lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

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Location: Kolkata, India

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Anagrammatically yours!

Hm. There is a problem right away. There are not many anagrams you can make out of the word yours. Yours anagrammatically would equally suggest to any cruciverbalist that 'yours' is an anagram. Okay, let's call that a working title. LOL

The use of anagrams in crosswords is something a tyro discovers, much like sex. Once discovered, it is a source of perennial joy, because they vary, they beguile, they have strings attached and riders (pun intended), they are mysterious, they are convoluted... in other words just like sex! :D

Cart horse is an anagram for orchestra, beginners learn soon enough, it is a classic.

But before Dan Brown and DaVinci Code made anagrams a household word, crossword enthusiasts were there, with their pencils and patiently trying out, striking off letters, erasing them and trying other words. Because anagrams are the bread and butter of cryptic crosswords.

Today I solved a lovely anagram clue: Above Britain, flying for USA, say? (12)

The solution is an anagram of Above Britain, abbreviation. USA is an abbreviation, see? :-)

If you can make 'Saturnalia' into 'Australian', you begin to understand the insidious charm of anagrams.

There are some compilers who revel in complex anagrams which take up most of the grid and make my life a misery till I solve them, and Bunthorne of Guardian tops the list. Some solvers give up as soon as they see his name, in fact. But he is witty, and wonderful.

But the mother of all anagrams was constructed by Araucaria, Father John Graham, my favourite compiler:

O Hark the herald angels sing the boy's descent which lifted up the world.

It was in a seasonal Christmas puzzle, and when solved yielded:

While shepherds watched their flock by night, all seated on the ground!

Cheers!

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