Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #54 | Every word with a purpose, a purpose for every word

Mihir Balantrapu  |  23 May 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Nothing like a delightful clue such as...



The Hindu Cryptic #12,942 | Dr. X | 4 Down

Clue surface: They invaded England from heart of France, breaking usual rules (7)

Definition: They invaded England


Explanation: You get AN from ‘heart of France’ (the middle letters of frANce) which are inserted into (as indicated by ‘breaking’) NORMS (synonym for ‘usual rules’).


... to demonstrate the cryptic device of central letter-picking.

If you see the word ‘central’, ‘heartily’, ‘essentially’ or the like, you can safely surmise that you may have to select the middle letter or letters of the adjacent word. If the fodder has an even number of letters, like ‘France’, the middle should comprise two letters. In the case of an odd-numbered word, like ‘England’, it would be the single letter that splits the word into two equal parts — in this case L.

We also see a really cool insertion indicator with the word ‘breaking’.

When you read the word ‘from’, think of it as [Definition] from [the wordplay]. That’s what they call a link word, and this one is as sensible and non-redundant as they come.

One of the awesomest things about a Dr. X clue is how visually cogent and logical its surface is whilst simultaneously maintaining a super elegant and efficient cryptic reading.

Also, historically speaking, the Normans did invade England in the 11th Century led by William the Conquerer in a drawn-out war straight out of Game of Thrones that, true to form, would have involved a lot of ‘breaking usual rules’.

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