Thursday, November 6, 2008

3K Triple-One Hunt—Mishandling Famale Deer

Q1) Mishandled for a gory female deer.

So that's the first riddle of the Captain. I have mentioned earlier that the Captain focused on making the clue complicated, but chose to ignore the surface reading and storyline.

Now let's see if the clue can at least pass from the cryptic point of view.

In this clue, the word "Mishandled" is intended to be the anagram indicator. It means that the letters found in a word (s) in the sentence are to be rearranged to form a new word (s), and that resulting word (s) shall be the required answer which is found on the signboard.

The CoC intends the fodder to comprise "a gory female deer". However, he fancies that to make the clue more confusing and perhaps "more professional", it's a good idea to make this an indirect anagram. And so he requires the "female deer" to be changed to DOE first. After the "female deer" has been changed into DOE, it is then combined with A GORY, the letters then rearranged to become GOODYEAR, which is the required answer.

At this juncture, I'd like to mention that as far as the cryptic crosswords are concerned, indirect anagram are not generally regarded as fairplay. However, in the case of treasure hunts, perhaps since the answers are found on the signboard, indirect anagrams are readily accepted.

Therefore, for the purpose of treasure hunts, the Captain's clue is OK, except for the word "for" which is found in the sentence. Generally speaking, the fodders are located immediately next to the indicators. There are some exceptions, of course, but not in this case. That word "for" is not only out of place in the cryptic sense, but also in the literal sense. On both counts it is better to do without "for".

The clue would then be:

Q1) Mishandled a gory female deer.

Still awful surface reading, but at least it is much better without the word "for". My opinion is that the Captain still has a lot of room for improvements. Setting cryptic clues is not only about randomly arranging anagram indicators for fodders.

The art of setting cryptic clues lies in the ability to compose sentences which appear to have a specific meaning and storyline in the literal sense for the purpose of deceiving the solver. It is hoped that by reading the literal meaning of the clue, the solver is misled into a direction which is as far away as possible from its cryptic meaning. The Captain has not achieved that here. How is he to deceive the solver when it is not even easy to understand the surface meaning of the sentence?

No comments: