Sandwich Men

Sandwich Men

Advertising container clues


A standard type of cryptic clue is the “container” or “sandwich” clue. The basic idea is to define an inside string of letters (the cheese), and an outside string of letters (the roll). Consider the following example:
   AEROSOL  Internet pioneer concealing love for antiperspirant, maybe (7)

The cryptic reading of the clue is “AOL concealing EROS.” The indicator that this entry has a sandwich structure is the word “concealing.” The format of the clue is essentially “the roll contains the cheese,” or, what the heck, let’s use algebraic notation: “X contains Y.” Other indicators along these lines are “X about Y,” “X around Y,” “X assuming Y,” “X includes Y,” and so on. You can find examples using these indicators in our first post about this type of clue.

Language being what it is, it is also possible to describe a sandwich in the opposite direction: “the cheese is in the roll,” or “Y is inside X,” as in the following example:
   ACTED UP  Nugent, splitting a mug, misbehaved (5,2)
This time, the cryptic reading is “TED splitting A CUP,” and the indicator is “splitting.”

In the above examples, synonyms lead to the inside and outside strings. Of course, there is no reason to always be that straightforward. Sandwich clues can be combined with other sorts of wordplay to create either the bun, or the cheese, or both. Here are some examples:

• Using an initial letter:
   ARMRESTS   What some chairs have: collars restricting movement at first (8)
(M is “movement at first”; “restricting” is the sandwich indicator)

• Using the first and last letter:
   AVENGER  The Hulk, for instance, or his defining characteristic: suppressing external
   manifestations of violence (7)
(V and E are the first and last letters of “violence”; “suppressing” is the sandwich indicator)

• Using an abbreviation:
   ABYSS  A shortstop buried near a hole (5)
(SS is an abbreviation for “shortstop”; “buried” is the sandwich indicator)

• Using a reversal:
   ACT LIKE  Imitate one holding back Scotsman’s garment (3,4)
(KILT is reversed; “holding” is the sandwich indicator)

   AEROBES  They need oxygen when dress is engulfed by receding water (7)
(SEA is reversed; “engulfed by” is the sandwich indicator)

• Using an anagram, which is probably the most common combination:
   ALLEGORIST   Storyteller is perverse ogler, captivated by elite group (10)
(OGLER is anagrammed; “captivated by” is the sandwich indicator)

   AFTERMATH  Fatah reconsidered limiting tenure as a consequence (9)
(FATAH is anagrammed; “limiting” is the sandwich indicator)

   ABSOLUTELY  LA boys irresponsibly smuggling instrument? Yes! (10)
(LA BOYS is anagrammed; “smuggling” is the sandwich indicator)

Let us end this tutorial with clues that combine a sandwich structure with more than one additional bits of wordplay. Can you spot the sandwich indicator in each clue?
   APPEALS  Cries out, horribly pale, amid rising waters (7)
   ASHTRAYS  Originally, aunt goes wrong collecting hot receptacles (8)
   BATGIRL  Crime fighter and soldier interrupting spoiled brat at first hint of lawbreaking (7)
   BECALM  Immobilize BMW, mostly, with string running back through it (6)

This week’s cluing challenge: NUTSHELL. To comment (and see other readers’ comments), please click on this post’s title and scroll to the bottom of the resulting screen. And now, four links:
• The current puzzle
• Our puzzle-solving guidelines | PDF
• Our e-books (solve past puzzles on your iOS device—many hints provided by the software!)
• A Nation puzzle solver’s blog where every one of our clues is explained in detail. This is also where you can post quibbles, questions, kudos or complaints about the current puzzle, as well as ask for hints.

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