Clued In (Blogs)

Clued In #91 | The stories that clues tell...

Mihir Balantrapu  |  16 July 2020

Hey there, and welcome back to Clued In!

Sometimes, the setter goes the extra yard to spin an interesting tale with the clue or make it have some sort of narrative.


The Hindu Cryptic #12988 | Gridman | 19 Across

Clue surface: Sudden increase, with head of seraglio away, in desire (4)

Definition: desire

Answer: URGE

Explanation: SURGE (synonym for ‘sudden increase’) loses (as indicated by ‘away’) the S (‘head of seraglio’ means the first letter of the word ‘seraglio’), to become URGE.

In this clue, the word ‘seraglio’ and SURGE share the same first letter. So, the setter could have just as effectively indicated the removal of the letter S by cluing something like, ‘Sudden increase, with leader away...’ But, because there is ‘desire’ involved, there is a ‘seraglio’, even if in absentia.

Mischief managed by the setter! If you’re wondering what a seraglio is...



sounds like: sir-rag-li-oh


— Harem of wives or concubines in the palace of a Sultan or Turkish ruler.

Etymology: Italian serraglio, modification of Turkish saray palace



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