Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(6): 's = has

Anax, I'm afraid you are missing the point. 's can indicate a contraction of 'is' or a possessive construction, thus the definition, bird's, may refer to a bird (bird is) or to an adjective related to a bird (bird's), both legitimised by standard English syntax. If the solver is too influenced by a deceptive surface he/she may fail immediately to see that 's denotes an adjectival definition. That's fair deception based on normal rules of syntax.
But 's cannot be taken to mean 'has' in the required sense because there is no linguistic paradigm for that. Therefore, John is absolutely right to say that Afrit's injunction is not met.

It's true that elements in the cryptic syntax are assigned meaning separately, and may not necessarily be syntactically interdependent, but it must be possible to assign each element a meaning that it can, in principle, carry. In the case of 's it cannot be a contraction of 'has got', which is what it needs if 'X's Y' is to mean 'X + Y' or 'X around Y'.

I'm afraid I don't see the relevance of 'His' as a deceptive form of the plural of 'Hi' to this debate.


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