Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #8 | Communicable signs for troubled times

 |  25 March 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

As we put distance between ourselves socially, we may often find ourselves out of earshot and at a loss. But that’s no reason to feel all at sea. In fact, people at sea (sailors, coast guards, mermaids, etc.) have a means of communication involving only hand gestures and flags. Arden, once again, points to this word in THC #12892 with this homely clue.

 

The Hindu Cryptic #12892 | Arden | (6 Down)

Clue surface: Communicate as per home design (9)

Answer: SEMAPHORE

Definition: Communicate

Clue type: Anagram

Annotation: Jumble (as indicated by ‘design’) the letters of AS PER HOME

 

Semaphores are signals used to telegraphically convey simple messages using hand-held flags or pivoted rods. While the simpler form involves basic binary indication (like an on/off switch), more sophisticated versions can spell things out in alphanumeric code that’s based on the angle or position of each flag.

They have been in use since the era of the Roman empire — you can imagine that the sentinels would hold a rod in each hand and tell the man at the tower yonder how many fatigues they still have left or what they had for dinner. Napoleon and Tsar Nicolas are known to have highly valued their manned semaphore lines.

Semaphore telegraph towers are also known as Chappe telegraphs or Napoleonic semaphores. The word entered the English language in the early 1800s.

 

semaphore

sounds like: sem-uh-four

noun

— a signalling device, consisting of a pole with arms that can be set at different positions.

— a system of signalling in which flags, or simply the arms, are held in positions that represent individual letters and numbers

verb

— to signal using semaphores

Etymology: Greek sema (‘sign’) + phore (‘holder of’)

eg: “When the discussion broke down, the MPs began communicating using wild semaphores accompanied with frothing mouths and steaming ears.”

 

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