I was doing crossword from NY Times, from Mon, Feb 11, 2019 by Howard Barkin + Will Shortz and I got the following clue.

Went after

The answer is "HADAT". However, I can not find definition for HADAT that fits the clue. Various links (ex. reference) shows me this is a common word used in crosswords.

Why is the answer "HADAT and how does the clue "went after" fit?


I think the answer is actually 'Had at' - as in 'had a go at (attack) (someone)', which would mean you 'went after' them.

The word 'hadat' itself isn't a word, but putting 'had' and 'at' together will give you the answer.

  • $\begingroup$ mmhm. For reasons like this very example, I enjoy the nytimes crosswords. $\endgroup$ – Stian Yttervik Jan 20 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ Did the clue say (5) or (3,2) ? These indicate that it's a five letter word, or a three+two letter words $\endgroup$ – CSM Jan 20 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ @CSM the OP doesn’t say, but I presume from knowing this is the intended answer it would have been 3,2 $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jan 20 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ @CSM: NYT crosswords (and American crosswords more generally) don't provide word lengths in the clues. $\endgroup$ – Michael Seifert Jan 20 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ UK crosswords generally do provide the lengths; I thought this was standard international practice. It seems I was mistaken in my assumptions. $\endgroup$ – CSM Jan 20 at 16:01

The accepted answer explains this in terms of a four word expression, but that's not really necessary:

From the American Heritage Dictionary
have at

Attack; also, make an attempt at. For example, Urging the dog on, he said, “Go on, Rover, have at him,” or It's time to have at straightening out these files.

This is commonly used in the exhortation "have at it" which is another way of saying "go for it"

  • $\begingroup$ I think 'have at' is just a shortened version of 'have a go at' but yes this is the same idea $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jan 20 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil "Have at" is definition 27b for "have (v.)" in the OED, with citations dating back to 1400. "Have a go at" might be a more modern variation of it. $\endgroup$ – chepner Jan 20 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ Scrolled down to find this comment; this should be top IMO. "Have at it" is much closer than "Have a go at it" in terms of what the clue's looking for $\endgroup$ – Joe Jan 20 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil "have at" significantly predates "have a go at" $\endgroup$ – Kevin Jan 20 at 16:10

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