"Setter" in British and/or Indian dialect/slang?

I’ve been doing some British/Cryptic style crosswords on The Hindu, an Indian newspaper site. Some of the clues use the word “setter” in a way I haven’t been able to figure out. It doesn’t seem to correspond to dictionary definitions I’ve seen nor to the typical cryptic crossword associations that I can imagine. Does it have some meaning in British or Indian usage that wouldn’t be obvious to an American like me?

A dog, or one who sets crosswords?

Can you give an example? A setter could be someone who sets things like crosswords, or a breed of dog, an instrument used in setting (e.g. type-setter), someone who sets up something, a confederate of con-artists, a spy, / informer, and so on. It’s also an alternative spelling of saeter which is a name for a meadow or summer pasture in Orkney and Shetland. I imagine it might be used as such in the Himalayas.

In a cryptic it usually means ‘my’ or ‘me’ will be part of the answer, maybe ‘I’. Always exceptions with cryptics, though, with setters liking to defy convention, but that is the standard definition.

Thanks, it looks like this is indeed it.

Apparently the setter is the puzzle solver, hence “me” etc. I assume “sets a crossword” is analogous to “sits a test,” which is why it didn’t come to me (we Yanks don’t sit a test, we take a test, and we solve a crossword :)).

Here are some examples:

Setter, seated bemusedly, thinks (7) — Ideates

Setter about to win round rare ring at bar (7) — Embargo

Permit setter to jump into poisonous nettle (7) — Entitle

You’ve got it backwards. To “set” a crossword is to create one. Those clues shouldn’t be read from your perspective, but from the perspective of the person writing the clues.

I see. Thanks for the clarification.

You almost had the analogy right, though. Setting a test is what a teacher/professor does. In British and Indian idiom, as in American, tests are taken, though you might sit for a test.

Got it. Thanks.

In parts of rural America (hunting country), setter is sometimes used to designate the womens’ restroom. As opposed to pointer, which is the matching designation on the mens’ restroom. Often accompanied with silhouette drawings of the appropriate dogs

Those clues are so convoluted I’m having trouble figuring them out even WITH the solutions.

Which part of the ‘embargo’ clue corresponds to the actual concept of embargoing something? Or tells you that ‘me’ is to be spelt backwards? In fact, the only bit of that clue I can make any sense of is the bar.

Why is the nettle in the last clue poisonous? What does that add to the clue?

(Disclaimer: I never do cryptics 'cos I hate 'em. But at least I can usually see AFTER the fact why the clues were as they were)

Setter, seated bemusedly, thinks (7) — Ideates

setter = I
seated bemusedly (i.e., rearranged) = deates
I + deates > Ideates = thinks
Setter about to win round rare ring at bar (7) — Embargo

setter about (i.e., turned about or turned around) = em
to win = grab (there are certain things you win by grabbing them), round (turned around) = barg
ring = o
em + barg + o > embargo = bar (not sure what “rare” means in the clue)
Permit setter to jump into poisonous nettle (7) — Entitle

setter = I
poisonous means rearranged (yeah, they take a lot of liberty), in this case nettle to enttle
i jumping into (i.e. inserted into) enttle > entitle = permit

ETA: Often the biggest challenge with cryptic clues is figuring out the function of each word or phrase. For example, in that last one is the meaning of the answer “permit” or is the meaning “nettle?” With most clues it’s far from obvious.

I’d say it’s usually something related to the setter’s name, or nom-de-plume. For example, in a crossword set by “Smith” there might be a clue *Setter’s creation * to which the answer might be horseshoe.

Perfect illustration of why I hate this kind of puzzle. They’re dependent upon your being in on some arbitrary code. It has nothing to do with your knowledge of words or trivia.

While I agree with that, the same complaint holds for American crosswords as well. There is a code, a language that one typically needs to understand going into them. it’s not as…well, cryptic, but it’s there.

Sit an exam, set a puzzle.

From Anglo-Saxon grammar, set is the causative form of sit, meaning to make someone or something sit.
Similar to
rise/raise - see the pattern? An internal vowel change. Modern English can’t produce causative verbs in this way any more, but we have several inherited from Old English.

I think for the middle part it’s

bag = win, around r = rare

That makes sense. I think you’re right.


Yeah, there’s some “rules” as to what are fair clues and what are not, but the only real code I could think of is that a question mark denotes some sort of word play, and that’s about it. American crosswords are generally pretty straightforward affairs, with the only “trick” being to remember that words have multiple meanings. And, in poorly constructed puzzles, maybe being familiar with “crosswordese.”