What is a Cryptic?
A cryptic crossword provides cryptic clues for the answers. A cryptic clue is assembled from two parts one, the straightforward definition of the answer, and two, a definition which uses wordplay. These parts may come in either order. Finding the divide between them is a big help. The fact that the entire clue makes some sense is often only a distraction.
Types of Wordplay
1. Anagrams. All or part of the answer may have scrambled letters. A word in the clue will indicate a mixup.
Example: Beginner with no garbled voice. (No abbr. + voice anagram = NOVICE). The passive word with divides the two parts of the clue.
2. Containers. A word may be hidden inside a word or phrase.
Example: Lizas idea conceals a stage secret. (Lizas idea contains ASIDE).
3. Homophones. The wordplay answer sounds like the straight answer.
Example: Music heard in kids animation. (TOON)
4. Second Definition.
Example: A far cry from a Drakes delicacy. (YODEL).
5. Charades. Assemble the answer by adding or removing pieces. These come in many types. Two of them are:
a. Initials. Use the first letters of the words in a phrase.
Example: New wrinkle every first of February, April, and December. (FAD).
Example: Prohibition pertains to barn right away. (BARN R = BAN).
6. Reversals. Answers will be obtained from other words heading right-to-left or rising.
Example: [Down clue] Bash the Left always coming up. (L+EVER, rising, is REVEL).
and finally, be on the look out for
7. Miscellaneous. Example: No holds barred in Porters song, 2 wds. (ANYTHINGGOES)
An Example Mini-Cryptic
Across Down 1 Tree grows in Altoonas penitentiary. 1 Destination of suitor sounds like instruction to suiter. 4 Enricos part perfect or ...? 2 Spend crazy and result awaits. 5 ODonnell gets Spains OK to inject fish eggs. 3 Eric was right on the nose.
1 The clue contains ASPEN.
4 Caruso sings TENOR (ten + or).
5 ROSIE (si inside roe).
1 Alter sounds like ALTAR.
2 Anagram spend for PENDS.
3 Put right on nose for NORSE.
Cryptics are prized by solvers who want tough challenges. Youll find that, after a slow start, you improve with every clue type that you experience. Oh yes, they give you lots of chuckles too. Try one.
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