Another cryptic crossword clue, maybe harder than the last one: though I normally get it wrong trying to predict how easy/hard clues are.

Biggest deep water hole gives light solution [7]

  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil I am not surprised you figured it out, but I am surprised a little if the wordplay is not obvious, which makes me worry that your answer is not correct - so if you post your answer as an answer I can let you know if you are going in the right direction. $\endgroup$ – tom Mar 28 '18 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure the definition works. You're using a verb to define a noun that does that verb - that's like saying "is hot" to define SUN, which would clearly not be acceptable in a traditional crossword, so it wouldn't be acceptable in a cryptic as a definition either. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Mar 28 '18 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi - sorry I am not sure I follow your argument. It is hard to discuss without spoilers abosolutely everywhere... so I will put in an answer with why I think this clue does work and doesn't have a noun-verb problem - BUT I really appreciate the feedback and if you wanted to comment here or below when I put the answer in I would appreciate that -- I'm just learning... $\endgroup$ – tom Mar 29 '18 at 9:21



"Biggest" = MAX
"deep water hole" = WELL
The equations describing light as propagation of electromagnetic waves ("gives light solution") were derived by James Clark MAXWELL.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't really like that def. That clue deserves a question mark at the end. $\endgroup$ – Sid Mar 28 '18 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ great job, well done::-) $\endgroup$ – tom Mar 28 '18 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid - not sure why question mark is appropriate? But then you probably know the etiquette of cryptic clues better - can you explain why? $\endgroup$ – tom Mar 28 '18 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think it needs a question mark. But then, I'm probably not a good judge of how obscure Maxwell is to a general audience. $\endgroup$ – Rupert Morrish Mar 28 '18 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @tom Deusovi has explained what I was concerned about with that def. $\endgroup$ – Sid Mar 29 '18 at 6:40

I realize this probably doesn't really fit the format hinted at in the last problem. Nevertheless, I'm thinking:



The Mariana Trench (in particular the Challenger Deep) is the deepest point on Earth's seabed (though as the Wikipedia article points out, in terms of depth below sea level at that point, not in terms of closest point to the Earth's center). As such, it would be very dark because of water absorbing light - so if light were a "problem" for you, the Mariana trench could be a "solution" (if not a very practical one for humans). And the name does have 7 letters.

  • $\begingroup$ nice answer +1, but not correct, sorry. $\endgroup$ – tom Mar 28 '18 at 21:20

so I want to put something in a discussion to explain the answer a little bit more than it is already described in the answers - but I have to do this in an answer to prevent spoilers...

So taking 'Biggest deep water hole gives light solution [7]' we replace Biggest by Max and 'deep water hole' by well and we get 'Maxwell gives light solution', which is noun verb noun noun (or could be noun verb adjective noun), which I think works -- because Maxwell's equations give the solution to the electromagnetic wave that is light ans so Maxwell gives light solution. ---- note the clue is also written like this because solution could also be a liquid and earlier in the clue we have 'deep water hole' so although it is a 'red herring' it makes sort of sense that a solution (or liquid) might come from a deep water hole. I think this is a bit of a tradition with cryptic clues to make them have a meaning completely unrelated to the actual answer. BUT PLEASE COMMENT if you think I have got this wrong or have another opinion.

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    $\begingroup$ You are right in that the surface reading is often used to disguise the actual answer, but the point Deusove made in the comment above is that "gives light solution" does not properly define Maxwell. "He found light solution" or "discoverer of light solution" would. As it is, the def could be either "gives light solution" and the answer should be a 3rd-person verb in present tense, or "gives" could just be joining def and answer; the answer would then be a noun or noun phrase meaning "solution". $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Mar 29 '18 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ It is okay, though, to use a word as def that is used differently from how it is used in the surface reading. For example you could define soar as "fly" and have a clue that talks about an insect. But the rule ist that the grammar of definition and answer must agree. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Mar 29 '18 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MOehm - many thanks for the useful comments - a question here .... if it was 'gave light solution' would that be ok? I appreciate you taking the time to write these helpful comments. $\endgroup$ – tom Mar 29 '18 at 23:05

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