Big Dave’s Little Guide to Cryptic Crosswords


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A few words about this guide << Back to Contents

Cryptic crossword puzzles can, at first, seem impenetrable to those who have not tried them before. This guide explains how cryptic clues can be solved. Whether you are a novice or an accomplished solver, you could find something here for you.

There are five sections:

Clue types

Explanations of the main types of cryptic crossword clues. Nearly all clues are constructed using one or more of these types. Examples of each are given, all from recent Telegraph crosswords.

Miscellaneous constructs

There are numerous constructs used by crossword setters. The best-known are listed here, once again with examples.

Reference Books

Dictionaries, thesauri and other useful reference books.


Some other websites that could be of use. Included are other crossword guides, anagram solvers and word searches.

Glossary / Index

Here you will find a list of most of the terms used when reviewing cryptic crosswords. This also acts as an index, with links to those terms which are explained in more depth elsewhere in the guide.

If this little guide has whetted your appetite for more, then you should consider one or more of the books recommended by Peter Biddlecombe in Which books should I read?

I would like to thank the other bloggers for their contributions to this guide, and a particular thank you to all of the Telegraph setters, without whom Big Dave’s Crossword Blog could not exist.

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