DIY COW #110 – PROFIT   78 comments

This week sees the return of The Apprentice on the BBC – a program which, I have to confess, I watch avidly. To celebrate, I have chosen PROFIT as this week’s word.

Your challenges are to create a definition that has some interest or deception, to construct wordplay that is accurate and fair and to write a plausible and smooth surface reading. To help you deliver these requirements I have arranged for you each to be given FOUR clues to write. I advise you not to use up all your clues at the start of the week, as the best ideas often come later. I will do my write-ups daily so don’t even think about deleting one after the day of submission.

I’ll see you in the boardroom at 5pm on Friday, where – sadly – all but one of you is going to get fired. Dram

PS Those of you in far-flung places need not be concerned, no knowledge of The Apprentice is required, this will still be the regular competition. The only change is the limit to the number of entries per person.

Typing bold and italic:

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Posted May 7, 2011 by Anax in DIYCOW

78 responses to “DIY COW #110 – PROFIT

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  1. In the vein of my clue for #109:

    Turn overturn over for turnover (6)

    TI[FOR]P<
    turn = reversal indicator, overturn = tip, over =containment indicator
    Def = turnover

  2. In favour of sexy bottom line (6)
    def: bottom line
    PRO (in favour of) + FIT (sexy)

    What’s to be gained by foregoing half of chocolate dessert? (6)
    def: what’s to be gained
    PROFIT(eroles)

  3. Hi dram

    Is it fine to make some minor changes to the clue later on? I mean, the same idea put in different words to read better.

  4. Looks like I may be home after all the weather forecast is awful, so here goes

    Professional trained to make a killing (6)

    Def – killing
    Professiona – pro, trained – fit

    • Not sure how you ammend clues here so I’ll enter it slightly differently

      Professional trained for killing (6)

      Def – killing
      Professional – pro, trained – fit

  5. Gravy train offered to an expert (6)

    Gravy – def; train=fit; an expert=pro

  6. Reward for lying about in bed (6)

    Def = reward
    Lying about = reversal indicator
    For = reversal fodder
    In = container indicator
    Bed = PIT
    FOR > ROF in PIT = P-ROF-IT

  7. Benefit in Corpus Christi for priest on retreat (6)

    Def: Benefit

    Hidden word (ind. by in corpus (body of) Reversed on retreat
    chrisTI FOR Priest

  8. Make money from gravy? (6)

    Double definition.

  9. Clean up again? (7)

    DD

    “again” = “a gain”

  10. Money made by lady of the night’s attractive (6)

    Money made – def
    lady of the night – PRO
    ‘s – has
    attractive FIT

    With respect (sic), wordpress is an awful medium in which to host this forum.

  11. Return provided for politician in hustle? (6)

    IF< for MP in PROMPT; semi &lit.

    2 years on from the “duck house” episode – lest we forget.

    • Hi Qix, is ‘return’ doing double duty in this one?

      • The whole clue is serving as a definition-by-example, hence the QM.

        It could be rephrased with a more explicit definition, but I liked the sound of “return provided” as part of a definition as well as wordplay.

  12. Trimmed flipping spaghetti for patron’s benefit (6)

    Reversed (flipping) hidden (trimmed) solution

  13. Parson flirts occasionally to generate more interest (6)

    def: to generate more interest
    odd letters of PaRsOn FlIrTs

  14. Short academic with sex appeal returns (6)

    PROF(essor) + IT (sex appeal). I am happy enough that returns in the plural can denote profit as a singular noun.

  15. 2) Parson flirts regularly to make you yield (6)

    Alternate letters

    • Terribly sorry… Didn’t notice Gazza’s entry just above… Is there no ‘delete’ button here?

      • Don’t worry, Shyam. “Great minds” and all that …

      • Consider it deleted Shyam. I am fine with you doing that on the same day that you post it as I have not reviewed the clue yet.
        Dram

  16. Thanks dram!

    2) One entering into ace feminine toggery’s beginning to find worth (6)

    I (one) entering into PRO (ace) F(feminine) T(‘T’oggery)
    worth – definition

  17. The Listener’s chosen one to gain an advantage (6)

    The Listener’s = homophone indicator

    chosen one = prophet

    to gain an advantage = definition

  18. 1. Realise evidence is hollow and object (6) PR(-o)OF IT

    Realise = def
    evidence = PROOF
    hollow = delete middle
    object = IT

  19. When turned, leads to tax income for overly rapacious politicians (6)

    Reversed initial letters, &lit.

  20. 1) Inside pit for snake’s retun (6)
    Definition = return
    P FOR* IT ,
    [ is the anagrind and the fodder]

    2) Opportunity cost for professor having sex (6)
    Definition = opportunity cost
    PROF + IT
    3) Poor reach often figures in total beginner’s returns of service (6)
    [Acrostic with ‘returns of service’ as the definition, using in surface, ‘returns of service’ as in Tennis, Badminton, Table Tennis and other games and requiring to be read as in cryptic.]
    4) Make a kill for body being buried head eastwards in pit (6)
    Definition = make a kill
    P for* IT
    Some clarifications /doubts :
    i) In cryptic needs to be interpreted as body comprising three letters (F O R), (as in ‘water body’ comprising water particles). If my interpretation is correct than using brackets would be unnecessary. But if it is incorrect, then the word has no role to play in cryptic. In that case, would it have been an acceptable way to put the word (body) in brackets so as to tell the solver that it is needed in surface but not in cryptic?
    ii) Using would have meant avoidable padding (letter ‘a’) and rendered the clue unximenean . But by not using ‘a’ as an article that grammar requires me to use, my clue could be regarded as ungrammatical and, for that reason, unximenean ! This involves the larger issue of how to resolve this paradox ? Or is it a cruciverbalists’ cryptic licence not to use articles even when grammar dictates that they be used?

  21. Oops! Two mistakes need correction :
    1) The wordplay in clue No. 4) has been by mistake shown as P FOR* IT. It should read,
    P FOR< IT

    2) In item i) under clue No. 4, please replace 'In cryptic needs' by the following text :

    The words in cryptic need

  22. Sorry Dram, I am having posting/editing clues, needing further corrrection :

    2) In item i) under clue No. 4, please replace ‘In cryptic needs’ by the following text :

    The words in cryptic need

  23. It seems impossible to use the upper case marks on the comma and the full stop keys of the PC. I tried to cover words, ‘for body’ with the two marks but could not convey.

  24. Return for tip-off (6)

    A nice juicy &lit there, with just a smattering of learning in ancient Greek, Urdu, astronomy, Hull City reserve team fixtures from the 1993/94 season and the DNA structure of the potato required. No, hang on, it’s an anagram.

  25. Had a somewhat similar idea:

    3) Result of rip-off eventually cannot be this (6)

    (OF RIP)* T; Wiki defines rip-off as a “bad financial transaction”.

  26. Maybe Jesus said ‘It’s no loss’? (6)

    Homophobe of prophet.

    I’ve put the QM in as technically, many things aren’t a loss. A banana, a sloth and a sausage to name but three for example.

  27. Inspired by our esteemed judge’s inspiration – NOT to be judged!

    Not enough is made of this by rolling with the punches! (6)

  28. Strange way of speaking about sex aid (6)

    Strange way of speaking about sex aid (6)

    Aid = def
    Strange = anagrind
    Way of speaking = RP (Received Pronunciation) = fodder
    About = OF
    Sex = IT

    PR+OF+IT

  29. This one may present too many hoops:

    Benefit is something like Charity’s middle name? (6)

    Def=Benefit
    Cryptic Def = Something like charity (misleading capital)= NPO (Non PROFIT Organisation)

  30. Could someone who knows how please post some information about how to create bold type, etc.?

    • Bold Test

      If the above is correct you need &lt b &gt YOUR TEXT HERE &lt /b &gt

      • OK so my code to explain didnt work. Standard HTML code.
        ‘less than’ sign then b then ‘greater than’ sign to start the bold then ‘less than’ sign then /b then ‘greater than’ sign to stop the bold.

    • You use the chevron keys (SHIFT comma/full stop). Type the left chevron, then b for bold or i for italic, then the right chevron.
      After the text you want to affect, type the left chevron, then a forward slash and the right chevron.
      I have to describe it in that convoluted manner otherwise you only get to see the result, not the process.

      • I atttempted to use what I thought would render the code visible but have clearly forgotten how to do it! The resultant rubbish was less than edifying!

    • I’ve added an instruction to the opening post.

  31. Thanks Anax and gnomethang!

  32. For all those who have struggled to re-format a document in Word

    Rips formatting apart to change these margins

    Compound anagram

    (ripsformatting)*apart = (profit [these] margins) * change

  33. Dram has done a good thing in restricting the number of entries to four. But this will mean that there will be quite a few ideas which will not see the light of the day and die once the new challenge appears. After having my four entries in, I am left with the following roughly made clues or half-baked ideas needing further work , which I will like to share with other members, especially those who are looking for some new threads due to some constraints :
    1) Disadvantage in raised tip hampering + words picking r,o,f,? Not quite (6)
    [rush/run of foreplay……]
    2) Get more[ in?!]….raised tip, embracing, endless fore-
    play (6)
    [Breaking the previous line at ‘fore-‘ ( as I have done) could work as a trick for picking f,o,r with ‘play’ as anagrind hinting ‘for’ = rof. If ‘get more’ is not a good definition, it can be changed. ]
    3) Print deleting /dropping….. new covering of killing made (6)
    4) Prportional representation / Public relation/s of sex/it…….
    5) Every second sparrow [=PRO] + FIT [has to become/gets fit……]
    6) Every second sparrow + words picking f,I,t……..
    [oddly flirts, fans its tail/flew into tantrum……initially]
    7) Extremely popular [=PR]…of/about it/sex, sex appeal….

  34. 4) To a player like Sharapova, feminine appeal is a bonus (6)

  35. This is for a down clue and requires a clue that continues the sentence:

    Excess stone cladding raised because… (6)

    Def: Excess

    P{FOR<}IT (PIT is another name for a fruit stone)

  36. Not against company leaving out item from accounts (6)

    Not against = PRO, company leaving out= (out)FIT (leaving in the sense of abandoning) with def “item from accounts”

    • Maybe I could do more with that:

      No fledgling company’s not out to make one (6)

      No fledgling = PRO in the sense of experienced; company’s not out = company has not out = (out)FIT to make the def of one, being semi-&lit.

  37. 2. Able to ignore any nice perk (6) PROFI(-cien*)T

    perk =def
    Able = Proficient
    ignore = del ind
    any nice = CIEN

  38. Right that’s your lot. Verdict later this evening.

  39. Welcome back everybody. Thanks for adhering to the 4 clue limit (actually, only 3 people submitted 4 clues so you seemed a pretty quiet lot this week – 34 clues in total). As you know, I’ve been casting my eye over these and I have identified a shortlist of 6 that I will be putting through a more rigorous examination later.

    Meanwhile, let’s see how you got on with the first task.

    Round one: Create a worthwhile surface reading
    A familiar one this – I’m looking for something that reads like a proper sentence with something of interest to say. We only had a few meaningless entries this week – well done – so I’ve raised the bar a bit and also chucked out the ones that had smaller weaknesses. These are the clues that were on the losing team for this task:

    Gazza: In favour of sexy bottom line (6)
    def: bottom line; PRO (in favour of) + FIT (sexy)
    We all know that sex sells so this is a great start. I liked the attempt to change the apparent meaning of ‘bottom’ by linking it to ‘sexy’ but this one doesn’t quite come off – the word ‘line’ spoils it, because if we are referring to underwear then it would be a panty line rather than a bottom line. Not that I spend my time looking at these things you understand.

    Shyam: Gravy train offered to an expert (6)
    Gravy – def; train=fit; an expert=pro
    I really like the linking of gravy and train, but the surface as a whole doesn’t quite gel and the use of ‘offered to an’ as a connector in the wordplay doesn’t work.

    Prolixic: Benefit in Corpus Christi for priest on retreat (6)
    Def: Benefit; Hidden word (ind. by in corpus (body of) Reversed on retreat
    chrisTI FOR Priest
    I continue to be amazed by your ability to write clues with an ecclesiastical flavour Prolixic (when your mind is not distracted by lewd things at least) and this is so clever, with an original use for Corpus blending in with Christi as part of the wordplay. But I’m dinging this one because there is no real sense to why the priest might be in retreat … I’m not sure about your parish but to my understanding of Corpus Christi processions, everyone generally walks forwards.

    7dgunpine: Money made by lady of the night’s attractive (6)
    Money made – def; lady of the night – PRO; ‘s – has; attractive FIT
    This nearly gels but not quite. You wouldn’t naturally describe money made as ‘attractive’, more likely you’d use a phrase like ‘an attractive proposition’ or ‘impressive’.

    Qix: Trimmed flipping spaghetti for patron’s benefit (6)
    Reversed (flipping) hidden (trimmed) solution
    This too is just not natural enough to progress. ‘Flipping’ appears forced.

    Shyam: One entering into ace feminine toggery’s beginning to find worth (6)
    I (one) entering into PRO (ace) F(feminine) T(‘T’oggery)
    worth – definition
    And this one really is clumsy I’m afraid. Each component of the clue – ‘one entering into’, ‘ace’, ‘toggery’ and ‘find worth’ is, in its own right, unnatural-sounding. Like one of those university-educated people, talking in words I don’t understand.

    Loonapick: The Listener’s chosen one to gain an advantage (6)
    The Listener’s = homophone indicator; chosen one = prophet; to gain an advantage = definition
    A nicely constructed clue with a neat homophone indicator (Should that be homocator? I dunno, ask Shyam) and cleverly disguised definition for prophet, that loses out only because it is not clear what is going on in the surface: The Listener has chosen one… what? What sort of advantage?

    Prolixic: Excess stone cladding raised because… (6)
    This is for a down clue and requires a clue that continues the sentence.
    Def: Excess; P{FOR<}IT (PIT is another name for a fruit stone)
    There is a lot to admire about this clue. ‘stone cladding’ is a perfect lift-and-separate, the definition is quite well disguised and the words flow together beautifully. So why not on the shortlist? Two issues: I feel it is a bit of a cop-out to write an entry with ellipses – effectively excusing yourself from making a full sentence by the device of the dots. Recently the penguin submitted a pair of clues – both leading to the same answer – and I felt this was a reasonable way of avoiding that problem (so much so that I later copied it). Additionally it is not really clear from this sentence fragment what is going on. Is the issue of stone cladding being raised at a meeting of the Parish Council, or is it being raised in the sense of erected? So I decided (with regret) to put it in the bin marked ‘surface reading’.

    Kororareka: No fledgling company’s not out to make one (6)
    No fledgling = PRO in the sense of experienced; company’s not out = company has not out = (out)FIT to make the def of one, being semi-&lit.
    With the double negative, this reads awkwardly and the &lit does not work well to my mind, as the word ‘fledgling’ is irrelevant to the definition and therefore misleading.

    All right, the rest of you have got away with it so far. Your reward is a grudging ‘well done’ with no hint of a smile, and I’ll see you in the next round in a short while.

  40. Round two: Design wordplay that’s fair
    For this task I want you to pay proper attention to grammar in writing the wordplay – it has to be a properly-constructed, clear set of instructions to arrange the letters of the word PROFIT. So I don’t want any made-up rules or rubbish like that.

    Qix: Clean up again? (7)
    DD: “again” = “a gain”
    What did I just say? Oh no you don’t, sunshine. Even I know you can’t split a word in two bits like that and I can’t even spell Zimeenian. Get out of my boardroom!

    Qix: Return provided for politician in hustle? (6)
    IF< for MP in PROMPT; semi &lit.
    The wordplay instructions are not clear here. Substituting the components back into the clue it can be read as: “Return IF for MP in PROMPT” and there are two problems:
    1) I have to read this as an imperative instruction, and then what follows does not make grammatical sense
    2) The ‘for’ on its own is not enough in a substitution clue, really you want a word like ‘with’ to indicate that the word is being added as well as ‘for’ to indicate that it is taking the place of another word.
    Finally (and by the way I am just being thorough – actually I really admire the cleverness of the clue’s construction and the clue has plenty of value – enough to make it worth proper analysis) – I don’t think the &lit idea works because the definition you are giving is far more specific than is conveyed by PROFIT, even with the question mark to indicate something a bit devious.

    Bhavan: Realise evidence is hollow and object (6) PR(-o)OF IT
    Realise = def; evidence = PROOF; hollow = delete middle; object = IT
    I must say Bhavan, the way you jump from ‘evidence’ to PROOF shows you know how to pull a fast one – but not on me, I’m afraid. And saying that something is hollow is not the same as saying ‘hollow it out’.
    Hang on. I haven’t finished with you yet. You put ‘realise’ for PROFIT when it really means to cash in, and you put ‘object’ for IT when it really means thing. I reckon you must have had extra bookshelves built, ‘cos with all those extra definitions in there, your dictionary has got to be ten times the size of everyone else’s. This one is fired.

    S T Sahasrabudhe: Inside pit for snake’s return (6)
    Definition = return; P FOR* IT
    I corrected the typo in ST’s entry. It’s a pain to edit in this setup and so I’ll ignore trivia like that. However, the function of the apostrophe is not trivial, unfortunately. Snake’s can mean snake is or snake has, but not simply snakes. A shame, as otherwise this was well-constructed with a clever anagrind.

    S T Sahasrabudhe: Poor reach often figures in total beginner’s returns of service (6)
    Acrostic with ‘returns of service’ as the definition, using in surface, ‘returns of service’ as in Tennis, Badminton, Table Tennis and other games and requiring to be read as in cryptic.
    We have the same problem with the apostrophe here I’m afraid: “beginner’s” is not the same as “beginners”. I would also note that, while ‘return’ is fine for PROFIT, ‘return of service’ isn’t, as there is nothing in profit that specifically relates to providing a service – you could make a profit by selling something you made.

    S T Sahasrabudhe: Make a kill for body being buried head eastwards in pit (6)
    Definition = make a kill; P for< IT
    I’m not entirely convinced by ‘make a kill’ for PROFIT, it should really be ‘make a killing’. The wordplay for ROF was ‘for body being buried head eastwards’ and, while I see your intent in hoping we could see ‘body’ as referring to the constituents of the word, the whole construction is just too contrived. Putting body in brackets would not help the wordplay as it is generally taken to mean ‘with or without’ and we have no way of knowing that you want it in the surface nut not the wordplay (could be the other way round). You asked about the ‘a’ in ‘make a kill’ and it does seem to me that articles like ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’ can be dropped from the surface reading and still give an acceptable result, but here the ‘a’ is necessary and I did not consider it a problem at all. Unlike ‘bury’, which serves no purpose in the wordplay.

    Shyam: Result of rip-off eventually cannot be this (6)
    (OF RIP)* T; Wiki defines rip-off as a “bad financial transaction”.
    An attempted &lit (or semi-&lit) which does not quite come off. If it is an &lit then I have to ask what I am supposed to do with the words ‘result’ and ‘be this’. And if it is a semi-&lit then it does not read grammatically, as the word ‘of’ appears both in the overall definition of the word and also in the wordplay, thus doing double-duty.

    Axiom: Strange way of speaking about sex aid (6)
    Aid = def; Strange = anagrind; Way of speaking = RP (Received Pronunciation) = fodder
    About = OF Sex = IT PR+OF+IT
    Axiom, your first clue was excellent and made the shortlist. I can scarcely believe this one came from the same pen. You can’t really create an anagram when there are only two letters in the fodder – so you’re stuck with indicating the reversal of the letters, and to cap it off you have used an indirect anagram, meaning that you ask the solver to turn ‘way of speaking’ into RP and then make an anagram of that. If only I knew how to post an image of a raspberry into this forum, I’d be posting you a whopper right now. And I can’t see the equivalence between “about” and “of”, though to be honest at this point I am past caring.

    Stevsie: Benefit is something like Charity’s middle name? (6)
    Def=Benefit; Cryptic Def = Something like charity (misleading capital)= NPO (Non PROFIT Organisation)
    You said it Stevsie: too many hoops. One of the tests of fair wordplay is that when you figure out the answer it clicks into place, and this just doesn’t. If someone happened to work out that maybe ‘charity’ means ‘Non Profit Organisation’ I suspect they would be left thinking ‘is that really what he meant?’ The problem is compounded because you are not actually changing the meaning of PROFIT – the idea in the wordplay is to take components in order to make something completely different from them, and that means that if you are going to give the word as a whole in the wordplay then it should be derived quite differently, such as a very different meaning of the word or a homophone with a completely different meaning, such as “prophet”.

    Bhavan: Able to ignore any nice perk (6) PROFI(-cien*)T
    perk =def; Able = Proficient; ignore = del ind; any nice = CIEN
    nice surface construction but I think the wordplay is flawed. The word ‘to’ is getting in the way of a proper grammatical construction and I can’t see how “any” is an anagram indicator, sorry… Also, is a perk the same thing as a profit? I think not.
    As Bhavan turns to leave the competition, Karen leans over and whispers: “you know, I do admire his creativity. He just needs to tighten up on the wordplay and he’ll do much better”

    That was a long list of losing clues. Where’s cutlp when you need him?

  41. Round three: make the definition something of value
    The next task is to define the word correctly and in a way that adds value to the clue.
    These clues were on the losing team:

    Gazza: Parson flirts occasionally to generate more interest (6)
    def: to generate more interest; odd letters of PaRsOn FlIrTs
    I do like this. In just 7 words Gazza conjures up this image of a parson willing to try anything to swell his congregation. But is ‘to generate more interest’ a fair definition of PROFIT? Regrettably, I think not.

    Qix: When turned, leads to tax income for overly rapacious politicians (6)
    Reversed initial letters, &lit.
    Don’t get me wrong Qix, I’m all for &lits, but I think you’re being a bit optimistic if you think this reads as a definition for ‘profit’. I’m sorry to see you go, but there can only be one winner – and this week at least, it’s not you.

    S T Sahasrabudhe: Opportunity cost for professor having sex (6)
    Definition = opportunity cost; PROF + IT
    The wordplay here is rather weak (professor = PROF is not exactly going to get people slapping their heads – gnomethang used ‘academic’ and that is much better) but the crucial weakness here is the definition: surely ‘opportunity cost’ is simply a cost and not a profit?
    And so, with the last of his clues despatched, ST picks up his bag and heads for the door. But as he does so, Nick leans across as says in a quiet voice, “isn’t he the one who sometimes used to trot out surface readings that hardly meant anything? Did you notice that all four were bang on this week? He certainly picked the right ones to submit, much stronger than the other ideas he posted. Mark my words: he’ll keep getting better.”

    Stevsie: Turn overturn over for turnover (6)
    A clue that’s a bit on the wild side – the surface reading certainly makes me raise my eyebrows – this sort of clue would, I think, fit well in the Independent.
    But I’m going to have to look a bit harder at that definition. Turnover, as any aspiring Apprentice should know, is sales, and that ain’t profit.

    Prolixic: Rips formatting apart to change these margins
    Compound anagram: (ripsformatting)*apart = (profit [these] margins) * change
    I’m surprised that you went for ‘these margins’ instead of ‘this margin’ – why? You had a great idea but the unnecessary use of plurals ruins it – even though ‘profit’ and ‘profits’ can be considered to be more or less synonymous, it is unfair on the solver to clearly signal that you want the plural version when the solution is the singular. Would have been shortlisted otherwise for a sophisticated wordplay and creative misdirection.

    Shyam: To a player like Sharapova, feminine appeal is a bonus (6)
    Please provide an explanation of the wordplay Shyam! However I got this easily enough as PRO + F + IT
    I really enjoyed this witty clue. The fluidity of F + IT linking to the definition is first-class. However I don’t think the definition is fair – in its financial sense, PROFIT means revenue minus costs, whereas “bonus” directly implies pure revenue. Also, although Sharapova is used as definition by example, I have an uneasy feeling about it – if told she was a definition by example I would be thinking of solutions like ‘’tennis pro”, “cutie-pie” or “tennis player” – you can’t help but to look for something more specific than just plain old PRO. Also IT is really a synonym for “sex appeal”, not just “appeal”.
    Finally (might as well put the boot in good and proper) the initial “to” has no place in the wordplay. Some words you can explain away (‘is a’ was fine as it is a connector) but not this one.

    General observation: I must admit that I was a bit disappointed that there only a few creative definitions of PROFIT this week. A few weeks ago we had ‘long thin grub’ in from the Penguin for SPAGHETTI (it came second) and I won last week with ‘juice flowing’ for CURRENT. I still fondly remember Anax winning with ‘World of Leather’ for DOMINATION (it’s also the name of a sofa retailer). Penfold’s ‘A piece of cake’ helped him win FACILE because the clue read like an incident in a tea shop. Moral: Start the clue-writing process with an idea for the definition, not the wordplay. If you want to avoid the judge’s job, stick with straight synonyms – otherwise, get your thinking cap on and come up with something more interesting

    Round four: Sell me a dummy
    So, you’ve got this far – well done – I’m going to have to make the next one a bit harder.
    The final task in the preliminary rounds is to put some element of surprise into the clue – something, anything, that is not what it seems to make the solution come as a surprise rather than a predictable plod.
    Here’s the two on the losing team for this one, both of which I shall be sorry to see go:

    Gnomethang: Short academic with sex appeal returns (6)
    PROF(essor) + IT (sex appeal). I am happy enough that returns in the plural can denote profit as a singular noun.
    It reads well, and I’m happy with the definition too. But it is a very straightforward solve – there’s nothing inherently wrong with being easy but I feel that some element of surprise or revelation is inherent in the enjoyment of a really good clue. PROF, IT and PROFIT are all relatively straight synonyms for their counterparts in the clue.

    Pepsib: Professional trained for killing (6)
    Def – killing; Professional – pro, trained – fit
    Succinct, with a strong visual image and deceptive twist to the definition, this is a super clue. The only weakness is that PRO is such a direct abbreviation for professional – the letters are all given to you. Contrast penguin’s avoidance of this problem with ‘lady of the night’ for PRO instead of the more obvious ‘prostitute’. He’s not being coy (this is the penguin after all) – he’s being deliberately indirect. Using a synonym for “professional” would have put you in serious danger of winning… perhaps, on reflection, you had spotted that? ;)

  42. The shortlist

    Here are the final six, all very good clues I think:
    Croque: Make money from gravy? (6)
    Gazza: What’s to be gained by foregoing half of chocolate dessert? (6)
    Axiom: Reward for lying about in bed (6)
    Boaz: Return for tip-off (6)
    Boaz: Maybe Jesus said ‘It’s no loss’? (6)
    Kororareka: Not against company leaving out item from accounts (6)

    These clues all have something going for them. I’m going to have to work harder to separate these, so they’ll be put through a gruelling series of cross-examinations to try to expose their weaknesses.

    Croque: Make money from gravy? (6)
    Double definition.
    We have a nice contrast between a formal definition and a slang one but apart from that the only material difference between these two definitions is that one is a verb and the other a noun, and these types of clues are weaker if the two definitions are not distinct (to be fair though, ‘gravy’ is used in a misleading way and so this helps). Contrast this with Koro’s “Place to park behind castle (4)” for SEAT and you will see what I mean.

    Gazza: What’s to be gained by foregoing half of chocolate dessert? (6)
    def: what’s to be gained; PROFIT(eroles)
    This one has a creative definition that blends very neatly with the surface reading and a good dollop of deception on the slide. Even though ‘eroles’ is an awful lot of letters to have removed from a component of the wordplay, I think everyone would be able to get ‘profiteroles’ easily if they were to guess the answer from checking letters.

    Axiom: Reward for lying about in bed (6)
    Def = reward; Lying about = reversal indicator; for = reversal fodder; In = container indicator; Bed = PIT; FOR > ROF in PIT = P-ROF-IT
    Another very well-constructed surface reading that sends the reader in completely the wrong direction, all derived from a perfectly fair wordplay.

    Boaz: Return for tip-off (6)
    Anagram clue. Good to see you here Boaz, even without the bagpuss costume! This clue is very well constructed, though there are some that would query the fairness of having fodder and anagrind in the same word – the hyphen marks the difference between what is acceptable and (sorry, Qix) what is not. In my book, at least. ‘Return’ is used in a nicely misleading way. I’m not hugely enthusiastic about anagram clues when non-anagram wordplay is available I must admit.

    Boaz: Maybe Jesus said ‘It’s no loss’? (6)
    Homophobe of prophet.
    This chap does rather like to stay away and then burst in with clues that shake everyone up. I think ‘Jesus’ is the only word here that can be taken the same way in the wordplay as in the surface, and the image the clue conjures is certainly amusing. I think the QM is unnecessary personally, as the thing you are alluding to is the direct opposite of loss. If I told you ‘I’m no oil painting’ then you’d get the message and would not need to rule out every possible other noun one by one.

    Kororareka: Not against company leaving out item from accounts (6)
    Not against = PRO, company leaving out= (out)FIT (leaving in the sense of abandoning) with def “item from accounts”
    This reads very well and actually has a definition that isn’t just a synonym, huzzah! Of all the items in a company’s accounts, PROFIT is one of the most prominent so I think this is a fair definition. Being very explicit about the letters to be removed from ‘outfit’ gives the solver a fighting chance.

  43. The Winners
    As you know, the prize for winning this contest is to judge the next one. Some might think that is a prize that you regret winning the moment you get it, but let’s be honest, it’s got to be better than working for Alan Sugar. So without further ado, here’s the podium:

    3rd: Kororareka: Not against company leaving out item from accounts (6)
    I loved the definition.

    2nd: Axiom: Reward for lying about in bed (6)
    Excellent surface reading.

    But the winner this week, whose advantage over the runner-up was the elegant deception involved, is:
    Boaz: Maybe Jesus said ‘It’s no loss’? (6)

    Additional comment:
    One of the things we have kicked around in the past few weeks has been people commenting in the open forum about each others’ clues. I always preferred PMs myself but with this setup we have no choice. This week, Shyam and Qix chimed in with simple, quick comments that were intended to help their friends/rivals and I thought these were very much in the right spirit – nothing that might influence the judge, and not enough to clutter up the forum. But you may have other views on the clues that you have held back; you may also disagree with the judging (and I have also had PMs on that in the past, which I felt were helpful to both me and the person passing comment.) So, I would like to invite you all to make whatever comments you like about the fairness or otherwise of the judging, and if you challenge me on my write-up we can debate it, and all will have the opportunity to learn without interfering with the judging process.

  44. I forgot to say ‘well done Boaz’. So here goes: well done Boaz! and good luck next week.

  45. Congrats to Boaz, and thanks, dram, for your typically entertaining and educational judging.

    And thanks too for awarding me 2nd place, my best so far. You are right of course about my other clue – possibly my worst so far! I don’t know what came over me.

    Raspberry blushingly accepted . . .

  46. Whoop whoop! Many. many congratulations to Dram for such excellent judgage there. I know DIYCOW has some excellent judges, but I look forward to Dram’s more than anyone else’s, but you have surpassed yourself this week, sir.

    Except for the final result, obviously. Such well reasoned commentary spoiled at the end by not placing Axiom’s excellent clue in it’s deserved first place. Personally I had it pegged as clue of the week by a country mile, but there you go, them’s the eggs as they say.

    Right ho, next week’s challenge up in a mo!

  47. Thanks to dram for his usual excellent forensic dissection of the clues and his very entertaining comments, and congratulations to Boaz on a well-deserved win.
    Since dram has invited us to comment I’d like to discuss the use of negatives to clue a word. I’m thinking specifically of Koro’s use of “not against” to get to “pro”. I’m not convinced that “not against” means the same as “for” or “pro”, just as I don’t think that “not short” means tall or “not bad” means good.I’d be interested in the views of dram and others.

    • Interesting Q Gazza.
      I have a few things in mind when considering whether a definition is sound (though I make no claim of expertise, it’s just a personal view).
      1) could you construct a sentence in which the definition and the word it defines can be used interchangeably
      2) does the definition lead to a manageable number of possible (or likely) answers
      3) when you know the answer, can you see that it makes sense
      So I allowed the negative definitions (so long as we are referring to the direct opposite of the word required) as they met these (home-made) requirements.
      But I’m certainly open to other views on this.

    • I think that defining a word in terms of it not being its opposite is an abomination and must be stamped out. Won’t somebody think of the children in these cases?

      • As a friend of mine was wont to say “either you believe in the law of the excluded middle or you don’t”.

        I once tried the same device out in The Times clue of the month and the judge wasn’t absolutely enamoured of it, despite my protestation that it was definition by litotes. I’m prepared to accept its contentiousness and indeed my particular clue could easily have been couched “In favour of company etc” without losing much but a shade or two of nuance. Mind you, it’s those two shades we’re arguing about.

        Oh, and welcome back to the winners’ rostrum, Boaz, and many thanks to Dram for his extensive commentary.

  48. Thanks to dram for the judging, and congrats to Boaz on the top spot.

  49. Thanks dram for your excellent judging and encouraging words. Congrtats Boaz and Axiom for your clever clues.

  50. Any chance you could expand on the criticism of STS’s apostrophes (snake’s and beginner’s) because they seemed ok to us, especially for the surface where they denoted ownership? Thanks

    • If I may butt in, ‘snake’ being an intransitive verbal anagrind, it should follow the fodder in third person singular form. So, something like, ‘Advantage for snakes inside pit’ would have been fine. For a more detailed discussion of verbal anagrinds, see http://www.crosswordunclued.com/2009/11/verbal-anagrammar.html

      As far as ‘beginners’ goes, the clue expands to “‘fodder’ ‘beginner’ is” – which is not a grammatical construction to extract the first letters. I am unsure of dram’s comment, but usually he would have expected something like “beginners of ‘fodder’”.

      Fine, dram?

      • I agree with Shyam’s first paragraph (and the article referenced is excellent), although this does not address the apostrophe question.

        So on that: an apostrophe can indicate possession, or an abbreviation for ‘is’ or ‘has’. It can mean different things in the surface and the wordplay, but it cannot simply be ignored. I suppose you could parse it as ‘Inside pit f o r snake is return’ but I’m with Tony Le in feeling that a single word must be treated as a single item for the purposes of conjugating the verb.

        Regarding beginners, again you can treat the ‘s in the wordplay as meaning a) possesses, b) has or c) is, but you have to pick one of these three. Without the apostrophe I would have been fine with the wordplay (no need for of) but then the surface is meaningless. I had a fiddle with this and got
        Poor results often figures in teaching beginners what bosses want (6)
        … it’s not very good but I think it is technically fair

        By the way, congrats again to ST for picking easily his best 4 ideas and creating four good surface readings.

  51. Hi dram! Thanks for your judgment that was as detailed as ever, even in a forum that allows little formatting. I found this word quite tough and in the end, never got going.

    Congrats Boaz. I am sure there’s going to be a lot of fun next week with your word choice.

  52. Jeepers! A top six finish?! Merci beaucoup!

  53. Hi Dram thanks once again for your excellent judging, I did think of putting in a synonym in my one and only submission this week, but couldn’t think of one that would come up with the right ‘visual’ effect for a trained killer! I like to make them a bit ‘easy’ to solve for people like myself :-D, well done Boaz haven’t looked at your ‘challenge’ yet, just arrived back from a few days away

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