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Sploofus Editor
Mon, 2nd Nov '09 11:37 PM


We felt that this puzzle needed some explanatory notes, especially for those of us who are not fluent with British style Cryptic Puzzles.

For non-crossword solvers please look at

Here is Barry's explanation of the five sorts of clues you may see:

Anagrams are the simplest of clues. Half the clue is a straightforward definition, the other half a scrambled arrangement of the letters in the answer. To clue ‘OTTO’ you might say: ‘Cartoon dog or Toto in a mess’

Charades in each clue give a definition and then split the chosen word into two parts and clue them separately as in Charades. ‘Pay attention to overtime to give birth to a dog.’ Here OT for overtime and TO produce OTTO.

A hidden clue gives you a definition and then hides the consecutive letters of the answer in the middle of one or more words. Otto will be clued by ‘Financier Kahn emerges from FranchOT TOne’s environs’

Deletions provide you with a definition and then a cryptic reference, which loses its top or tail or both. Otto will emerge from ‘Headless angwantibo becomes Bismarck’. Here a POTTO loses its head.

A split word clue gives you the definition and a cryptic reference. Otto is clued by:’ Quarterback Graham racks up zeros around a motorcycle race. Here you have two Os around the TT race.

Good luck with the puzzle - you've been warned!

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Mon, 2nd Nov '09 11:43 PM

Alvandy  (Level: 240.3 - Posts: 7692)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 12:28 AM

thank you [I guess]

Aquamar  (Level: 185.8 - Posts: 925)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 12:41 AM

Kaufman  (Level: 267.8 - Posts: 3941)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 5:45 AM

Looking forward to it. Someone has to.

Asor  (Level: 162.1 - Posts: 594)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 8:54 AM

what pepperdoc and aquamar said...

Lodi  (Level: 106.0 - Posts: 2144)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 8:55 AM

It was as you would expect.

Loosewheel  (Level: 126.1 - Posts: 40)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 9:14 AM

Found it very interesting but wish I had read this first, I might of taken with less moves.

Foogs  (Level: 280.1 - Posts: 848)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 9:42 AM

Looks like I wasted my time taking my time.

1mks  (Level: 219.5 - Posts: 5925)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 9:56 AM

Virtus  (Level: 169.7 - Posts: 2489)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 12:00 PM

And NOW I read the explanations!! Too late for me. I wish everyone else good luck!!

Dizzy  (Level: 180.7 - Posts: 296)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 12:23 PM

Yep, me as well

Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 12:25 PM


Alvandy  (Level: 240.3 - Posts: 7692)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 12:50 PM

Thank you for the warnings and examples!
By reading this first, I had a semi- idea of what to seek in these cryptic clues.
After completion, I was stunned by the scoring.
Whoa. I'm in the top ten?

Charcoal  (Level: 182.8 - Posts: 52)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 1:37 PM

It might have helped if I had seen this first but I'm not sure that it would have helped me. The puzzle didn't make sense to me at all when I took it.

Daveguth  (Level: 266.7 - Posts: 1636)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 2:20 PM

Wow, that was a toughie. It wasn't so much the cryptic styles that I found difficult, but most of the answers contained information that was new to me. I enjoy learning new stuff, but in the context of the cryptic styles, it might have been too much to process (for those of us not used to British cryptic crosswords). Perhaps, Barry, you might try some cryptic puzzles that hide some pretty basic (common knowledge) information next time.

Collioure  (Level: 113.7 - Posts: 9952)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:03 PM

Attn: Editor

I appreciate the heads-up but I didn't see it until AFTER I solved the puzzle.

You need a way to alert us before we start the puzzle.

Bigdavy  (Level: 140.7 - Posts: 539)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:14 PM

Loved it!

Dflorke  (Level: 93.4 - Posts: 19)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:21 PM

I didn't read this till after the fact either.... maybe it would have helped??
My brow is still furrowed.

Sploofus Editor
Sploofandango (Editor)  
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:21 PM

Damned if we do. Damned if we don't.

The heads up was posted over 8 hours before the puzzle first appeared. Is it too much to ask that we at least take a little responsibility for our own actions or inactions?

And no, none of us have a free day to personally PM all takers and possible takers of Word Puzzles in the event we want to provide another heads up at some time in the future. Besides, how do we know you would check your PMs before taking the Word Puzzles

Bigbird  (Level: 249.1 - Posts: 3337)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:22 PM

Well, I understood one of them. And Brits do these all the time, huh?

Kaufman  (Level: 267.8 - Posts: 3941)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:25 PM

As promised, I'm in the happy minority. But what Daveguth said is right on. Cryptic clues require a great deal of cultural literacy corresponding with that of the puzzle author. That's why I can do well at the cryptics in Games Magazine, but would be lost on one of The Times's. I knew a lot of the things Barry presented in the puzzle, accounting for the good part of my score. Even so, his style differed subtly from some I've seen, and that probably cost me half a dozen moves.

Not a critique, just statement of the lay of the land and of how hard it will be for one of these to reach the masses without being simplified beyond the pleasure threshold.

Lucimoore  (Level: 192.1 - Posts: 1732)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:40 PM

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:50 PM

Consider how I've read complaints in the past about "a, an and the", this one was rich.

Bbear  (Level: 167.3 - Posts: 2297)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 6:57 PM

Sorry, Barry. Didn't get "It" at ALL, if indeed there is something to "get".

We no like.

Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 7:05 PM

Why, Andy, it seems you were - ahem - ill-informed.

Garrybl  (Level: 291.5 - Posts: 6770)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 9:45 PM

OK; first things first I have not constructed a complete crossword for 40 years.
Next; I checked the clues out with a cousin he does NOT do WP! Since he sets puzzles for inter alia the NY Times, I'm going to assume that the clues were valid as they stood. For people who want to know how the clues worked, I include an explanation.

Otto (Deletion)
Turkish empire (OTTOMAN) loses isle (MAN) for a palindromic Emperor (OTTO)

Garfield (charade)
President (GARFIELD) pike (GAR) will try to handle grounders(FIELD)

Marmaduke (Multiple charade)
Spoil (MAR) mother (MA) and John Wayne (DUKE) – the Great Dane (MARMADUKE)

Opus (anagram)
Scrambled soup (SOUP = OPUS) is a job for Caesar (LATIN FOR WORK IS OPUS)

Satchel (hidden clue)
Allen’s son (WOODY ALLEN’S SON IS NAMED SATCHEL) taken from the netS AT CHELsea Pier

Bucky (charade)
Combination of a deer (BUCK) and an unknown (X OR Y) Wisconsin mascot (BUCKY)

Sandy (hidden clue)
Search indoorS AND You will find something arenaceous (= SANDY)

Snoopy (split word)
There’s no o in the agent (‘NO O’ IN ‘SPY’) or the metlife blimp (NAMED SNOOPY)

Pluto (split word)
Hamas rival includes Austin college (‘PLO’ INCLUDES U.T.) for a dwarf planet now (PLUTO)

Astro (Deletion)
Fidel (CASTRO) beheaded (LOSING THE ‘C’) to foster turf (ATRO-TURF)

Lucimoore  (Level: 192.1 - Posts: 1732)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 10:12 PM

Well done, fun, and great explanations!

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 10:41 PM

Glad you explained Pluto.
Austin College is in Sherman, TX (I used to live there)
University of Texas is in Austin, TX (I went to school there)

Was wondering what Sherman had to do with Pluto.

Digs  (Level: 116.6 - Posts: 812)
Tue, 3rd Nov '09 10:42 PM

I try to do the Cryptic crossword puzzles in the British newspaper every week. I think you need time and patience to do these kind of puzzles.
I actually enjoyed it even though I did get 3 "pink screens" for Metlife Blimp (never heard of it!)

Thanks Barry. I would love to do another one (maybe make it just a little bit easier next time).

Lamizell  (Level: 108.2 - Posts: 441)
Wed, 4th Nov '09 12:09 AM

Pluto cost me two wrong answers and half the alphabet. And Woody Allen's son legally had his name changed to Ronan at least a decade ago.

I enjoy British crosswords, but this WP shows the very large difference between coming up with the answer, which is concrete, and coming up with the clue, which is much more subjective. For example, I initially tried "president-like fish..." instead of "president pike will...."

Nonetheless: enjoyable. Painful, but enjoyable. I agree we just needed to ease our way in with a lower difficulty level.

Collioure  (Level: 113.7 - Posts: 9952)
Wed, 4th Nov '09 2:28 AM

I agree, Donna. I was ill-informed.

What I was suggesting and I didn't phrase it well is that the warning needs to be on the intro of the word puzzle itself.

8 hours notice here - is that all there was? I don't post here much (we've been exiled to TT where there was no message)

So thanks for the effort to warn us. Sploofus needs a better way to warn us.

Sploofus Editor
Wed, 4th Nov '09 6:41 AM

We have no way to post any additional information in the puzzle introduction. All posts from the Editors of general Sploofus interest have always been posted to Salty Dog, and will continue to be posted here.

Collioure  (Level: 113.7 - Posts: 9952)
Wed, 4th Nov '09 6:59 AM

May I politely request an addl entry in Trivial Tangents the next time.

Thank you.

Sploofus Editor
Wed, 4th Nov '09 7:14 AM

Nope. Trivial Tangents has now been taken over by political, religious, and other heated arguments. General posts about Sploofus do not belong there. You'll just have to pop in here from time to time if you're looking for notes from the editors.

And remember to check Hotwire for official posts of longer lasting interest - such as how to submit a tournament of your quizzes, or how to submit a WordPuzzle.

Garrybl  (Level: 291.5 - Posts: 6770)
Wed, 4th Nov '09 9:03 AM

I think I can speak for the whole Salty Dog community when I say our hearts bleed for Andy, exiled from Salty Dog by an uncaring sploofus editorial community.
After all, who could work up enough enrgy to press a button on a computer? Not me, I'm sure -- after all that's where every other notice on WPs has been, why not just change it over to another site to please him?


Collioure  (Level: 113.7 - Posts: 9952)
Wed, 4th Nov '09 9:18 AM

Your sincere sympathies aside, I withdraw my request above.

At the same time I think more needs to be done to alert Sploofusers to WPs with special instructions.

So I will make a much better suggestion. Add a special character to the WP title, e.g. * or #, and in the introductory WP paragraphs under the title explain that such a character means there are special instructions for that WP in Salty Dog.

Garrybl  (Level: 291.5 - Posts: 6770)
Wed, 4th Nov '09 9:46 AM

An excellent idea (may be difficult to implement but I agree it cannot cost)

Collioure  (Level: 113.7 - Posts: 9952)
Wed, 4th Nov '09 10:05 AM

Thank you, Barry

I would have enjoyed your superb puzzle even more if I had understood all of the phrase types.

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