⁂ George Ho

Second Thoughts: Loplop Variety Quiptic #017 [13×]

I’ve been a bit quiet lately but I’m back with another puzzle!

I’ve been stewing over the idea for this variety puzzle for a while now, and at some point found myself super unmotivated to finish cluing it. Eventually I decided to turn it into a variety quiptic, and that extra kick was just what I needed to get the puzzle over the line. It’s on the smaller and easier side, and I hope it delivers a nice solve for people new to the format.

Also, in case you missed it, I recently sold my first crossword! It’s a Browser Seven, which is as close as one can get to a “cryptic mini”: seven clues, clear definitions, straightforward wordplay. If you’re new to cryptics, these are pretty easy to work into your puzzling diet! You can solve my puzzle here.

Huge thank you to Hoyt Arcane for the test solve. I hope you enjoy!

Clue Workshop

This week I’ll discuss a clue from my previous cryptic with Aaron Riccio. If you haven’t solved that yet, please do give it a go!

After making PC, some game loads (10)

Click here for solution and discussion
  • Answer: CARTRIDGES
  • Definition: loads
  • Wordplay: {pC}ARTRIDGES

Aaron and I went back and forth a lot on this one. The clue has a lot going for it: it’s clean and has a pleasing surface.

However, notice how:

  • The wordplay (substituting a C for a P) is fairly easy to spot — or at least, I think it’s the easiest thing in this clue to parse.
  • Once you’ve parsed that, the clue boils down to getting “some game” or “loads” in order to make any progress: both of which strike me as pretty tough clues for PARTRIDGES and CARTRIDGES.
    • You might be tempted to compare this to a double-definition clue (since there are two straight definitions!). However, there’s a key difference: here, “some game” and “loads” define different words, whereas double definition clues provide two definitions for the same word. In some sense, there’s actually less information here.
  • Solvers can’t bounce back and forth between definition and wordplay, nor can they get a few letters somewhere in the answer. The only saving grace might be crossing letters.

Putting it all together, and I didn’t feel very good giving the green light to that clue.

Going forward, I’ll try to avoid clues that do this, as this reduces the clue to two straight definitions, which can feel unsatisfying. I’ll endeavor to make the entry shorter, or if I’m really painted into a corner, I can make one of the straight definitions easier.

Instructions: Four answers have had a 13a and must be modified (always leaving real words) before being entered into the grid.

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