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Established May 1992
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30 years in business
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Finding beauty in (and explaining) cryptic crossword clues
Part eight of a nine-part series of blogs

Cryptic crossword clues can be ingenious and witty, as this blog tries to explain. The blog tries to convey this owl's passion for the genre, but also to give a mini-tutorial on how cryptic crosswords clues are constructed.

  1. Finding beauty in (and explaining) cryptic crossword clues
  2. Anagrams
  3. Construction clues
  4. Cryptic definitions
  5. Double meaning clues
  6. Lit clues
  7. Hidden clues
  8. Soundalike clues (this blog)
  9. The overall winner

Posted by Andy Brown on 26 May 2020

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Soundalike clues

These are difficult clues to get right, as the wordplay has to sound exactly the same as the definition (in too many clues in this category the sound is similar only).

Because of this, I've only managed to include two of these clues from the last two and a half years.


The clue for this was:

Report of outstanding au pair (3)

Why duo?  Well:

  • If a bill is outstanding, it's due;
  • The word au speaks for itself (almost literally).

And if you verbally report on the words DUE-AU you get DUO, meaning a pair!


My winner in this category is the following beautifully simple clue:

Sound of discharging weapon (3)

The aim of any clue is to read like a normal English phrase.  This is a perfectly plausible surface reading, but the sound of OOZY is also (helpfully) UZI.

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