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An interesting crossword clue

March 18, 2017

Here’s an interesting little thing. Yesterday I was doing the crossword in the Times and there was a clue which went something like: “Bread, with two articles placed end to end (4)”. I gazed at it for a bit and tapped my pen against my teeth and finally light dawned: the answer was naan, which is a type of bread, and which is formed from two instances of the article an, spelt first backwards and then forwards. Neat. And that was the right answer. But then I realised there was another right answer.

If you’d placed the articles end to end the other way round, you’d get anna – which is an Indian coin. And a common slang term for money is… bread!

That’s quite unusual, isn’t it? Two completely different answers which both fit the definition, the cryptic clue and have the right number of letters. What’s more, if the clue had been more specific and said “Indian bread, with two articles placed end to end”, both answers would still have fitted.

P.S. May I bring to your attention my comic fantasy YA novel The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers – here is the link: https://unbound.com/books/adam-gowers . Go there and you will see a neat little 2-minute video of me explaining why the time for this novel has come! And if you support it you will get your name in the back and an invitation to the launch party.

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14 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Remember the episode of Drop the Dead Donkey which featured the crossword clue
    Gegs (9,5)?
    Another that comes to mind is HIJKLMNO (5)

  2. The second one I know – water – but I don’t recall and I can’t work out the Drop the Dead Donkey one!

  3. Simon Carter permalink

    Sorry – should have been 9,4 (It’s late and I’ve been in the pub all day watching the rugby)it was scrambled eggs. Also the working title to the song Yesterday when Paul McCartney had it for breakfast on the morning he came up with the tune.

  4. Simon Carter permalink

    Along the same lines: Bresh (5,5).
    Another favourite question is:
    A number of fingers (5).
    Answer: Frost.

    • Bresh… mixed herbs, right? Don’t get the number of fingers one, though – how does that lead to Frost?

      Here’s one for you: Pain (6,5).

  5. Simon Carter permalink

    It numbs the fingers! English must be a joy to learn.
    Have to have a think about pain.
    Another old favourite.

    Bar of soap (6,6)

  6. Simon Carter permalink

    Correct! One of Colin Dexter’s favourite clues. Another was: Nothing squared is cubed (3).
    Answer: Oxo.
    Years ago the Telegraph had these two adjoining clues. Small and delicate (5) and Ghost (7) the answers were Elfin Spectre.

  7. Simon Carter permalink

    Pain = French Bread?

  8. Simon Carter permalink

    Sent Brie? Beer Tins? Oh, right. It wasn’t a clue.

  9. Tim Crannigan permalink

    Late to the party, but my favourite clue from many years ago (Telegraph, I think) was
    landl..d (6)

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