The Stickler Weekly 47

**** Just a reminder that a “?” at the end of a Stickler clue can mean that language abuse is being used. That is, some part of the clue is technically incorrect and must be unravelled. If language abuse is present, there will always be a question mark ****

The Stickler for this week is now available. Please select your preferred solving format.

The solution to this puzzle will appear next week.

  Clue Hints for The Stickler Weekly 47
  Overseas Help for The Stickler Weekly 47
  Solution to The Stickler Weekly 46
  Invest in the Future of The Stickler

Please include comments or discussion about this crossword below.
Request help in the Clue Hints blog entry so all can see.

It’s a weekly crossword, so please don’t give/discuss any full answers until the solution is posted (such posts will be deleted/edited).


The Stickler

This entry was posted in Stickler Weekly Puzzles, The Stickler and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Stickler Weekly 47

  1. Steve Ball says:

    I understand that, in addition to what you say above, a “?” will also be present at the end of a clue that takes the form of a question. I can’t, however, figure out what the “?” at the end of 23-down is doing. What am I missing?

    • David Stickley says:

      I tend to construct my hiddens differently from most people, that is, I like to maintain a two-sided equation as with other clue types. Many solvers would be used to and happy with the clue without “group”, so the “?” is there to indicate that this clue contains something they might not expect. Also, in my mind, “group in” isn’t as specific as a term like “part in”, a liberty I’d like to tell the solver about.
      A number of solvers have asked me about “?”s, saying that they “give the game away” by alerting the solver to possible trickiness, but there’s a need for consistency to encourage solvers and give them confidence, and, most importantly, to give them a real chance to solve clues from the wordplay. I don’t know how many clues I’ve seen that can’t be solved from the wordplay because of “language abuse” that the solver could never resolve without first solving the clue from the definition.
      It seems solvers find my crosswords hard enough, even with the “?”s, so I haven’t changed my use of them.

  2. Steve Ball says:

    It seems to me that lots of your clues contain words without which the clue could still be solved, but that add ‘colour’ to the surface and can still be seen to function in the wordplay, e.g. “A found in B” rather than just “A in B”. I like this about your clues. “Group” in 23-down falls in this category for me.

    I must confess that your use of a “?” to indicate something “technically incorrect”, while fair to the solver, sometimes occurs to me as crosswordese. While it’s a useful device, I think that, like the ‘colour’ words, it also has to be able to be seen as serving some function in the surface. That’s not too hard because lots of statements can be read with an upward inflection, but sometimes it doesn’t work. This week’s 15-across is like that for me.

    Perhaps you’re fair to a fault? 😉

    Steve = : ^ )

    • David Stickley says:

      Having a “?” at the end of a clue that isn’t a question is of course crosswordese. I guess, though, the use of “indeed” to mean “in deed” in a clue is also crosswordese regardless of whether it’s accompanied by a “?”. So the question is, do I let the solver know what I’m doing? I choose to give them a better chance of solving the clue.
      Having said all that, I don’t use language abuse all that often, but this crossword did contain a very tricky clue that I wanted people to enjoy, hence my preamble.

  3. Steve Ball says:

    “… clues I’ve seen that can’t be solved from the wordplay because of “language abuse” that the solver could never resolve without first solving the clue from the definition.” I solve lots of your clues from the definition (and checking letters) – you’re very fair with your definitions – and then check the answer with the wordplay. This is especially the case for a long charade that might have three or four parts. I suppose it’s theoretically possible to get the answer from trying all of the synonyms for one part with all of the synonyms for the next part with all of the synonyms for etc., but I almost never do.

    What about if it’s not possible to solve the clue without first getting the definition? Is that fair? You use double-definition clues where the only way to get the answer is to solve from one definition and then check with the other. Is that any different from solving from the only definition and checking with the wordplay?

    Dog coming and going (3) I’d be happy with this for PUP. The only way to solve it is from the definition and then using the wordplay (indicating a palindrome) to be sure it’s not PUG or some other 3-letter word for “dog”. Your opinion?

    Steve = : ^ )

    • David Stickley says:

      I think most people (including myself) solve clues the way you do, in fact, I teach people to try and identify the definition as a priority. What I don’t like are clues that can’t be solved from the wordplay. A simple example is the use of “man” to mean any male name in the universe. Another might be something like “EARTH” leads to HEARTBREAK. Not far behind are clues where the wordplay can’t be worked out even with the answer, not because of a lack of word knowledge, but because of some fancy trick, or manipulation that requires some mental leap. If you can’t see even with the answer, you would never be able to deduce from the wordplay to get you to the answer.
      Double defs have always been the odd-one-out clue-wise. Obviously there’s no standard way of solving them or indicators which probably makes them the most difficult to solve.
      I have to admit that I’ve used the PUP style thing myself, only for palindromes though. The wordplay’s role these days seem to be more of a double-check than a pathway, which means many people don’t actually get to really enjoy the wordplay.
      Thanks for the feedback and chat – must do the next Stickler Weekly…


  4. Greg Mansell says:

    1dn is now right near the top of my list of favourite clues. But I reckon it will leave a lot of solvers stumped.

    11ac, 6dn and 21dn were also good fun — mainly because of the definitions.