How Do Cryptic Crosswords Work?

How do you solve cryptic crosswords?

Beginner’s guide to solving cryptic crosswordsRead the clue.

Then read it backwards.

Think about the rest of the clue.

The part of the clue that is not the definition is known as the subsidiary indicator.

Harden your heart against the setter’s siren charms.

Repeat step three.

Look at the number of letters.

Solve the damn thing .



What is a cryptic person?

(adjective) being beyond one’s powers to know, understand, or explain. (adjective) having an often intentionally veiled or uncertain meaning. (adjective) having a secret or hidden meaning.

What does reportedly mean in cryptic crossword?

‘Sounds like’ – giving clues to words that sound like the answer, or part of it. Words or phrases to indicate this include ‘we hear’ and ‘reportedly’ ‘Single letter’ – indicates individual letters (not always indicators – could just be the letter itself, particularly in the case of ‘a’).

What do exclamation marks mean in cryptic crosswords?

However, as with all cryptic ‘rules’, there will be times when the setter ignores them and uses ellipsis marks as their inventor intended! Sometimes an exclamation mark will be used to indicate that you should be looking for a (bad) pun and a question mark may suggest that the answer will include a ‘Y’ (why?).

What do numbers mean in cryptic crosswords?

Cryptic clues are followed by a number or numbers in parentheses indicating the length of the answer: (5) means it’s a five-letter word, while (2,3,4) indicates a three-word phrase like “in the know.”

What does Sailor mean in cryptic crosswords?

“Sailor” for AB, abbreviation of able-bodied. “Take” for R, abbrshwwhuejeejuweviation of the Latin word recipe, meaning “take”.

Which newspaper has the easiest cryptic crossword?

The easiest is the Everyman in the Observer, I’d think, but the Sunday Telegraph is very accessible too. The Independent on Sunday is usually not too difficult, though a little harder than the other two.

What does maybe mean in cryptic crosswords?

Hidden talent, maybe (6) ‘talent maybe’ is the wordplay. ‘maybe’ indicates anagramming the letters. ‘talent’ is an anagram of ‘LATENT’.

What is a cryptic crossword?

A cryptic crossword is a crossword puzzle in which each clue is a word puzzle in and of itself. … Compilers of cryptic crosswords are commonly called “setters” in the UK.

What does Spooner mean in cryptic crosswords?

If you have ever tackled a cryptic crossword you will have come across the name Spooner or the term spoonerism for a clue where initial letters are swapped e.g. ‘fight the liar’ for ‘light the fire’. … Spooner was an albino and as such, suffered from defective eyesight.

What do numbers after crossword clues mean?

Here’s a clue, for example: “Stares at torn pages (5).” (Numbers in parentheses following a clue are a conventional notation in British puzzles and indicate the number of letters in the answer, saving you the bother of counting squares in the diagram.)

What does cryptic mean?

mysterious in meaning; puzzling; ambiguous: a cryptic message. abrupt; terse; short: a cryptic note. secret; occult: a cryptic writing. involving or using cipher, code, etc.

How do you get good at crosswords?

6 tips that will help you master crossword puzzles from the national championStart off with easier puzzles. … Try to learn a little of everything. … Google is your friend. … Start with the blanks. … Recognize words that appear over and over. … Stay cool.

What is the difference between a spoonerism and a malapropism?

A spoonerism is a verbal mistake in which the initial consonant sounds of two words are transposed, often to comedic effect. … A malapropism is the verbal mistake in which a word is substituted with another word that sounds similar but means something entirely different, often to comedic effect.

How do cryptic crossword puzzles work?

Every cryptic clue includes a straight definition of the answer, just like in a ‘regular’ crossword. … Most cryptic clues run along the lines of this formula: Definition + Wordplay = Answer, or Wordplay + Definition = Answer. The definition may be a straight synonym, or a more oblique reference to the answer.

Are cryptic crosswords good for your brain?

In conclusion our research has shown that cryptic crosswords can help improve cognitive functioning in later life, which might not be the case for general knowledge crosswords. Overall the take-home message is continue doing the cryptic crosswords, even if they are a struggle!

What do question marks mean in crosswords?

Hi Sharon – This is a common practice in American style crossword puzzles. The question mark is intended to warn you that the answer relies on some wordplay, so that the clue shouldn’t be taken too literally. … The word ‘End’ in a crossword clue is often used to mean ‘can be added to the end of’.