Crosswords UK

A resource for fanatics and beginners

Saturday 2nd July, 2022

No. 5,366

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Word Constructions

Word construction clues, as my name for them suggests, require a solution that is made up of two or more separate word solutions. An extremely simple example (that you'll probably never see in The Times) is 'rainbow'. The clue for this solution would have one part that gave you the word 'rain' and another providing 'bow'. Of course, it's not that simple.

In the sort of puzzles we're interested in here, word constructions are usually combined with other clue types to make the solution - and the identification of the clue as a word construction - more tricky. It's common to find that one or more of the words will have to be spelled backwards (usually indicated by the words 'about', 'up' or 'turn') or treated as an anagram. You'll also find that frequently one of the words is split around one or more others, forming the start and end of the solution. So, far from the simple 'rainbow' you might find yourself finding three new words, splitting one of them and solving an anagram of the other two!

One particularly devious example is as follows:

Source of report, "comfortable, turning very warm" (7)

In this case it's easiest to start with the solution, which is 'gunshot'. How? Firstly, the straight clue here is 'source of report' and the devilish nature of this clue starts with the sentence leading you to think of 'report' as meaning a weather report (in this particular puzzle there was a strong geographical theme so this doubled the misleading aspect). It's actually report as in the sound made by a gun.

The first part of the solution is 'guns' which is 'snug' reversed, indicated by 'comfortable turning'. The second is 'hot' which is just the solution to 'very warm'. It's a lovely clue and a good example of how important it is to disregard punctuation and search for alternative meanings.

Read on for more examples.

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