Times cryptic chess clue

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
Post Reply
Paul Habershon
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:51 pm

Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Paul Habershon » 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'.

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1921
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by MJMcCready » Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:54 am

That was rather difficult.

User avatar
Joey Stewart
Posts: 1224
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:35 pm
Location: All Of Them
Contact:

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Joey Stewart » 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.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

Paul Habershon
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:51 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Paul Habershon » Fri Nov 06, 2020 12:09 pm

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.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 4200
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Nov 06, 2020 12:20 pm

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!

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2412
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Geoff Chandler » Fri Nov 06, 2020 1:36 pm

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.

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1921
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by MJMcCready » Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:29 pm

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.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 4200
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:36 pm

"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!

User avatar
John Clarke
Posts: 501
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:07 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by John Clarke » Fri Nov 06, 2020 9:50 pm

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?
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1921
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Nov 07, 2020 2:38 am

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?

Paul Habershon
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:51 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Paul Habershon » Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:36 am

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.

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1921
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Nov 07, 2020 9:56 am

Cryptic crosswords have always been a source of fascination more than anything else. Solving them seems harder than chess to me.

User avatar
Joey Stewart
Posts: 1224
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:35 pm
Location: All Of Them
Contact:

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Joey Stewart » 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.

I don't think anyone will ever manage to produce cryptic clues as good as Karl pilkingtons rockbusters though...
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1921
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:34 am

Oh yeah, those. Amusingly difficult.

Paul Habershon
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:51 pm

Re: Times cryptic chess clue

Post by Paul Habershon » Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:57 am

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.

Post Reply