The Language Of Crosswords

Araucaria's first Guardian crossword: the solutionI really like doing quick crosswords. I attempt the Guardian’s quick crossword everyday, and generally finish it. However, I am utterly clueless about cryptic crosswords.

Crosswords have their own language, and it’s actually quite fascinating to read about. Over at Oxford Dictionaries Blog, they have an article all about clues, code-breaking, and cruciverbalists: the language of crosswords. In it, they talk about the birth of the crossword (in 1913), and the different types of clues crosswords use (such as synonyms, anagrams, homophones, and Spoonerisms). The quick crosswords that I do are usually composed of clues requiring you to find a synonym. The harder cryptic crosswords require you to think in a very specific way. I’m sure there’s a knack to it, and it’s possible to learn, but I currently just don’t understand the cryptic clues at all.

Which is a shame, because I’m good at seeing patterns, and reckon I’d make an OK cryptographer. Onwards!

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