Whether you’re one of those people who claim cryptic crosswords are ‘impossible’ or looking to improve your completion rate or time, hopefully these pages will provide some useful tips.
First we’ll look at the basics of tackling a cryptic crossword, then types of clues that you’ll see, then some strategies for tackling a ‘clean’ puzzle. We have some in depth pages for each clue type and don’t forget to make use of the forum!
If you think you ‘can’t do’ cryptic crosswords and believe they’re impossible, then start here. You don’t have to be a genius and they can be quite simple, it’s all about the rules…
What most beginners don’t realise is that cryptic crossword clues come in a variety of flavours and that a single puzzle will contain several different types. Most people are stronger with one type than they are with another and some forms of clue are actually quite easy (honest!) so it’s important to learn to recognise the types to get ‘a foot in the door’. This part of the guide will cover the basic types of clue you’ll find in the popular dailies, along with examples.
Unless you’re Einstein, trying to complete a crossword by starting a ‘1 across’ and not moving on until that’s solved will take forever and give you a headache. This part of the guide seeks to outline some basic strategies for tackling a blank crossword, and completing those tough clues.