA clue, you have to look for a telltale anagram indicator and, very often, the word ‘this’ or ‘these’ or ‘such’. These signs should arouse your suspicion that a CA is afoot. And then all that you need to do is pick up a pencil and paper, and get down to some good old Algebra-ing.

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