Crossword Clue Game

Thanks! That helps make up for my feelings of inferiority over the realization that I’ll never be able to do a cryptic. (Although I believe that Tactile dactyl is a valid clue, as dactyl also means finger or toe, and it rhymes!)

New word:


I don’t see what Elementary signifies.

Iron is an element?

Elementary is an additional clue (probably wouldn’t be given) to look for abbreviations. Dactyl is the scientific word for finger. Medical terms also include things like syndactyly, as when fingers are fused.

A dactyl is also a poetry meter - a stress on the first of three syllables. The following poems are written in double dactyl (DA da da DA da da):

Higgeldy Piggeldy
Benjamin Harrison
Twenty-third President
Was and as such
Served between Clevelands
And save for this trivial
Didn’t do much.

Higgeldy Piggeldy
Marcus Antonious
What do you think of the
African Queen?
Duties require
My presence in Egypt
Ya know what I mean?

Congrats to @needscoffee.

I’m going to continue to give five conventional clues and five cryptic ones, since it seems a decent way to teach the conventions. You kind of have to see enough of them.

My clues:

  1. — d’hôte
  2. Four legged lectern
  3. Platform to put one’s cards on
  4. Ping-pong pulpit
  5. Mendelev’s pigeonholes, periodically

I don’t understand cryptics at all. My grandmother could do them, and do them fairly quickly, but no matter how much she tried to teach me, I just couldn’t get them. However, I can do a NYT Sunday puzzle in two to three hours, so there’s that.

Anyway, clues for TABLE:

  1. Do this to a motion
  2. Four-legged furniture item
  3. Diner need
  4. Mountain in Cape Town
  5. Place to crap in Vegas?

Cryptic clues:

  1. With pill, taking tea causes motion delay
  2. Desk top is unbalanced, without the sun
  3. Sounds like Dante builds furniture
  4. Story about knights round first of Britain
  5. Data blends well with statistics diagram
  6. Bleat about buffet

Spoilers (1-6):

1. Table: to delay a motion, also TABLET (pill) with T (tea) taken away.

2. Unbalanced=UNSTABLE. UNSTABLE - SUN = TABLE = desk top

3. “Sounds like” is a cue to read the clue aloud. TE + BUILD sounds kind of like TABLE. Not the best example of this type of clue.

4. TALE + B (first of Britain) = TABLE = Knights of the Round — .

5. DaTA BLEnds well; statistics table

6. BLEAT anagram, TABLE = buffet

  1. Losers of drinking contests tend to go under here
  2. One of the objects turned in a dramatic reversal
  3. Participants can meet around here for knights
  4. Where actors read before they’re blocked
  5. Postpone something for future consideration

Wow, the quality of the clues has gotten so good that it’s nearly impossible to pick just one anymore.

Winner is @Dr_Paprika for

[Mendeleev, I presume]
But close behind are @Spoons

and @Knowed_Out with

Congratulations, @Dr_Paprika! Your turn.

Let’s just say I’m not ready for prime time yet.

Okay. The next word is SPIRIT.

  1. Lindy’s St. Louis liquor
  2. This will get you into Christmas
  3. Norman Greenbaum’s sky specter
  4. Kurt’s teen odor comes from this
  5. Seance respondent
  1. Liquor store offering
  2. With “The,” comics character
  3. Stallion of the Cimarron
  4. Holy one, at church
  5. American Motors model
  1. To lure away in secret.
  2. Make-up artist’s gum.
  3. “_____ of the time” (zeitgeist)
  4. “House of ______s” (Allende)
  5. Puck is a mischievous one.
  1. Ghost soulmate?
  2. One of a material world, according to Police
  3. This adolescent has a particular odor to Nirvana
  4. Type of gum used for attaching prosthetics
  5. Along with “away,” to covertly abduct

I’d never heard of the movie Spirit. Had to look that one up.

Some good clues, but my favourite one was zeitgeist. So, the next round will be led by @RivkahChaya

I’m not sure how many comic characters start with “The”. That’s kind of outside my interests.

And the thing about cryptic crosswords is that they are difficult. I can usually finish them, but it might take me all day or longer. I can usually read through the clues and get maybe half a dozen right away. I can do the NYT or Globe weekend crosswords at a decent pace.

The goal of the cryptic clues is simply to help you understand a few conventions. At this stage, you don’t need to get the answer. You just need to understand the answer - how it was formed. If you see enough of these, I think you might improve.

“1. Bleat about buffet” - was there a tipoff that bleat was an anagram?

No, anagrams are used often and rarely signalled. A good puzzle is such that you can usually know when you’ve got it because it is kind of in there twice. Just getting a few clues, and knowing a single letter, is helpful since this often rules out anagrams.

I’m not sure either, but The Spirit, created by Will Eisner, is a classic:

Of course, comics and their characters aren’t to everybody’s taste, but in every crossword, there are clues and solutions that will reflect something the solver is unfamiliar with or doesn’t care for–Eugene Maleska, who edited the NYT puzzles for some years, seemed to delight in including obscure operas as solutions. Even opera lovers would have trouble at times; those of us who didn’t care for operas were totally lost.