Friday, March 04, 2005

Solving Cryptic Crossword

Solving Cryptic Crossword puzzles are easy if you know the tricks of the game. Lately I have developed a keen interest in them and have actually become quite good in spotting the clues. Let me show you how I solved one of puzzles that I found here. To appreciate each clue, first read the clue, think for a minute, and then look at the explaination.


1. Speaker prepared to roar (6)
The word prepared hints that there is a anagram in the clue. to roar is anagram of ORATOR, which is another word for speaker.

4. Fashion designer going round cold part of church (7)
Going round hints that a fashion designer is outside a part of the word cold. CHANEL is a fashion designer. C is part of the word cold. Putting C in CHANEL gives CHANCEL which is a church.

9. Self-indulgent life of dolt upset by musical (5,4)
Upset hints that the word dolt has to be modified. by means that it is next to a musical. DOLC is modified form of dolt. EVITA is a musical. Place them next to each other, and we get DOLCE VITA which is a self-indulgent way of life.

10. German painter in a southern state (5)
The word in means that there is a German painter to be found in the words southern state. ERNST is made up from last 3 letters of southern and first 2 letters from state.

11. Increase fuss about outskirts of Detroit (3,2)
ADO is another word for fuss. Outskirts of Detroit means that we should take first and last letter of Detroit - DT. ADO about DT gives - ADD TO, which means to increase.

12. Disorder outside is undermining the state (9)
Disorder means that there is an anagram in the clue. Anagram of outside is is SEDITIOUS, which means undermining the state.

13. Careful to take break in your old environment (7)
The words old enviroment hints that there is old english involved in this clue. THY is the old form of your. A word for break is in between the word THY. RIFT means break and putting it in THY gives THRIFTY, which means careful.

15. Dormant snake outside shelter (6)
ASP is a snake. LEE means shelter. Putting ASP outside LEE, gives ASLEEP, which means dormant.

17. Treacle almost ruined wine (6)
Ruined hints that there is an anagram. The word almost hints that we have to take the complete word Treacle but without the last letter E. Solving the anagram treacl gives us CLARET which is a kind of wine.

19. Courage demonstrated by constraining one who is uninhibited (7)
The word constraining hints that the word by is holding a word for one who is uninhibited. RAVER means someone who is uninhibited. Putting it in BY gives BRAVERY, which means courage.

22. Dance in Spooner's very cold prison (9)
BITTER means very cold. JUG means prison. Spooner means modify BITTER and put in JUG. Putting ITTERB in JUG gives JITTERBUG, which is a form of dance.

24. A humorous writer or two (5)
John Wain is a writer. Mark Twain is another humorous writer. So there are two writers in TWAIN.

26. Bolt I have inserted in right frame (5)
I have can also be written as I'VE. The word frame means that we have to take the first and the last letter of the word right - RT. Inserting IVE in RT gives Rivet, which means bolt.

27. Revealing depravity, Dick the highwayman does not finish playing duet (9)
Dick Turpin was an English highwayman. Turpin does not finish means the word is TURPI. Playing hints anagram. Anagram of duet is TUDE. TURPITUDE means depravity.

28. Bear with a blemish following us around (7)
STAIN is another word for blemish. Us around means that the word us has to be inverted - SU. STAIN following SU gives SUSTAIN, which means to bear.

29. In France I must have mostly Welsh gems (6)
The word I in france is written as JE. The words mostly Welsh hint that we have to take most of the words from Welsh, and not all - WELS. Putting them together, JEWELS means gems.


1. Auto manufacturer meeting a lieutenant in "The Ancient Mariner"? (3,4)
OLDS was an American auto manufacturer. Short for lieutenant is LT. So OLDS meeting A LT, gives OLD SALT, which means an ancient mariner or, in other words, an old sailor.

2. Was sick girl set up? (5)
Delia is a name of a girl. Set up hints that we have to invert Delia to give AILED, which means was sick.

3. State fair without a tree (6,3)
OREGON is a state. Fair without a means we need to remove the letter A from fair - FIR. OREGON FIR is a tree.

4. Name of girl getting praise in secret service (7)
LAUD is another word for praise. CIA is a secret service. LAUD in CIA gives - CLAUDIA, which is a name of a girl.

5. A male representative (5)
GENT means male. A GENT together will give us AGENT, which means representative.

6. Chinese are able to sound extremely subtle (9)
CAN means able. Nice means extremely subtle. NESE sounds like nice. So CAN to NESS gives us CANTONESE, which is a Chinese language.

7. Most recent West Coast city trial (6)
LA is a West Coast City. TEST means trial. Putting them together gives LATEST, which means most recent.

8. Ruth's written about Gilbert and Sullivan overtures with a pen (6)
Ruth means PITY. Overtures means introduction to something. Introduction to Gilbert and Sullivan means the first letter of each word - GS. PITY written about GS give us PIGSTY, which is a pen.

14. Terribly versatile family (9)
Terribly hints that versatile is an anagram. RELATIVES is anagram of versatile, and it means family.

16. By no means the cleverest, anyway (9)
By no means the cleaverest means somebody who is not clever. Somebody who is not WISE. Or somebody who is LEAST WISE. Putting it together gives us LEASTWISE, which means anyway.

18. Be embraced by a giant like the Dalai Lama (7)
TITAN means a giant. Be embraced by TITAN means that the word BE is inside the word TITAN. TIBETAN is a native of Tibet, like Dalai Lama.

19. Encircle damaged bridge (6)
Damaged is hinting that the word bridge is an anagram. Solving it gives us BEGIRD, which means encircle.

20. Americans look for no revolution (7)
SEEK means look for. NAY means no. Revolution hints that we have to invert SEEK NAY. This gives us YANKEES, which means Americans.

21. Jack gets in cars - they're found on the Norwegian coast (6)
J is short for Jack in cards. FORDS are cars. So J gets in FORDS will give us FJORDS, which are long narrow inlets found on the Norwegian coast.

23. Spare part in Oedipus Rex, tragically (5)
The words part in here hints that the answer is boken and is to be found in the words Oedipus Rex tragically. EX is from the last 2 letter of Rex, and TRA is from the first 3 letters from tragically. EXTRA means Spare.

25. Entertain one of nine daughters of Mnemosyne (5)
One means A. MUSE is the daughter of Mnemosyne. AMUSE means entertain.

Here's the complete solution in the grid:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've only glanced at this page, but some of your explanations are wrong. e.g. 13: "old" means Old English but "environment" is the position indicator, i.e. "in [your,old] environment". 24: has nothing to do with Wain; the word "twain" means two, as in "never the twain shall meet".