Cryptic clues of the week: 19/7/17

Today, both clues of the week are from Kropotkin crossword 998: both provide interesting examples of the vagaries of the English language! They also illustrate Kropotkin’s tendency to write clues which rely on obscure and archaic words…

Kropotkin 998

1A: “It is eaten by large reptile” – a brain-twisting dilemma (11)

IT is eaten by (ie included in) CROCODILE. Pretty straightforward, and the definition is indeed a type of insoluble dilemma known to students of philosophy. There is the potential for confusion here, as the mineral crocidolite (which has a completely different derivation and pronunciation) is sometimes misspelled as crocodolite. Neither are words in common use!

27A: One living with someone won’t be dressed in acton unfortunately (10)

‘One living with someone’ is the definition. ‘Won’t’ is very misleading – it should be read ‘wont’ which is a synonym for ‘habit’. SO HABIT is included (‘dressed’) in an anagram (‘unfortunately’) of ACTON. Note that ‘acton’ is an archaic word for an item of clothing as suggested by ‘dressed’.

Cryptic clues of the week: 12/7/2017

Have you tried the Observer Everyman cryptic crossword in the Herald each Saturday? If not, you should give it a go! It’s in the Weekend section just below the Kropotkin puzzle but it’s quite a different puzzle. It uses very few rare and obscure words, instead relying on clever cryptic clues to hide the answer. Solving these clues can be a great way to learn the tricks of the cryptic crossword compiler!

As always, the Observer Everyman crossword provides some interesting clues this week, including:

1A: Work with learner cutting average tree (6)

‘Work’ is OP (an abbreviation for opus, a musical work). ‘Learner is ‘L” (as in ‘L plate’). Put these ‘with’ each other inside (‘cutting’) PAR (‘average). Many compilers wouldn’t use ‘cutting’ in this way but it goes well with the idea of a tree.

15D: Predicament involving tester in turbulence in air current (3, 6)

‘Predicament’ is a JAM. ‘Tester in turbulence’ signifies an anagram of ‘tester’ which is ‘involved’ or included in JAM. Again, the use of ‘turbulence’ to suggest ‘mixing up the letters’ is a clever way of linking to the idea of an air stream.

Cryptic clue of the week: 3/7/17

A cleverly misleading clue from the Observer Everyman this week: I really enjoyed this one, a standout from the weekend’s puzzles.

Observer Everyman 1/7/17

14D. Dandies keeping style of T. Rex in bright lights (3, 5)

‘Dandies’ = FOPS. ‘T. Rex’ would usually suggest the letter T followed by the letter R (which can also be suggested by ‘King’,’Regina’ or ‘Queen’). But here it refers to the rock band T. Rex, whose style is usually characterised as ‘glam rock’. So GLAM is inserted into (‘keeping’) FOPS. Very cunning!