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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.
Posted by Andy Brown on 26 May 2020
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Finding beauty in (and explaining) cryptic crossword clues
I've been doing the Times cryptic crossword since I was a child, and it remains for me the wittiest puzzle published today.
A couple of years ago or so I published a blog on my 12 best Times crossword clues of the last 5 years. I thought I'd revisit the topic with clues from the last 30 months, but this time in the following categories:
|Anagrams||Clues which instruct you to jumble a group of letters to form the answer.|
|Construction||Clues where you have to put the answer together from different components.|
|Cryptic definitions||Clues which give you the answer, but only if you read the clue in a certain way.|
|Double meanings||Clues which generously give you two definitions of the answer, although again only if you read them in the correct way.|
|&Lit clues||Clues which not only give you a definition of the answer, but also the cryptic wordplay to construct it|
|Hidden clues||Clues which hide the letters of the answer inside themselves.|
|Sound clues||Clues which suggest how a word sounds when pronounced.|
I'll give a few of my favourite clues in each category from the last two and a half years of Times crosswords, and explain in each case which clue I've chosen as my category favourite (and why).
Don't be put off if the above doesn't make complete sense. I'll explain each type of clue as we come to it! My aim is just to share my love of clever cryptic crosswords with you - I hope you find as much enjoyment in the clues in this blog as I did.