True cryptic?

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True cryptic?

Post by crowsman » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:47 am

In the July CrOZworld, President Patrick made a plea for us to discuss relevant topics on this bulletin board. Hence, I will open an issue that has been bugging me.The late Noel Jessop (Jesso) is a doyen of Australian cryptic crossword compiling, influencing many of us who are amateurs in comparison.
However, in the March 2017 CrOZworld, Jesso's Slot 2 contained a couple of clues that surprised me, and made me wonder just what is a true and fair cryptic clue.

Onlookers notice Royal Society (9) Answer is OBSERVERS, clued as OBSERVE + RS.

Elder unknown at church court (10) Answer is PRESBYTERY, clued as PRESBYTER + Y.

I must admit that I was more than uncomfortable with both constructions, using a synonym of 'observe' to clue 'observers', and a synonym of 'presbyter' to clue 'presbytery', as both seem much too close. Am I being too pedantic? Would other ACC compilers consider using similar constructions?


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Re: True cryptic?

Post by zinzan » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:10 pm

No, I wouldn't do that. It's a bit unimaginative, most of all.
I know solvers would feel it's a bit cheap.

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Re: True cryptic?

Post by isla » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:42 pm

Definitely not cryptic.
But also widespread amongst amateur setters, including in CrOZworld.
Even seen from professionals, occasionally in The Guardian for instance, and almost never (but not never) in The Times.

I'd go so far as recommending looking up etymology of both solution and clue to make sure they're not from the same source. I trace that pedantry back to a comment I read from Anax many years ago, where he decried a clue as for JOURNALESE as being not up to scratch when the first four letters were clued by "day in France," as both JOUR and JOURNAL come from the same Latin root for day. I hadn't even noticed that non-crypticness.

But having said that I have transgressed, knowingly and purposely: Once I had two successive clues in one puzzle:
1. I'm ready, you sound unprepared... (9)
2. ...ready to be shot at dawn (5)

1. Answer IMPROMPTU: uses the same Latin root PROMPT- in the clue and in the answer.
2. Answer ONSET.
I liked the clue pair's surface reading enough to debase my principles.

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