Friday, August 31, 2007

Test (on) Tube, baby...

Right, so I decided to venture my blog into the maze of cryptic crosswords. Ill confess, I've been a fan of this geeky business since I was a kid. All courtesy my Dad, who spent his mornings multi-tasking between ignoring my mother's fervent pleas to start exercising his body and joyously exercising his mind. Sometimes, the crosswords were beyond his reach, so he started employing my help in finding words or just in finishing off the left-overs. Google hadn't woken up, so we used big fat Oxford dictionaries. It ashames me to admit that I've spent hours combing through them, looking up all words that were 5 letters long, with the 2nd and 4th letters being R and Y! (One such word is CRAZY)

So it wasn't long before I had caught the craze, and soon me and my Dad were fighting over first right to solve the crossword. That gave my mother some more headache: soon she was multi-tasking too, between yelling at my Dad to exercise, and exhorting me to go out and play. Every extra moment of sleep was critical: if you weren't awake to jump on the scared paperboy when he came into deliver the paper, you had lost the match there itself- 50% of the crossword would be solved by the time you could put a hand to it. Soon it became very competitive, and after a few cases of domestic violence over the newspaper, it was amicably agreed to buy 2 newspapers. The scared, bewildered paperboy just couldn't fathom what was the matter with this nutty news-hungry family who loved the paper so much that they weren't satisfied with one- he soon changed his delivery area, citing personal problems.

So, back to this one. I've tried to make this one fairly easy, so as to not scare away people who havent got much practice in cryptics. Cryptics are very enjoyable because on first look, they look so tough and yet when one finds the answer, it always seems that it was right there staring at you. Solving these requires a fair bit of lateral thinking: you have to force your mind to abandon its usual flow of logic, nay, interrupt it at certain points and then reconstruct it all together at the end. That's what makes them so much fun. I don't understand what all the fuss about Sudoku is- working numbers into a grid is just so boring! Cryptic crosswords combine language skills with logic and lateral thinking all into one neat little 15X15 grid that can massage your brain better than anything else.

And if you are one of those who want to get started on cryptics, but dont know what to google, there's something for you too! I like some webpages that give a fairly easygoing and comprehensive introduction: try this and that. You might want to read these before you try the one above.

Finally, some notes before you start solving: This is a themed cryptic, and the theme is London Underground (mostly zone 1) stations. Which explains the total lack of symmetry- I've not added any words outside the theme to make it look better. If you are not acquainted with London, heres your cheat sheet. Clues are a mix of cryptic and simple ones, mostly the former. In some cases where the words are multiple (like Willesden Green), clues may refer to the entire word formation (e.g Will+esd+eng+re+en). Some clues refer to the theme, or hint towards it (e.g "area in london...", "london's financial center...") whereas some don't.

So get cracking! I already subjected my manager to the ordeal yesterday, he being the perennial test market for all my eccentric ideas and thoughts. The trouble one has to take for one's mentee :)


unpredictable said...

U are such an enthu bugger!!! I used to love doing crossies in VJ .. stopped soon after .. ill get back now .. another word passion to follow up on ! :D

Attiya said...

Was trying to read your earlier posts. Its not easy to access them. Perhaps, you should do something about it.

Rohan Sabharwal said...

Good one! left me with a bit of a headache. Can't wait for the next crossword!


Anonymous said...

ooooh we did it! we did it!

So when is your next cryptic crossword coming eh? to get me in Zone 3?

If you cant make it then : -

Else we can make our own crosswords and send it to him to solve it.

I like that idea!

Atticus said...

Wahey!!! great to see someone showed interest in it! and well done both of ya :))

next one soon on its way- was just waiting for this fillip!

Sudha- get involved!