Sunday, 12 October 2014

CWE 1 - JIGARTHANDA - Entries with comments

Thank you everybody for the enthusiastic response to the Clue-Writing Exercise that I set for JIGARTHANDA, a Madurai speciality that did not figure in Afterdark's thematic on the temple city. It is rather difficult to write clues in English for an Indian word in whatever language it may be, as the broken-up components may not be amenable for treatment in the foreign (if I may say so!) language. But many of you picked up the gauntlet (or kokki aruval or whatever). Some of the clues were devilishly good.
Here are my comments:

1. Drink a Taj hard gin cocktail (11) (Kishore)

***A typo in the clue is corrected by me. Short, succinct. Good anagram discovery, though it perhaps uses a commercial hotel name. Hackneyed anagram ind in ‘cocktail’ but somewhat redeemed by it being close to ‘gin’ (part of anag fodder). The def ‘drink’ is somewhat bare but it’s good not to give too much away in defs. I am not a drinker so I don't know if there is 'hard gin cocktail' and 'soft gin cocktail' that we can order in a bar. I also don't like giving publicity to brands, if by Taj the clue-writer means that group of hotels (though I have regularly been to one or two of them to attend meetings with 'high tea'.


2. Judge presided crazy night including one artist and lawyer for a drink (11) (Afterdark)

***Appears to be made up of J(judge) + anag (crazy) of NIGHT, RA (artist), DA (lawyer). Surface reading doesn’t seem to be attractive. The role played by ‘presided’ is not clear to me.


3. Jack had Granita, refreshing drink (11) (VJ)

***Anag of J had + granita (Italian) ice. Good anag discovered. Good anag signal too. Does ‘granita’ need the initial caps?


4. Dating Rajah went wrong to Jil Jil beverage (11) (C G Bhargav)

***The discovery of anag is fine, I also like the def, Jil Jil beverage (That’s cool!). Even today when I go to a place like Hotel Saravana Bhavan I ask for ‘jil thanni kudumma’ and she knows what I want. By’jil, jil’ the clue-writer perhaps means very cold! A more careful exercise was needed for a good anag signal. ‘ordered’ would have done! What he ordered for his sweetheart, I don’t know!


5. Crazy night and jar supplied drink (11) (C G Bhargav)

***Acceptable anag signal, ‘supplied’ may be taken to give us the word reqd, Wait a min. The anag fodder does not seem to gel with the word required. Check.


6. Indian Sir in courtyard with a drink (11) (P B Padmanabhan)

***I think this is Ji + garth + and + a. I assume that ‘garth’ is courtyard. I don’t know Hindi. Back in late 1950s (forget Tamil nadu and Madras and palatial houses with courtyards) we lived in a compact independent house with a big courtyard of garth (earth) open to the sky. That was in Durgapur, WB. The veranda alongside linked the front part of the house (drawing room, kitchen) with the rear side (bedrooms and baths). I was not aware of this phrase ‘garth’, if it is really a ‘courtyard’. The clue evokes the image of a relaxed officer (it could be my father (who was CAO and DFA of the steel plant) relaxing in the courtyard with his favourite drink – and reading poetry to me and my siblings. 


7. Jack's not against hard cocktail drink from Madurai (11) (Ajeesh VM)

*** Take J – AGAINT, removing S from against – H and jumble the letters.
Cryptic grammar is right.
Removal fodder well-hidden.
Apt def, too.


8. Jig had an art for getting a Madurai special (11) (pavalamani pragasam)

***I take Jig as short for a woman by name Jiginabai who, poor and innocent woman that she is,. has to deploy some knack even to get a drink. Extra marks for bringing in Madurai in def, though drink is not specified. I accept ‘for getting’ as anag signal.  


9. North Indian cool heart, on the contrary is drunk in Madurai (11) (Deepak Gopinath)

***Enu is supplied by me. I understand that 'thanda' is 'cool' in Hindi and 'jigar' is 'heart'. So 'thanda' 'jigar' become 'jigar' 'thanda' (when we apply the contrary rule).  Wordplay is fine. Maybe we could have a comma after 'contrary'. I accept the def X (the sol) “is drunk in Madurai”. But, In surface reading, how do we drink 'cool heart'?


10. North Indian cools his heart with this in Madurai (11) (Suresh)

***I think this too plays on the Hindi for 'cool' and for 'heart'. But this seems to have little cryptic element. For the Col's clue and this, a knowledge of our official language is needed but as the clear indication. If I say 'national language', Tamilians will grab my throat. As 'North Indian' is given as part of the clue, I have no quarrel with the use of Hindi words, especially when the clue-word is not English. I am only wondering how people in deep South came to coin the name for a Madurai drink by playing around with Hindi words 'thanda' and 'jigar' (on drinking it, do you turn head over heels?). I have heard that a man and a woman who are initially antagonistic against each other later become lovers and I myself know an instance or two from my college days (not when I was in Vivekananda but in MCC)!. 


11. Refresher of dance technique exhibited by Chinese prosecutor (11) (RameshJ)

***Good def, to begin with! And that goes so well with the words that follow! JIG ART is from dance technique. Handa was a prosecutor in a case, I remember. How does Chinese fit in?... Wait a minute. Chinese is HAN, DA is prosecutor. Beautifully crafted.


12.Dance with skill to get applause and a drink (11) (Raghunath)

***Jig-art-hand-a. Neat charade with all the components handled nicely after a good word breakup.


13. Subbaraj's latest – a grand hit released on the 1st of August (11) (Mohsin)

***Letter component plus anag. Plus letter component.

Full marks to the clue-writer for having veered away from the drink and hit upon a recent film by that name for the def.

I think ‘latest’ for last letter ind is OK, though I do appreciate Mohsin’s reservation about it. I also enjoyed reading the revisions made by Sowmya, Raghunath and VJ and the lively debate that followed those revisions, all so thoughtful. To each his or her ground. It’s really nice to be with a bunch of clue writers who are all so serious about this business of clue-writing.
I checked – the film was indeed released on Aug 1.
I take the director’s name to be [Karthik] Subbaraj – though Subbaraju too is on the Internet but then Internet with all these comments, posts, blogs, citizen’s reviews is notoriously unreliable unless you really know which is the official site. 
I have not seen the film. Would someone tell me in what way the title fitted in with the storyline. Was the hero one who killed people coolly and then was as cool as a cucumber? 


14. G sounds respectful as a prefix to this comic strip character along with a cooling of the heart when you drink this (11) (raju umamaheswar)

***Enu was supplied by me.
Charade of Ji (~G) – Garth – and – a
The rest of the clue is the def.
An expansive clue.
I like the comic character being summoned up.
However, this clue could do with cohesiveness in overall reading. Can't figure out what the long short story is all about.
Wondering as to how many lines this clue will spill over if it were in THC column width.


15. As we hear Chigoe flea, with the endless semi-andantes, makes Madurai beverage (11) (Nadathur Rajan)

***Anno helpfully provided by the clue-writer in another lengthy contribution.
~jigger JIGAR TH[-e] ANDA[-ntes]
Unusual components brought together in a clue that brings up (I don't like to add the usual, self-appreciatory herald 'pun intended') the beverage. 

Chigoe flea

'Andante,' as a noun, means a musical composition that plays rather slowly. So it seems it's one Chigoe flea that is playing many andantes here. As they are semi-andantes, they must have been much slower than usual. 

Who produces that beverage? We? Or the flea? Don't know.


16. Drink had rating problem in Jamaica (Rengaswamy)

***Anag of HADRATING (‘problem’ being nounal anag signal) in JA.
A different wordplay, a different scenario.
I can imagine a wine taster giving a certain rating but later being embroiled in a controversy.
Pithy, neat.

The following three I saw this morning after I finished writing and was scheduling the post: they had come quite late but before the deadline

17. Police officer with craft flanking Indian flag - no, the other way for this Madurai energiser (11) (Venkatesh)
(IG + ART) inside JHANDA

***Good def; no prob in cryptic grammar; well-thought-out wordplay. But fails in plausible surface reading, which is important, however clever the cluemanship maybe.

18. Liver in Lucknow, perhaps, with hand in Tunga banks for South Indian drink (11) (meendum Venkatesh)

***Again makes little sense in surface reading.

19. Rajani had telemarketing case advertising the new Lakshmi Menon starrer (11) (meendum meendum Venkatesh) 

(RAJANI HAD T..G)*, advertising - AnagrInd

***Better than the other two. Here there is some plausibility in surface reading, what with some people in Tamil Nadu launching some case or the other to block new releases. But I am not sure if 'advertising' is an acceptable ana signal.

Now to pick my favourites:

Honourable mentions

Jack had Granita, refreshing drink (11) (VJ)
Drink had rating problem in Jamaica (Rengaswamy)
Jack's not against hard cocktail drink from Madurai (11) (Ajeesh VM)
Jig had an art for getting a Madurai special (11) (pavalamani pragasam)

The podium


Dance with skill to get applause and a drink (11) (Raghunath)

Refresher of dance technique exhibited by Chinese prosecutor (11) (RameshJ)
Subbaraj's latest – a grand hit released on the 1st of August (11) (Mohsin)


  1. Congrats to Mohsin on his great clue. Once that clue came in, it was absolutely clear that it would top the list. Thanks to CV for his time and patience to comment in detail about every submission.

  2. Thank you CV. Most enjoyable-the whole exercise and your detailed analysis.
    Yes, 'Garth' is indeed courtyard. But Strange as it may seem, I picked it up from Free Dictionary. I had heard the word but was not sure and also did not know what it meant.

  3. Congrats to all the winners and clue writers.

    CV deserves special kudos for running the whole thing and then topping it off with excellent feedback on each clue.

    Just a thought: time and willingness permitting may be this is an activity that can be pursued while Sunday specials are on hold?

    1. I think that's a good suggestion

    2. +1. In fact, it could even be run later whenever the Col. does not have a special crossie on hand.

    3. Good idea. But who will be able to judge the way CV does?

    4. Plus 1 for Bhavan's comments on the inimitable CV sir's detailed analysis - was the Icing in the cake or Ice on the Jigarthanda :) Also, I had missed out the discussions he alluded to since it was a late post - thanks to his mention, I just read that too:) In future, i would suggest that we have a dedicated post for this exercise..

  4. Congrats to the winners. Agree with Bhavan: more participation could have been there on a Sunday

  5. When we read the clue by Mohsin, it was a given that it would make it to the 'podium' as it had the best surface, special being an &lit and was topical. Congrats to Mohsin! Well done Ramesh.

    Padmanabhan +1 also added, after I'd deleted for correction.

  6. +1 for all the comments on Mohsin's clue. It was simply superb. Not only for the deviation he took on the definition, but very smart usage of factual elements. Got reminded of his clue TEN in 1Across. That was a gem too. Thank you CV Sir.

    1. Which clue would that be? And which crossword?

    2. Not in a crossword. 1Across is a facebook group where we post standalone clues. The clue in question was:

      (twelfth of seventy-eight) + (fourth of five) + (eighth of eighteen) (3)

    3. VJ - if you are on FB and would like to join, please send us a request..

    4. Mohsin,
      I remember seeing another great clue from you at CU, which inovolved fractions being summed up.

    5. Kishore & Col , need more participation from you in 1 AC ..:-D Sowmya?

    6. Kishore, it was this clue that went to Shuchi's hall of fame:) Plus 1 to AVM's comment above:):)

    7. Yeah, Sowmya, it was the same one. My bad. I rarely use FB

    8. Not on FB, nonetheless thanks Sowmya...

      And nice one, Mohsin.

  7. Can't figure out what the long short story is all about. CV: Your comments in the analysis for my clue writing. Can you kindly elucidate the allusion of this? Even my wildest illusions cannot fathom !

    1. Raju:
      Your clue is:
      G sounds respectful as a prefix to this comic strip character along with a cooling of the heart when you drink this (11)
      You're asking me what I mean by "Can't figure out what the long short story is all about."
      What I am trying to say is that this is a longish clue and the surface reading does not seem to make much sense, does it?
      Clues are usually short. The story that it tells is usually to the point.
      Here the story is long but I am afraid it doesn't come out cogently or clearly.
      G sounds respectful as a prefix to this comic strip character - so far so good. From this we are told to get JI GARTH.
      along with a cooling of the heart - do we get THANDA from this? What is the role played by 'of the heart'? Whose heart? Garth's? Clue-writer's? Solver's?
      when you drink this - here, it could be the solver or anyone
      Thus after all this one is left confused.
      A long 'short story' (clue) and we don't know what it's all about.

    2. My intention was : Ji for being respectful in Hindi, (phonetic for G) comic character: Garth{ take only ji as a prefix for Garth) along with a -- and a

      JI (GARTH) with a = and a cooling drink.

      different folks , different strokes?

    3. What I still say is that there is no problem with word breakup Ji Garth and a.
      I also said the invoking of the comic character was a good idea.
      But the word breakup has not been transformed into a readily acceptable clue by solvers.

  8. Replies
    1. Looks to be a bit easier. Submitted inspite of frequent outages. :)

    2. The puzzle came on around 11:15

    3. I unsuccesfullt tried for over 10 mins from 11 and visited here at 1114 to check if there was any mention. Findinf none I went back and there ir was ...

    4. I thought you completed at 1113 :-(

  9. Thanks all, especially CV sir for the elaborate feedback on all clues.
    +1 for regularising the event, at least for the duration of IXL

  10. CV's illustration showing the drink with shadows of a revover and a machchu is apt