Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cryptic Crosswords: Step by Step

A lot of people end up not trying cryptic crosswords at all. You don’t need to be proficient in general knowledge to solve the clues, but you have to spend some time to learn the rules. Cryptic crosswords involve a lot of signaling and misdirection. Unlike the straight crosswords, which are really popular in the US, cryptic crosswords are more like English-language puzzles.

I have an uncle who is really, really good at cryptic crosswords. Not only does he solve several a day, he has also started taking the time (every Sunday) to hand-create the grid, include all the clues and provide progressively easier hints for others to give it a try.

Here are 3 that he's created:
21st June, 28th June 2009 and 5th July 2009 including a page with links of lessons about cryptic crosswords.

Cryptic crosswords take time and perseverance to get good at. I am not very good at solving them, but thanks to my uncle’s liberal hints, I am able to solve a good number of the clues in these Sunday crosswords.

Do give them a try. And if you would like to get future grids directly in your inbox, you can email him.


xwd_fiend said...

The first page of your uncle's guide contains a considerable amount of text lifted without permission from my YAGCC ("Yet another guide to cryptic crosswords") pages - searching for "YAGCC" with Google will find them.

I have e-mailed him in the past to point this out and ask him to use his own work or acknowledge the source, without success. If you need convincing that I wrote the text first, you can use the Internet Archive "wayback machine" to discover that the Introduction page has contained the text starting "Many of us know someone who solves cryptic puzzles with some degree of success" for about ten years.

Ram said...


I will bring this to his attention, and hopefully your work will be acknowledged.


xwd_fiend said...

No change.

I see that he also has a list of abbreviations which is not his own work but simply a copy of

xwd_fiend said...

Here is a message received from the author of the abbreviation list after informating him about this (he doesn't have an ID for posting on blogs):

"I'm the author of the 'Reverse A-Z List of Abbreviations'. This took many hours of work to complete and I resent very much that it's been 'lifted' from my site without permission. Would you please let me know what you/your uncle propose(s) to do to rectify the matter?"

He can be reached by e-mail if you use the "Contact" link at the bottom of the original version of the list.