The Telegraph
Saturday , January 11 , 2014
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Down-&-across brain teasers

School students can now earn laurels by wracking their brains and using their vocabulary to solve cryptic crosswords.

Extra C, a city-based civil society initiative, would provide them the platform a first-of-its-kind online national-level competition.

Christened “A Clue A Day (ACAD)”, the contest aims to inculcate the cryptic crossword solving hobby among school students. Interested candidates, including students and others, can register themselves on from January 14. But answers of entrants other than students would not be considered for prizes.

Cryptic crosswords are different from general crosswords. While solutions of general crosswords happen to be the meaning of the word/phrase given in the clue or are general knowledge-based at times, in case of cryptic crosswords, the clues are hidden in the hint and the answer, often camouflaged in longer word chains or in the form of puzzles.

Sharing details of the format of the competition, Extra C director (co-ordination) Kushagra Singh said: “Each day, one clue would be posted on the website at 3.30pm. Participants can send in their entries till 3pm the next day. The daily winner would be selected randomly through a computerised system from all correct entries.”

Heaping praise on the initiative, Don Bosco Academy principal Mary Alphonsa said: “At a time when many school students spend time watching TV and playing video games, which hardly add to their knowledge, such a competition would give them the opportunity to harness their analytical skills and enrich their vocabulary as well.”

She said the school would encourage its students to take part in the competition.

Not only teachers, even students, who have a zeal to test their crossword-solving skills and learn new things were happy to know about the competition.

“My interest for solving the crosswords developed when I saw my father taking part in the Indian Crossword League. I would definitely take part in the event and register myself on the very first day,” said Swadha Chandra, a Class V student of Notre Dame Academy.

To ensure that only genuine students get the prize, those would be sent to the schools concerned.

“Apart from ensuring the genuineness of the winner, the distribution of prize through the school authorities would help generate awareness about the cryptic crosswords, which not only enhances the analytical power of students but would also help them enrich their vocabulary,” said Singh. He added: “Initiating kids into crossword solving at a young age helps improve their efficacy in curricular as well as extra-curricular activities.”