Saturday, 15 March 2014

Cryptic crosswords, a suitable case for treatment...


Many years ago, we used to take the dead tree press, and when train journeys called, I'd tackle the cryptic crossword, usually being defeated by several ingenious clues, but feeling pretty proud of myself by London Bridge!

Since packing up with the Daily Telegrout, and saving us a fortune, Sudoko took over as the pastime of choice, and Mrs Scroblene is an expert, usually finishing several each day.

Just a few weeks ago, I thought I'd like another crack at some of the crossword puzzles that I could attack with some success and I bought a book of DT Cryptics, only to find that I've lost the plot to some extent! I'd forgotten some of the twists and turns to get a word right, I didn't see anagrams as easily as I used to and the signals just seemed invisible!

But at long last, the old sequences began to dust themselves off, the reasoning became less fraught, and the answers in the back became less read...

So we're getting there! Chatting with a chum the other day, I mentioned a classic clue from the seventies which stumped people for ages 'Geg. (9,3)', and she came back with an absolute barnstormer, which I struggled with for two weeks, then to retain some sanity, finally plugged in the crossword solver! Even then, seeing the answer, it took me some time to realise how it was the result, because it is so clever!

Here it is, and would either of the readers here please wait a few days, so the other one can have a crack at it!

'Cox at me (6,3,6)'


42 comments:

rvi said...

First one is very easy - took about 20 seconds to see what was being prepared....

Second one will need a bit of thought..

Sackerson said...

I'm sure there's never a cross word in your house.

A K Haart said...

I find the whole post a bit cryptic. My wife does Sudoko, but I have no idea what it's all about.

rvi said...

Scrobs,
I have thought of at least 10 answers to fit No2, but with no additional help from a couple of letters the clue cannot be solved meaningfully - or rather can be solved in many different ways, each of which would make perfect sense.. Middle word is either 'the' or 'and' but those either side could be anything.

rvi said...

... or "for" ...

Scrobs... said...

Reevers, The first one was targeted by Brian Redhead all those years ago, but the later one is superb!

Clue?

Middle letter of middle word is 'a'!

Scrobs... said...

Not really these days, Sackerson!

Got to the time when age matters more than points-scoring, and enjoying what there is now!

Scrobs... said...

Mr H, once tried, you never put down a Sudoku.

I now set myself a target of doing The Times Difficult, without ever writing the alternatives down - so it has to be solved in my head...

Clever little twot aren't I..;0)

Trubes said...

I love the DT crossword (cryptic) and I particularly love the Saturday one...I used to enjoy Sudoku but I'm an ardent on-line scrabble player, as well as blogging, so that keeps one suitably occupied!
In between cooking lavish dinners for Dearest,
Di..xx

Scrobs (on another PC) said...

Tubes! I always thought you were cryptic!

I have another lot of posts going on another blog where there are some fiendish clues lurking, and we all beat each other's heads about in anguish, trying to get the better of the others!

Then Sudoku gets in the way..;0)

Scrobs (on another PC)! said...

Soooory TRUBES - typo there..;0)x

rvi said...

Thanks Scrobs:

Your "clue" comes under the heading of "all possible assistance excepting actual help" - a motto of one of mates who used to work for HMG.

There are still far too many possibilities which fit the clue to make this meaningful, so I give up, but I will not reveal the answer to No 1.

Way back when, in my younger days, I used to complete (or get within a couple of clues - usually something to do with obscure literature or similar in/on/at which I am completely hopeless - The Times crossword (thanks to a very long daily commute into/out of London). These days I don't bother much.

Michael said...

It is a clever beast Reevers!

The last clue I was given by my chum said that 'January 31st was the last day for submitting it...!, or similar!

Ring any bells, that date..?

(I still didn't get it)!

rvi said...

... so the last two words are 'tax return'?

First word (adjective?) could be all sorts - including naughty ones like "B***dy". Will ponder further until end of this week, though, not being a skulling type, what on earth a little lightweight following a load of hearties all going backwards has to do with anything still eludes me! Nothing to do with omelettes though, that's for sure...

rvi said...

This has gone on long enough!!!


1, Scrambled egg
2. Income tax return.


I like no2 - very clever (hope your other reader does not need it explaining!)

Now one one for you:


11ac. Rotterdam transport (6,5)

Have a nice weekend.

Scrobs... said...

Oooooh, something else eh, Reevers!

I'm on the case - thank you!

rvi said...

Jolly good!

Just to give you a head start, the middle letter of the 2nd word is 'o'.

rvi said...

Morning Scrobs,

On reconsideration, I think that clue may be just a little too subtle even for seasoned puzzlers, so, given what we have all been reading in the financial pages lately, I shall give you another (which may be the way a Mail/Telegraph headline might present it):

Dutch intelligence bungs up!

Enjoy your weekend.

rvi said...

Oh dear, not even a little guess over the weekend.

Je suis desole!

Michael said...

I've been struggling with it all week end, Reevers, and I've even put it out to another blog I work with, and they're maniacs on crosswords, but just can't crack it!

So, we'll have to wait and see...

It really is a good one!

Byron Sadler said...

Is there money in this? Is it like the Lotto?

rvi said...

OK then, another letter for you. 3rd letter first word 'e'. I'll give you until Wednesday then if you still haven't got it, I'll reveal all - and then you really will kick yourself!

Michael said...

Kick yourself is the operative word, ain't it Reevers!

Excellent clue that 'Clever clogs' indeed..;0)

I have to confess that a chum here mentioned 'wooden', as the first word, and then got stumped! It was that which got me going!

Here's one for you: -

Dab hand. (4,7).

Byron Sadler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Byron Sadler said...

I know what this is.

To grow uncle's wellington. (10, 8).

Michael said...

Absolutly no money, but plenty of fun, games and a few happy songs into the bargain, Byron...

Or should I say Modo...

Byron Sadler said...

Hoy! Who you calling Kwasi Modo? I've seen that cartoon. Flipping cheek.

rvi said...

Hooray! Well done sir. If you hadn't got it today i was going to give you another tack to ursue:

Smart Alec, one hundred and fifty always gets one hundred records.

Now that might have either been easier or set your brain alight!

Will ponder on your new one.

rvi said...

*Pursue

rvi said...

Ummm... How about fish fingers?

Michael said...

Byron, howthedevilareyou these days?

Years ago, on a planet not dissimilar to ours, there was an enigmatic character who ruled the blogosphere with a rod of lead!

He appears rather like the equinox, and is a very welcome addition to most dishes, especially those requiring a little hot spice, and a dash of lemon balm, with a side salad of rocket and celeriac!

I'm on your clue as we speak, or in this case, waffle..;0)

rvi said...

The answer to Byron : rubberised footwear.


Not as tasty as "fish fingers" though....

rvi said...

Oh, if you are from a different planet, it could also be Vulcanised footwear.

Decisions decisions...


PS SCrobs: do you get a bonus if you get to 50 comments?

Michael said...

I really am flummoxed on this clue!

Can I ask my other chums on the other side please?

I like your result Reevers, it sounds right, but if it's not a clean answer, then I can hardly ask a family site can I!

rvi said...


Mr S,
It is a perfectly clean answer and I recall it from a crossword way back when (which is why the answer is so easy!).

A dab is a kind of fish; a hand is made up largely of fingers.

Simple really, especially for a cryptic x-word.

Byron Sadler said...

Michael. Thank you for asking after my health. As it happens the asthma has kept me very poorly of late. Mother is all for blaming the orange cordial again. I don’t know what her problem is, but she has a proper bee in her bonnet about squash. I have tried fruit juices but they play havoc with my tummy; and Doctor Al Abdulla has forbidden me fizzy drinks. I told mother that we should change doctors; having the county pathologist as your G.P. is unnerving: you can’t help thinking where his fingers might have been.

As for your acrobatic friend with the rod; I am afraid that there is a parental block on my old Epson so I am unable to sail those sort of sites. But as a Christian I make no judgement on you for your tastes. At school there was a Maths teacher called Mr Somersey who was into all that. I read about him in Lynn News at Christmas: he was having to answer questions about some histrionic problem.

If you are inviting me out to dinner, it’s very kind of you. I don’t eat out often as I suffer from colitis. Are you ever in King’s Lynn?

Michael said...

I live several hundred miles from Kings Lynn, I'm afraid, and the piles just obviate train journeys of that distance!

But I'd enjoy a pint or several in a suitable pub in The Cotswolds at some later date, if that entices your buds for Hooky Norton...;0)

rvi said...

Has your head gone to mush?

Why are you ignoring my solution to your mystery clue?

I shall take my pencil away if this carries on!

Michael said...

I am soooo sorry, Reevers, it's no excuse, but I've got a similar post going on another blog, and they're getting me all confused!

Correct of course - and I hadn't actually seen it elsewhere, it was my own!

Byron Sadler said...

Fish fingers, (3, 4).

Anonymous said...

Sadler. Or might you prefer... Grapplecard? I see clear through you.

Michael said...

You are of course, correct, Mr Fruning..;0)