Monday, September 29, 2008


A collection of crossword references, solving guides and other crossword-related paraphernalia. (Description excerpts from

Crossword References

Ximenes On The Art Of The Crossword

Ximenes On The Art Of The Crossword
D. S. Macnutt, crossword setter for the 'Observer' 1939 - 1971, was Ximenes, the father of crosswords, and wrote this book to make crosswords more enjoyable and rewarding to solvers. His principles of crossword composition, with the notion that being fair to the solver is of paramount importance, have become the foundations for crossword setters.

Read more: What are Ximenean clues?

Buy "Ximenes On The Art Of The Crossword" 

Bradford's Crossword Solver's Dictionary

Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary
A unique type of crossword dictionary in that it has been compiled and crafted by a single author based on her 45 years' experience of crossword solving. Every word in this dictionary has appeared as a solution to a real crossword clue.

Buy "Bradford's Crossword Solver's Dictionary"

The Chamber's Dictionary The Chambers Dictionary 
The dictionary of choice for all word lovers and crossword enthusiasts. It is known for its comprehensive coverage of English and for its tradition of including the occasional light-hearted definition in its pages.

Buy "The Chamber's Dictionary"

Solving Guides

How To Master The Times Crossword How To Master The Times Crossword by Tim Moorey
In order to master The Times Crossword, expert crossword solver and setter Tim Moorey guides the beginner and intermediate solver through clue types, the solving process and gives lots of practice clues/exercises.

The book is highly recommended by other setters and solvers.

My review of the book: How To Master The Times Crossword

Buy "How To Master The Times Crossword"
Secret Of The Setters

Secret Of The Setters by Hugh Stephenson
Packed with examples from the Guardian's celebrated compilers, Secrets of the Setters explains how all the different types of cryptic clues work. Also includes a large selection of practice puzzles and a handy list of words and letters that setters commonly use as their cryptic building blocks.

The author Hugh Stevenson is the Guardian's crossword editor.

Buy "Secret Of The Setters"

Books Of Interest For Crossworders

Afrit's Armchair Crosswords

Armchair Crosswords by Afrit
A cult crossword book, it contains 40 cryptic crosswords which have been out of print for decades. Many include unusual linguistic games such as intentional spelling mistakes.

My review of the book: Afrit’s Armchair Crosswords

Buy "Afrit's Armchair Crosswords"

Sandy Balfour's Pretty Girl In Crimson Rose (8)

Pretty Girl In Crimson Rose (8) by Sandy Balfour
In this book, award-winning documentary filmmaker Sandy Balfour traces the history of his longstanding fascination with cryptic crosswords. Spread through the book are some classic cryptic clues, mostly from the Guardian crossword.

My review of the book: Pretty Girl In Crimson Rose (8)

Buy "Secret Of The Setters"

Friday, September 26, 2008

History Of Times Crossword

Here's a link to the first ever Times Crossword published on February 1, 1930. The story goes that the daily Times crossword was introduced based on a reader's request to the Editor. The crossword soon grew to be a huge success.

Look up this featured section in the Times 1930 Archives  to know more about the history of its crossword.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Here's an attempt to demystify this site with answers to often-asked questions about it.

Q: What is this site about?
A: Crossword Unclued is about crosswords of the cryptic kind. You'll find here 340+ articles with solving tips, descriptions of clue types, analysis of clueing trends/patterns in publications and lots of crossword trivia.

Q: I want to learn how to solve cryptic crosswords. Where should I start?
A: Start with Tackling Cryptic Crosswords: 7-Step Guide for Beginners. Look up the Index page next for further reading.

Q: What is the best way for me to browse through content on Crossword Unclued?
Try any of these options:

  • Browse through the links on the sidebar to access some of the most popular articles.
  • Visit the Site Archive, a chronological listing of all articles published on the site.
  • Click a label from the list of labels on the sidebar) to view all posts tagged with that label. e.g. To read posts about cryptic clue types, click the label clue types. Each post's labels are displayed right under the post title.
  • If you're looking for something specific, use the Google-powered Search box on the header.

Q: How can I keep track of updates to Crossword Unclued?
A: That's easy. You can do any of these to stay in touch with Crossword Unclued updates:

Q: Which published crosswords are discussed here?
A: There are occasional references to various published cryptic crosswords, most commonly:
- The Times Crossword UK (Times)
- The Guardian Crossword
- The Financial Times Crossword (FT)
- The Hindu Crossword (THC)
- The Economic Times/The Daily Mail Crossword (ET)
- The New Indian Express Crossword (NIE)
- The Daily Telegraph (DT)
- The Independent (Indy)

Q: Is it all right if I use the clues from this site for a crossword contest in my university/company?
A: The clues here are either referenced from copyrighted published sources with their permission, or they're my own. The clues may not be used elsewhere without direct permission from the owner(s) of the clues.

Q: Where do you get all these images from?
A: Some I create, some I get from licensed sources. The icons on the footer are from The filled-in grids images have been put up with permission from their publications. (Please do not take any images from the site without asking me.)

Q: I cannot figure out how a clue led to its solution. Can you help?
A: Post the clue in the section Want Help Deconstructing Clues? and I'll surely try.

Q: I wrote a comment on this site but it didn’t show up. Why?
A: Comments usually go through approval before they are published on the site. They'll appear within a few minutes if I'm online, or at most a couple of hours. Comments that are way off-topic or rude will not get published. 

Q: Who is the author of Crossword Unclued?
A: I'm Shuchi, for more about me read: 1, 2, 3.

Have a question not answered here? Write to [mail] or fill in the Contact form.

I hope you enjoy your stay at Crossword Unclued. If you like this site, do share and spread the word about it. All tweets, Likes, bookmarks and comments greatly appreciated.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Peek At The Peak


The word EVEREST lends itself easily to the charade break-up EVE REST. No surprise that this clueing style has been used for the word in various publications.

Times Sunday Crossword 4295: Girl takes a break on mountain (7)
Times Sunday Crossword 4282: First mate leads others to the peak (7)

THC 8975: Height of ambition for a leading lady and the others (7)
THC 8847: Girl joins the others on top of the world (7)

Guardian 24459: Highest ambition of first lady remains (7)

Another charade but with a different word split:

Economic Times 3481: Always set out for the highest point (7) EVER EST*

Suggestions for clueing this word differently? Post them in the comments section.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008


"My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas" acrostic-clue-type

Does the sentence above ring a bell? That used to be a popular memory aid for keeping track of planets in the solar system (in the days when Pluto was counted as one). The first letter of each word in the sentence stands for the name of a planet.

Acrostic clues in cryptic crosswords work much the same way. Acrostics, or initialisms, use the first letters of a sequence of words in the clue to form the solution.

Acrostic Clue Structure: The clue has three parts:

  1. Definition
  2. Acrostic indicator - Words like 'initially', 'in front of' indicate that leading letters are to be picked
  3. Acrostic fodder - Sequence of words from which the letters are to be picked


Those fronting extremely vicious acts don't easily escape (5) E V A D E

Guardian 24489: Some URLs recommended for beginners to explore online (4) S U R F

Acrostics along with hidden word clues are perhaps the easiest to solve, since all the letters for the solution are right there, in the correct order – you just need to spot that it is a clue of this type. Looking for an acrostic indicator in the clue is a good start point.

Variants of acrostics could use last letters, nth letters or middle letters of the words.

Acrostics are also found in other forms of writing, such as poetry. The first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the verse, when put together gives another message. Some examples: Acrostic Verses.

On that note, a rhyme:

A clue that spells out the answer
Can hardly leave you perplexed -
Read carefully the first letter
Of each unit in the text;
Spot the indicator, then definition
That's your work near-done; 
Initials together give the solution -
Caught on, haven't you, about this one?

Solve These

FT14261 (Redshank): What chiefly hides in Jordan and Bahrain? (5)
Independent 8283 (Nestor): What’s seen at start of any road running one way? (5)
Guardian 25726 (Paul): Those biting heads off tarantulas, eating even tiny hairs (5)

Related Posts:

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hindi Words In UK Crosswords

A compilation of clues from The Guardian, The Times and The Financial Times, for which the answers are words of Hindi origin or related to India.


Sorry to dishearten Hindu holy man (5) SAD H{-ind}U

Fate of Kurdish leader is settled (6) K IS MET

Piece for piano - a composition by Indian? (4) RAG A

Henry’s against, for instance, sweetmeats (6) HAL V AS

Political group in India previously getting together with Italian one (6) SAM IT I

Fool preceding PM in Indian state (5) ASS AM

Place showing prosperity these days, although having trouble in eighteen fifty even (7) LUCK NOW

Girl no longer current (4) ANNA [2]

Butter pudding he eagerly gulps (4) GHEE [T]

Exotic island adopts English language (7) B{ENG}ALI

Travel area (in India)(3) GO A

Guardian 24521: I suffer from this in Indian city (6) MY SORE

Times Sunday 4298: The Parisian hit out with truncheon (5) LA THI*

Guardian 24532: Portion of butter one served with tea bread (7) CHA PAT I

Azed 1900: Denmark welcomes old German league relating to Gujerati course (7) D{HANSA}K

FT 12929: Portrait artist depicts Indian dish (5) RAITA [T]

Times 24100: Believed anticlericalism's part of one religion's philosophy (8) VEDANTIC [T]

Guardian 24626: Extract and heat a black instrument (5) TABLA [T]

Guardian 24661: Among Indians, a rich, traditional garment (4) SARI [T]

Related Posts: Computer Words In Crosswords

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THC Choice Word: RAITA

The word 'RAITA' occurs frequently on the Hindu crossword. Here are some ways in which it has been clued in crosswords published in the past few months:

Anagram: Indian dish, one Tara cooked (5) RAITA*

Telescopic: The dish for some distrait anglers (5) RAITA [T]

Charade+Container: Deserter stuffs one with a dish from India (5) RA{I}T A

Charade+Container: I, in desert, get a yogurt dish (5) RA{I}T A

Related Posts:

If you wish to keep track of further articles on Crossword Unclued, you can subscribe to it in a reader via RSS Feed. You can also subscribe by email and have articles delivered to your inbox.

Friday, September 5, 2008


A master list of articles on Crossword Unclued arranged by category. This includes a beginner's section with descriptions of cryptic clue types, indicators, abbreviations and other crossword information to help you with crossword solving.

If you're new to cryptic crosswords, you might want to start with the 7-Step Guide to Tackling Cryptic Crosswords. If you're tried solving for a bit and aren't happy with your progress, try More Tips For Solving Cryptic Crosswords.

For an overview of how to navigate the site, scroll towards the end of this page.

Clue Types At A Glance

The table below gives an overview of types of clues that appear in cryptic crosswords.

Each clue type link in the table opens a new page with its details – clue structure, tips for solving and examples.

Most cryptic clues have "indicators" that help you identify the clue type. The links under the Indicators column will give you a list of common indicators for that clue type.

Clue Type Quick Description Indicators
Anagrams Letters are jumbled up to give the solution
e.g. TRAP* = PART
Anagram Indicators
Homophones Solution sounds like another word/phrase indicated in the clue
e.g. WHERE {~WEAR}
Homophone Indicators
Hidden Words Solution is hidden within the clue
e.g. "pop artist" gives PART
Hidden Word Indicators
Deletions Letters deleted to give the solution
e.g. {-p}ART = ART
Deletion Indicators
Charades Words placed in sequence form the solution
No indicator in general, except words like 'before', 'under' when the word sequence is to be changed
Substitutions Letter(s) substituted for another
e.g. {-p + c}ART = CART
Substitution Indicators (coming soon!)
Containers Word within another word
e.g. EAT within TRY = TREATY
Containment Indicators
Acrostics Solution formed from first letters of a sequence of words
e.g. Put Away Redundant Things = PART
Acrostic Indicators
Reversals Word reversed to give the solution
e.g. PART <- = TRAP
Reversal Indicators
Letter Sequences Selected letters from the clue give the solution
e.g. mAsCoT gives ACT
Letter Sequence Indicators
Letter Shifting Letter moved to form a new word
e.g. First letter of HEART moved to the end to form EARTH
Phrases like 'from top to bottom'.
Letter Exchange Two letters switch positions to form a new word
e.g. T and P of TAPE switch positions to form PATE
Words like 'switching', 'internal exchange'
Double Definitions Two definitions for the same word
e.g. quick writer = SWIFT
No indicator
Cryptic Definitions Lateral definition for the solution. No indicator, sometimes ends in ?
Cryptic Double-Definitions Two definitions, at least one of which is a lateral definition No indicator, sometimes ends in ?
&lit Wordplay and definition overlap. No indicator, sometimes ends in !

Browse through the posts tagged clue types to see a wider list including more complex clue types.

Abbreviations And Other References

You need some "general knowledge" to solve cryptic crosswords, but the good news is that you can do pretty well with only surface knowledge. (You might not play golf for example, but if you pick up the basic jargon you can comfortably answer golf-related clues.)

A few articles to help you with the domain knowledge:

Browse through the posts tagged words to familiarize yourself with typical cryptic crossword vocabulary.

Cryptic Wordplay

Some devious devices crossword setters use to lead the solver astray.

Read posts tagged wordplay and crossword twists for more.

The Crossword Grid

A selection of articles about attributes of a cryptic crossword grid.

Browse through the posts tagged grid for more.

Crossword Tools

A look at tools useful for crossword setters and solvers:

Browse through the posts tagged tools for more.

What Else?

Patterns/interesting trends in crosswords, interviews with setters and expert solvers, crossword book reviews, evaluation of setters' styles, and there's more. Visit the site archive for a chronological listing of all articles.

How To Navigate The Site

You can browse through the content in many easy ways:

  • Looking for something specific? Use the "Search" box in the header.
  • Want a bird's eye view of everything ever posted on Crossword Unclued? Navigate via the sidebar section "Archive" to view all the posts in date-wise order. [or click here: Quick Archive]
  • Want to read the most popular articles on Crossword Unclued? Look at the selected links in the sidebar filed under relevant headings.
  • Looking for all articles from a particular category? Go to the sidebar section "Labels" and click on the label that matches the category name. e.g. All articles meant for beginners can be accessed by clicking on the label beginners.
  • Want to try a randomly picked article from Crossword Unclued? Click the "I'm Feeling Lucky!" icon on the sidebar.
Like what you read here?
Keep track of new articles on Crossword Unclued. Signup to receive email updates or subscribe to the RSS Feed. Join Crossword Unclued on Facebook. Follow CrosswordUnclued via NetworkedBlogs. Follow me on twitter @ShuchiU.

Thank you for reading!
Thursday, September 4, 2008

Contact Me

Feedback? Suggestions? Get in touch through this form.

Note: If you're looking for help with a clue, you need not fill this form – just head over to Want Help Deconstructing Clues? and put a comment there.