Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(5): Listener No. 4368, The Name of the Game: A Setter's Blog by Harribobs

It is interesting to hear views on the use of link words. If you go back to the origins of cryptic clues when they were in fact two clues, one a straightforward definition and the other a cryptic representation, the two parts were separated by punctuation. At some stage (I am sure John T could tell us exactly when) it became the norm to omit the punctuation between the clues and run them into one for more interesting surface readings. One way of looking at it is that the clues still operate in the same manner and the dividing punctuation is still there in spirit. Another is that is the clue is now one composite clue. In the latter case I think ‘wordplay gets definition’ is fine. Personally I am happy to view it either way, whichever suits the clue.

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