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Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:43 am
by Paul Habershon
Man with fair promotion prospects given hand by Pole (6, 4)

I thought this was quite specialist in Thursday's Times (5th Nov.), though the solution PASSED PAWN is a phrase defined in Chambers Dictionary.

For non-cryptic addicts the definition is in the first five words, followed cryptically by given=passed, hand=paw, N=Pole.

'Man' as in 'chess man' often occurs, particularly as 'man on board', which can even define 'queen'.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:54 am
by MJMcCready
That was rather difficult.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:31 am
by Joey Stewart
That is insane, it seems like unless you already knew the answer (or had a good idea of what you were looking for) you could go miles wrong trying to solve that one. It reminds me of the old riddler clues from the 1960s batman series.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 12:09 pm
by Paul Habershon
Joey Stewart wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:31 am
That is insane, it seems like unless you already knew the answer (or had a good idea of what you were looking for) you could go miles wrong trying to solve that one. It reminds me of the old riddler clues from the 1960s batman series.
Remember you have often already got letters from easier clues towards the answer. I certainly needed them for that one before the penny dropped.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 12:20 pm
by Kevin Thurlow
Good clue - they only make sense if you understand the key words (like "Pole" = N or S) etc.

The "Cracking The Cryptic" youtube channel does crosswords sometimes and presenter Mark solves some of them by saying, "that's the answer from the clue," even though he's unfamiliar with the word. This is a sign of a very good setter and solver!

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 1:36 pm
by Geoff Chandler
I think I would got that one if it had appeared in a Chess Magazine, my chess hat would have been on.

I do well on the Metro Cryptic crossword, prefer it to the 'normal' one.
But the few I have tried in The Times etc... stump me.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:29 pm
by MJMcCready
Joey Stewart wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:31 am
That is insane, it seems like unless you already knew the answer (or had a good idea of what you were looking for) you could go miles wrong trying to solve that one. It reminds me of the old riddler clues from the 1960s batman series.
But not as tough as the questions on 3-2-1 in the 1980s, not sure if anything will ever top them.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:36 pm
by Kevin Thurlow
"But not as tough as the questions on 3-2-1 in the 1980s, not sure if anything will ever top them."

They did admit later that the clues did not make sense and were basically unfair!

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 9:50 pm
by John Clarke
Didn't get it instantaneously, but seeing it on a chess-related site certainly helped - "promotion" immediately suggested a pawn of some sort. Wasn't hard from there. Coming upon it in a non-chess context might have given more trouble.

I've seen the odd "Cracking The Cryptic", and while I can usually get those puzzles out in a single session, I'm nowhere near Mark's speed. My best achievement was to solve an entire Spectator crossword on one occasion (using a dictionary only to confirm answers already worked out), but that took more time than I care to think, spread out over several days.

I'm intrigued by mention of that 3-2-1 show (which never made it to NZ TV). Can anyone provide a specimen clue or two?

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 2:38 am
by MJMcCready
Paul Habershon wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:43 am
Man with fair promotion prospects given hand by Pole (6, 4)

I thought this was quite specialist in Thursday's Times (5th Nov.), though the solution PASSED PAWN is a phrase defined in Chambers Dictionary.

For non-cryptic addicts the definition is in the first five words, followed cryptically by given=passed, hand=paw, N=Pole.

'Man' as in 'chess man' often occurs, particularly as 'man on board', which can even define 'queen'.
Do you remember any other chess related cryptic clues Paul?

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:36 am
by Paul Habershon
MJMcCready wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 2:38 am


Do you remember any other chess related cryptic clues Paul?
Yes, Mark, but not the exact wording, which of course is vital. Recently the Times had CHECKMATE with 'friend from Prague' as part of the clue. Setters often use homophones indicated by "sounds like...', '...picked up', 'broadcast' etc. That Czech mate pun is rather an old chestnut (oops! no reference to chess nut intended), beloved of tabloid headline writers. I am sure it was used when Bill Hartston married Jana Malypetrova.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 9:56 am
by MJMcCready
Cryptic crosswords have always been a source of fascination more than anything else. Solving them seems harder than chess to me.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 10:33 am
by Joey Stewart
They do seem to require you to be very tuned into the way of thinking of whoever wrote the clues, especially in this case where half the clue can simply be ignored.

I don't think anyone will ever manage to produce cryptic clues as good as Karl pilkingtons rockbusters though...

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:34 am
by MJMcCready
Oh yeah, those. Amusingly difficult.

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:57 am
by Paul Habershon
Joey Stewart wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 10:33 am
They do seem to require you to be very tuned into the way of thinking of whoever wrote the clues, especially in this case where half the clue can simply be ignored.
The cryptic conventions do take a bit of getting used to. However, every word should count for something in a good clue, so none should be ignored.

Eventually you should find cryptic clues easier than the 'quick' crossword synonym ones because you are getting two or more pointers in each clue. There is always a definition, usually at the beginning or end of the clue, so the technique often is to work backwards from a possible definition and try to make the other indicators click. Lots of instructional internet sites available of course.