Good morning. From this week, we'll be alternating obituaries and new cryptic crosswords, and we already had a lovely death so no puzz. Here are the answers to Friday Crossword VII: Split Up (and across):
This week's winning solvers were:
I thought I might try to write my own crossword this week. I started it, and I'll finish and publish it at some point. But I got frustrated and gave up, which reminded me a lot of when I first started doing cryptic crosswords.
The Guardian cryptic was always the hardest seeming thing in the world and that's why I do them now. It's also what I learned how to do. First I got a book about the Times (London Times) cryptic, and learned that, and then I got an equivalent one for The Guardian—it was by Araucaria, I think, one of their absolute best setters.
There's one classic clue I usually use to explain how they work. I used it on my friend Joseph when we were twenty-ish. I actually first heard it on Jonathan Creek, the cosy murder TV show, which is very cryptic crossword–structured. Somebody explains to somebody else by giving them the following clue:
"Something hideous grew larger, we hear."
Joe grew up around the corner from me in London. We got wrenched apart when I moved schools in childhood but reunited in college when we studied the same thing. When we went for a pint after getting our results at the end of university, Joe asked what category I'd got and then, having got the same, extracted enough information to declare that he had, in fact, in the end fucking beaten me. Two points. You got me, Joseph. And you're better at Boggle.
The answer to this clue is "gruesome." "Something hideous" is the definition, and "grew larger" is what you "hear" when you say it out loud—as in "grew some."
The inner workings of the "gruesome" clue was enough to inflame Joseph's clever heart so hot that I believe he also writes his own now, too.
Okay puzzlers, see you soon for the real thing.