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Language and libertarianism

Posted by michod on December 11th, 2007


I think we need a new term for a particular kind of clue – the ones which rely on a word in the clue being split into its component parts, in the way that all crosswords treat the words being clued. The most common example is using ‘indeed’ to clue a word going DE____ED.

There was a classic example from Punk in yesterday’s Indy:”Incur trouble east of eastern nation” (E + CUR in ADO). Whenever we blog these, we (and I include myself here) always say something about annoying purists, being menean etc – but as far as I’m concerned, that was a bloody good clue. Can we agree some neutral word to describe this type of clue – ‘indeed’ clues, or ‘internal wordplay’ clues or something?

What do others think?

12 Responses to “Language and libertarianism”

  1. fgbp says:

    What about “WROPLANGs”, or “BAPLADs”
    (he said, controversially, not to mention (un-Xi)m(en)eanly).

  2. Paul B says:

    For the effect you suggest, that clue would put ADO plus E in CUR … wouldn’t it?

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    “east of eastern” puts CUADOR after E = eastern. The definition is simply “nation”.

  4. ilancaron says:

    we have compound anagrams already, why not ‘compound wordplay’ since these clues typically are constructed from compound words (like Putin :)

  5. Geoff says:

    John Halpern (‘Punk’ in the Indy and ‘Paul’ in the Grauniad) is the most imaginative user of this device, which I personally enjoy a lot. Usually it involves compound words which can be re-analysed by separating out a prefix as a preposition – most frequently IN-.
    How about calling it the in-joke?

  6. nmsindy says:

    Some won’t see that joke, Geoff, I guess.

  7. Testy says:

    My nominations are:

    1. SITSIDE (it’s inside),

    or, if you would prefer something a little less cryptic an a bit more helpful (especially to newbies):

    2. A “missing space” clue (as generally these rely on the solver inserting a space missing from one the words in the clue, e.g. “indeed” becoming “in deed”, in order to get the cryptic reading to work properly)

  8. fgbp says:

    I think “indeed” clue is the best name, as most people immediately know what this means (and it brings the baggage of its controversial past with it, which is only fair :-) )

  9. linxit says:

    What about things like “outrage” for GEAR, “backward” for DRAW? Are these intended to be covered by the “indeed” clue type too? You sometimes get the reverse too, i.e. “gear” for OUTRAGE, which would be a combination of “wordplay in answer” and “indeed”.

  10. michod says:

    I like some of these suggestions’ especially ‘in-joke’, but it’s true that the concept can be extended beyound the in____ examples… perhaps even as far as Gateshead for G, which relies on you reinterpreting it as Gate’s head. The unifying factor seems to me to be the application of a device normally seen in the answer to a word in the clue. Is it “wordplay in clue” or perhaps “internal charade”?

  11. fgbp says:

    What links all these devices is treating a string of letters in a clue as it would appear if it was in the answer. The solution grid ignores spaces and punctuation. So “wordplay in clue” is more generally accurate, although the wordplay is always in the clue anyway, of course!
    Maybe “reverse wordplay”?
    (I still fancy “indeed” because it has a hint of disapproval about it :-) “Gateshead for G, indeed!!”)

  12. Testy says:

    How about “re-punctuation required”?

    Should we have a vote?

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