Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(4): Azed 2,281 - a questionable clue?

I am grateful to those who have responded and especially to Richard for his full and very helpful explanation and the links to Azed’s own defence of the genre of “self-referential” clues . The latter, I’m afraid, does not convince me, though, at least in the case of the clue for UNINFLATED (Undine's ill after swallowing this!), it is fairly clear that an anagram of “Undine” forms the “frame” of the clue word, which immediately very significantly reduces the number of options, a mitigating factor that does not apply to the OVIDIAN clue. Surely, it should always be possible (though it may well be very difficult) to solve a clue by a combination of “logic” and knowledge (especially of crossword conventions and of vocabulary) and without the aid of checked letters, which cannot be the case if (a) one has no explicit definition and (b) a critical element of the s.i. is not explicitly in the wording of the clue and can only be understood once one knows the answer. Add in, in the case of the OVIDIAN clue, one word's doing “double duty” and a virtually meaningless surface, and I have to conclude that it is not one of Azed’s finest efforts!


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