Thread: Cryptic Clues
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Old 07-14-2003, 07:39 AM   #7
The Saucepan Man
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The Saucepan Man has been trapped in the Barrow!
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No, I am afraid that's not it.

I am concerned that, for those who are not familiar with cryptic clues of the type intended on this thread, further explanation may be required.

A cryptic clue is one which contains both a straight clue to the answer and a clue which uses wordplay to portray the answer. So, in LePetit's first question, where the answer was Gloin, the straight clue was "Dwarf" and the cryptic clue was "Sounds like letting off light".

The crytic clue will often involve a number of sub-clues making up diferent parts of the word.

Cryptic clues generally follow a number of conventions. Although this is not a comprehensive list, some common ones are:
  • Synonyms - the clue might include a synonym for a word that makes up part of the answer - for example "big cat ..." for "-lion" in "Ecthelion".
  • Anagrams - the answer or part of it might be an anagram of the clue, with a word such as "confused" or "muddled" to indicate that it is an anagram, eg "a gal is confused ..." for "gala-" in "galadriel".
  • Backwards words - a synonym for the word written backwards, accompanied by words to indicate that the clue is to be reversed, eg "Steal back ..." for "Bor-" in "Boromir" (rob backwards).
  • "Sounds like" - as in LePetit's example, the clue will be accompanied by words indicating that it sounds like the answer (or part of it), such as "It is said ...".
  • Words in words - the answer, or part of it, is to be found in one or more words in the clue, again with words to signify this, for example "Hobbit found in Gerbil Box" for "Bilbo".
  • First or last letters - the first or last letter of the clue is to be taken, depending on the words used, eg "first of May ..." for the letter "M" or last in line for the letter "E".
  • There are also a number of other common clues used for single letters, such as "point" or something similar for one of the compass points (N, S, E or W), and "note" or the like for a musical note (A, B, C, D, E, F or G).
  • Similarly, "article" is often used to signify "a", "an" or "the"; "one" is used for "I" or "A"; "zero" or "nothing" is used for "O", and so on. The answer to the sub-clue might also be its abbreviation, as in "right" and "left" for "R" and "L"; "lake" for "L"; "river" for "R"; "street" and "road" for "ST" and "RD" etc.

The clue may also include words to indicate the order in which the sub-clues are to be put together, The "backwards synonym" clue above is an example. Also words such as "surrounds" or "inside" may indicate that one clue surrounds or is inside the other, such as "Hobbit is left inside apron, leading to nothing" for "Bilbo" (l inside bib plus o). Words may also be used to indicate that a letter is missing, for example "purpose loses nothing", again for "gala-" in "Galadriel" (goal losing o).

I hope that this helps to make things clearer. If not, please feel free to PM me. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
Do you mind? I'm busy doing the fishstick. It's a very delicate state of mind!
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