The Stickler Weekly Insights 196 – Clue Picks

When I write the Stickler Weekly, I make a mental note of clues I think will cause solvers some trouble and clues that I think solvers will especially like. The comments on the blog are a guide to the success of my assessments, and history shows that I’m normally way off beam. Two clues in particular were on my radar this week. The first, 11-across Penetrate boil not completely hard (3,7), stood out because I’d clued the answer before but only as an adjective. One of the pitfalls of using computer software with wordlists and linked references is that a term will generally appear in a wordlist once, even though, in theory, it could appear multiple times. In the case of SEE-THROUGH, lookups provided just adjectival synonyms like TRANSPARENT and SHEER, while there are actually many more synonyms available for SEE THROUGH (PENETRATE, PERSEVERE, KEEP GOING). It was luck more than anything that drew me to SEE THROUGH which opened up new clueing options. I thought the brevity and the use of BOIL as a noun in the clue would trick people up, but apparently not.
The second, 28-across Weed, one found in nature, weirdly died (8), I really liked although the clue was quite simple in construction. I had reservations about using the word because WEE, meaning to urinate, isn’t used in the US (PEE is more common). As an international crossword, I have to consider such things. I eventually went with it and added a suitable clue hint to the the overseas clue help section of the blog.

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