Unexciting story gets mark for length (4)Solution – tame
This is an example of a substitution clue.
Substitution clues involve not only deleting some letters but also adding some in their place ie making a substitution. They generally can be broken up into these parts:
Definition of the word that is going to be played around with by substitution of letters
The hint as to what letters should be removed
The hint as to what letters should be added
The indicator that there is a substitution involved.
The definition for the solution.
First look for the indicators that you are dealing with a substitution clue. They can be well camouflaged. Those crossword setters like to be devious with these.
Generally the substitution is of only 1 or 2 letters. So the word that is played around with and the solution often share much the same spelling.
The definition of the word that is going to be played around with is “story”
The indicator that a substitution is involved is “gets”
The hint for what is removed and added is “gets mark for length”. So you put “m” for Mark in place of “l” for length.
A story = tale
Putting an M in instead of the L you get tame = unexciting
This is also an example of the use of abbreviations. For a more detailed discussion about abbreviations in cryptic crosswords, see the sidebar under the StumbleUpon button.