Diplomacy Cryptic II

By Tony Nichols

For all those who enjoyed the cryptic in last edition and now want to practice those new skills and warped thought patterns on a somewhat more demanding puzzle. Crank the grey matter's starter motor and take a look at the grid below.

Oh and if you know what's good for you, read the questions and answers below.

2. Sounds like you twice spent a long time in a body of water.
5. Columbus plays dip in not so old city.
8. Bone in tank needed removal.
10. Sought after the stab, revenge ending with a twisted cane.
12. Late steam creates an impasse.
14. Planes ordered to Southern city.
17. Turk distilled wood twice.
20. Statue raised commerating very one sided conflict. (2 words)
23. Electrons heard amusing those East of French city.
25. Central province throws a celebration.
27. So game obsession drove her to drink?
28. Once Spanish capital, now only an aberration.
1. E added to minced bio-ham in King Wenceslas' realm.
2. Fleet starts in a tankard, hardly fit for war with Italy.
3. No convoy Tun - Rom, had to walk instead and remembered every step.
4. Neutral centre and not!
6. Heard animal fat built this nation.
7. Port where it's unorganised.
9. "East, East of port" he cried, hair erect on back of neck.
11. & 24. Justify Russia's elimination. (2 words)
13. Fate affects a great deal.
14. Pleasant French city, named after a greek victory?
15. Left Gaul out for the Atlantic coast.
16. Wickedness of Modern invasions.
18. Game is basis of discrimination.
19. Characters in a song bounce here in S1901.
21. God sounds worthless.
24. see 11.
26. Trouble brewing in Makeyevka, Donbas.

Questions and Answers

Hey where did the black squares go?
Well, I didn't want to waste all your printer toner. No seriously, because many of the answers are dip provinces giving the length of the answers makes it too easy. Trust me, on seeing a 15 letter answer starting with C would you really need to read the clue before entering constantinople? So you have to work out which squares are blacked out. To make things easier the clue numbers above are correct and the crossword has the usual 180 degree rotational symmetry. Hence if (x,y), denoting column x and row y is black then (16-x,15-y) is also black. Alternatively keep rotating the grid through 180 degrees and ensuring it looks the same.

How do I solve it if I don't know where the answers go?
Best method is probably to go through all the clues and solve as many as possible and then figure how the answers can be fitted together. To give you a start 1 down is very easy.

That reminds me I can't solve the clues either, how do they work?
Cryptic clues come in two parts, one of which will always be literal, i.e. will mean the same as the answer. The second part may also be literal so Rear end of Queue(4) is "back", which means both rear and end of queue. Alternatively the second part of the clue can be cryptic, with two elements, itself; the clue and a bit telling you how to solve it. An example Four week period when normal hunt is sabotaged (5,5) answer: "Lunar month", literal clue: 4 week period, cryptic clue: normal hunt and solution keyword: sabotaged, meaning the cryptic clue is an anagram. Note these 3 parts can come in any order. Alternative cryptic types are soundalikes (words spelt differently but phonetically indistinguishable), reversals (words backwards) and containers (short words in longer ones).

How did you design a Diplomacy crossword with symmetry?
Thanks for spotting that it can't be easy, so you'll hopefully excuse the fact I cheated. Cheats it's helpful to know about are:

Okay, I've read all that but still can't get anywhere, please help?
Practice makes perfect, so try last seasons puzzle which now has answers online in this issue of the Zine. This doesn't really attempt to follow the cryptic conventions outlined above so, for the really stuck, I'd recommend trying the Daily Telegraph Crossword (a non-Pouch site that sadly also requires a short registration) and returning tomorrow to get the answers and then work out how it's done. You can also e-mail me but I won't give out help until sometime in May so that people who are able to solve the puzzle without help will have had the opportunity to do so and submit solutions to The Pouch. If I of similar requests I'll post to rec.games.diplomacy in May.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Tony Nichols

If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, and clicking on the envelope above does not work for you, feel free to use the "Dear DP..." mail interface.