Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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What is an &lit?

Once I thought I knew: a clue in which the definition and subsidiary indication (s.i.) are coterminous and in which every word plays a valid role in both. But clues quoted on Azed slips, claiming to be &lit and apparently approved as such by Azed have eroded my confidence that I have understood the term correctly. Certainly, the “rules” seem to be significantly different where composite anagrams are involved, but there are also instances of other types of clue that claim to be &lit and apparently receive Azed’s imprimatur, but do not meet what I thought were the required criteria as given above.

For instance, one of the winning clues for CELEBRATIONS in the Christmas Special competition read:

Time to get ebriose with clan gathered round for Christmas and New Year? (t in anag. &lit.)

The s.i. is an anagram of EBRIOSE + CLAN (the anagram indicator (a.i) being, presumably, “gathered”) round T(ime), but the words “for Christmas and the New Year”, surely, have no role at all in the s.i. Arguably, the clue as a whole is a definition of CELEBRATIONS - though, to my mind, celebrations are something that happens, not when that something happens, which casts doubt on the validity of a definition beginning “Time to” - but, even if one accepts the definition, it is definitely not coterminous with the s.i.

Similarly, in one of the clues awarded a VHC

ER’s lit beacon starting --? (anag. & lit.; ref. HM’s 90th birthday c.; start = jerk)

the s.i. is “ER’s lit beacon starting”, but there is no definition without the addition of the dash, which is not part of the s.i.; indeed, it is not easy to regard “ER’s lit beacon starting” as even part of the definition, even though the similar, but crucially different, formulation “What ER’s lit beacon starts?” would be an acceptable definition on its own.

In another of the winning clues

Mars bar selection? (Anag. &lit.; ref Mars Inc. chocolate collection),

definition and s.i. are certainly coterminous, though I have to wonder whether Mars (3rd person singular of the present tense), as opposed to Mar (imperative) or Marred (Past participle passive), meets Ximenean standards for an a.i.!

Have I misunderstood what an &lit is? If so, how should it be defined, please?


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