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Cryptic #1 - Nerd Stuff

By Resident Mutt · Published 7 months ago

Constructor's Note: Hi! This is a Cryptic Crossword - you'll note the grid arrangement and the bizarre cluing. Please see the blog post for more notes to help you get started, if you're not familiar with the genre!
Hi! So, this is an old cryptic of mine from about 3 months back that I made for a small thing, and I figured that it might help introduce the genre. This is even a themed puzzle, to an extent - I hope you like your video games and general nerdery!
I'll work on a very beginner friendly cryptic in the coming days, so please keep your eyes peeled if you want something like that!

Cryptic Clues!
Cryptic Clues (usually) have two parts - a 'Straight' element that gives a true definition, and a 'Wordplay' element that does shenanigans. There may also be some connecting word between the two. So a clue such as:
"Bird's average decomposition (6)"
Is made up of the straight definition "Bird", and the wordplay "average decomposition" - in this case, PAR + ROT. Note that "Average decomposition for bird (6)" could give the exact same answer.
I'd say the best way to get used to Cryptic clues is to see them, rather to study them - I enjoy them, even though on the Guardian's cryptics I consider a success "got 5 answers in". As such, I would recommend watching the Twitch VODs for CrypticSunday, who tend to tackle a relatively easy cryptic and explain the clues as they go. Likewise QuizzyDan does cryptics usually once a week, on a similar basis.
Deusovi's response here is considered one of the better explanations - it is probably the 'strictest' view (more common in Cryptics from American publishers), but it explains the key mechanics well.
I actually rate fairly highly as a decent list of cryptic cluing options, with some reasonably simple sample clues.
Please note that sometimes different cluing techniques can be used in the same clue!
In terms of solving resources, I think having these two links to hand is useful. The first is a list of common abbreviations used in cryptics, with a particular focus on single-letters - as well as terminology that might be unfamiliar to those outside the UK (and frankly to those under the age of 80 inside it). The second is a large learning tool that includes lists of 'Indicators', which is incredibly useful for solvers and constructors.
Finally, SimplyDailyPuzzles has an excellent "Easy Cryptic Crossword" that can help introduce the idea. Though googling "Easy Cryptic Crossword" is your perogative I think :P

If you're interested in any of the parsings, then I have a full list! It is available here: .
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  • Mike D 4:54 · 7 months ago
    This was awesome - thank you so much for posting the introduction / references! This one was over my head (total beginner at these) but I at least managed to get CREED
    7D CREEDChurch's reputation seen around England (5)
    and PACMAN
    6A PACMANSpooner's pasta pot is at the arcade? (3-3)
    before giving up and reading through your explanations 😂.. Looking forward to the beginner puzzle!
    1AAngrily leave, smashing guitar over head of Evil Queen (4-4)
    1. 1A
      Angrily leave, smashing guitar over head of Evil Queen (4-4)
    2. 6A
      Spooner's pasta pot is at the arcade? (3-3)
    3. 9A
      Call sibling after German shooter? (6)
    4. 10A
      Candy for idiots (8)
    5. 11A
      Blast Vice Presidential candidate, "Crazy Hasheem", for a loss - pointless! (10)
    6. 12A
      Revolutionary spirit's end (4)
    7. 13A
      Digital sandbox is perfect, without slapstick backfiring (9)
    8. 16A
      Italian man audibly wed duck (5)
    9. 19A
      Italian man audibly wed duck (5)[-----]
      's brother lauding him, regularly ignored (5)
    10. 20A
      Provide supporting fire, clear around Washington church (9)
    11. 22A
      Short ship swaps initial incendiaries to atomic bomb (4)
    12. 24A
      Out of touch pilot, Charlie, tucking into grub and tea (5,5)
    13. 27A
      High class fellow vivid and rich (8)
    14. 28A
      Private bugs whos shoulders we can stand on? (6)
    15. 29A
      Lively novice loses father, perhaps becoming brute (6)
    16. 30A
      Corner corgi wandering around a pole... around a pole... around a pole... (8)
    1. 2D
      Oddly lacking masonry that comes from the heart? (5)
    2. 3D
      Secret chocolate? (6,3)
    3. 4D
      Puts broken vents overhead (8)
    4. 5D
      Model run's track (5)
    5. 6D
      In Southport, a lacquered door (6)
    6. 7D
      Church's reputation seen around England (5)
    7. 8D
      Audi disco playing CD? (5,4)
    8. 14D
      Upon brief, shaky pain, take me!
    9. 15D
      Gamer's vision is somewhat off, overall (3, Abbr.)
    10. 17D
      People from Birmingham Central Mall respond - 50% welcoming former president losing head! (9)
    11. 18D
      Endlessly nag, for instance, maiden after violin strings for sequence of notes (8)
    12. 21D
      In addition, a growth (2,4)
    13. 23D
      Robot held back by some logic (5)
    14. 25D
      Ocean drops connection to loft (5)
    15. 26D
      The Spanish heavyweight, John? (5)