Friday 5 September 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.
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Thank you for reading!


wolobofe said...

What category do palindromes come under?

Shuchi said...

A special kind of reversal, perhaps? (palindromes.)

In addition to the basic clue types listed above, the label clue types takes you to a wider list including palindromes and other distinctive/complex clue types.