Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #5 | Scrappy scraps and scrapes

 |  12 March 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

In previous weeks, we have been cherry-picking five interesting cryptic clues from puzzles published during the week gone by and breaking them down for you. We also pose an interesting clue (non-cryptic) a day on our social media handles (so make sure you follow The Hindu on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram).

Going forward, we hope to take a word every now and then and examine either the brilliance of the clueing or the appeal of the word itself, or both.

Of course, we hope the puzzles have been providing you enough fun in and of themselves, but TH Crossword+ wants to be your solving friend and guide (we don’t quite have the beard for a philosopher). We know we haven’t quite been regularly in touch with you guys. But we promise to make it up to you with renewed vigour. We’re willing to wipe the slate clean and start afresh, if you are!

Speaking of wiping slates clean, if you tried Hypatia’s Thursday puzzle on TH Cryptic, you may have come across a word that may be new to many of us.



The Hindu Cryptic #12881 | Hypatia | (5 Down)

Clue surface: Recycled old document including PPTs circulated with emails (10)


Definition: Recycled old document

Clue type: Anagram

Annotation: The letters PPTS are to be jumbled (as indicated by ‘circulated’) with EMAILS


What in the modern world is a ‘palimpsest’, you may ask in all fairness. Well, simply put, it is a scroll or manuscript made from animal skin so expensive and rare that scribes in the past just decided to reuse it by shoddily scraping off the last bit of writing and inking afresh right on top of the smudges beneath.

The Cambridge Dictionary offers you two meanings for this word — one gives its original literal meaning, and the other a more figurative way it is used in common parlance (yes, believe it or not, the word ‘palimpsest’ has actually gained momentum with time, according to Google’s Ngram Viewer).





a very old text or document in which writing has been removed and covered or replaced by new writing

eg: Plutonius the scribe had vegan tendencies. So, instead of turning over a new parchment leaf every day, he simply reused his manuscript as a palimpsest.



something such as a work of art that has many levels of meaning, types of style, etc. that build on each other:

eg: His performance is a palimpsest in which you see all the layers of a single life.


Etymology: (from 17th-Century Greek) palin (“again”) + psaein (“to rub smooth”)


Kudos to Hypatia for constructing a clue that juxtaposes this ancient means of formal written communication with today’s variants!

Were there any clues that discombobulated/delighted you in the past few weeks? Let us know in the comments below.

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