Thursday, 7 June 2012


Clue:  Nag and a ram reordered Word . (7).
Solution: ANAGRAM.
 And that is what this post is going to be about.

It all started with a few email exchanges between my brothers and sisters – youtube links to some old (they have to be, because we are all over 50!) family favourites like Mustafa and House of Bamboo.

Which prompted my sister Gowri to come out with a crossword clue :
Clan is got into knots reliving past? (9)
We worked out that it is an anagram and got the answer NOSTALGIC.

All of us at home are crossword puzzle solvers, in varying degrees of competence/incompetence. My father enjoyed doing them, and he encouraged my mother and us to try them. We picked up the habit, and enjoy working on the puzzles - the more cryptic the clues the greater the pleasure. Regardless of cracking the clue my joy in racking my brains over a puzzle is great. And  the delight of getting a particularly tough  one is just unbeatable.

The simplest clues are the anagrams – but you have to find out which words in the clue form the anagrams.

I just checked with my family over their favourite anagrams, and I got these
Lives and Levis for– Elvis.
Severely Slip, Sleepy Silver, for Elvis Presley
Mr Mojo Risin  for Jim Morrison  from his song L. A. Woman
Old West Action- Clint Eastwood
Maiji remembered my father’s favourite - Webs Ran Hard!  - Bernard Shaw.
And Gowri made anagrams of the names of some of us:
Gowri - I Grow
Mohan - Oh, man!! (her husband)
Bala - A Lab
Raji - I jar!

If you work on them long enough you usually get the anagrams. A crossword clue tells you what the anagram is going to be.
For instance Elvis could be:  Singer in crumpled Levis (5).
An example from a crossword in the Guardian:
As direction, I fancy reference books (12).
With this you have to find the anagram to form a word of 12 letters to mean a word or words in the clue. (Answer at bottom).

Can you see the underlined clue which is an anagram, and the answer is boxed in
Constant practice, and your eyes zoom down on the words which form the anagram. And it becomes a fairly easy occupation to juggle the letters around and find the word.

Nobody I know is as good as my brother Raja at this – he is the ace crossword solver too. But all that is a preamble to this - Taking Gowri’s clue at the top, he formed this jingle using the words ‘Clan is got’

clan is got

cat logs in
got in lacs
it can slog

go sit clan
act is long
lags in cot

cot nil sag
con lit gas
sang i clot

cats lingo
o! it clangs
losing act

last in cog
aligns cot
at closing

lo! casting
o! castling

ALL anagrams of NOSTALGIC!


Answer to the Guardian clue:  DICTIONARIES 
'reference books' is the definition.(dictionary is a kind of reference book).
'as direction i fancy' is the subsidiary indication.
'fancy' indicates an anagram.
'asdirectioni' anagrammed gives 'dictionaries'.


Life is a cruel joke said...

Of course there is that popular internet application called "I, rearrangement servant" an anagram of Internet anagram server!

Asha said...

awesome! I was taught this by a relative in my cousin's wedding. He is an ace with hindu crosswords.

Sun Ray said...

A delightful piece to read. I was till some time ago an avid crossword puzzle solver. And it all started in college. I remember running up to Gowri in the college lawns and taking her help with some of the clues. Wish those days could come back to me. Anyway, both you sisters are so witty with words.


Life is a cruel joke: Yes, but I find it more fun to work it out myself. And by the way, my brother, though he was impressed by "I, rearrangement servant" as an anagram of Internet anagram server, did not use it to form all those anagrams. :)

Asha: Thank you

Sun Ray: nice of you to visit and comment

Anil P said...

Lovely piece.

I see many solving crosswords on Mumbai local trains, an escape from the crush.


Thanks, Anil. I value your compliment.

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