I’ve scripted this topic in the form of a conversation between you, the reader and me, the author. Your part of the conversation is mentioned in blue.
Me: Here is a clue
That chap has come of age, he can govern (6)
You: On reading this clue, what should we do?
Me: Think of an answer. There are a few ground rules to be followed for getting the answer.
Answer is always a word or phrase. (For now, let’s consider it as a single word)
No. of letters comprising the answer is always mentioned in parenthesis at the end of the clue. (In this case, it is a 6 letter word)
Answer is always a meaning or synonym of a part of the clue.
You: Meaning or synonym of “a part of the clue” How do I identify this part?
Let us name this part of the clue as “Question”. The challenge lies in identifying the Question. Generally, it is either at the beginning or end of the clue. It can be a single word or a string of words. But for now, let us consider it ‘to be learnt with experience’.
You: What is the purpose of the remaining part of the clue?
Me: Remaining part of the clue is used to get the answer. It also helps in pinning down that specific word in case of more than one possible answer.
Let me name this part of the clue as “Help”. We need to use “Help” to get the answer.
Let us recall the clue “That chap has come of age, he can govern (6)”
Let us assume that the word “govern” is the Question. We need to take the help of remaining part of the clue “That chap has come of age, he can” and get the answer. In this part of the clue, we need to pick up two words. For one of the two words, we need to think of a synonym. The 2nd word has to be anagrammed with the synonym of the 1st word to create a new word. This new word should be a synonym of “govern”.
You: Which are those two words?
Me: “chap” and “age”.
You: Which of these two words has to be anagrammed with the synonym of the 2nd word?
You: Ok. So, I’ve to think of synonyms for chap, right?
Me: Right. But, the synonym for chap has to be a 3 lettered word only.
Me: Because, answer is a 6 letter word. The word “AGE” is part of the answer. So you are left with only 3 letters.
You: Oh yeah! Ok, synonyms for chap (3 letter word) can be LAD, BOY, MAN
Me: Good! Now, which of these words can be anagrammed with “AGE” to get a new word? Remember, this new word must be a synonym of “govern”
You: Let’s say it’s LAD + AGE = LADAGE. Does it make sense…No!
Let’s say it’s BOY + AGE = BOYAGE. Does it make sense…No!
So it has to be MAN + AGE = MANAGE which can also mean “govern”.
So, MANAGE is the Answer! Hey!!
Me: Great! Now, in this type of clue, the answer is a combination of synonym and anagram. Let us call this type of clue as Clue Type “D”
Summary of General Ground Rules for Cryptic Clue Type “D”
Answer is always a word or phrase.
No. of letters comprising the answer is always mentioned in parenthesis at the end of the clue.
Answer is always the meaning / synonym of a part of the clue.
Answer is derived by using remaining part of the clue.
“Part of the clue” can mean either single words or a phrase. It is not always necessary that all words in a Cryptic Clue have to be used to get the answer.
Hint for Clue Type “D”: Answer is a combination of synonym and anagram.
(Note: You can try assuming other words in the clue as “Question”. Take the help of rest of the clue and adopt the same method of Synonym-Anagram combination to get the answer. This way, you can cross check if our assumption of considering “chap” and “age” is correct or not)