Other clue variations Any type of puzzle may contain cross-references, where the answer to one clue forms part of another clue, in which it is referred to by number
The straight definition is “bigotry”, and the wordplay explains itself, indicated by the word “take” (since one word “takes” another): “aside” means APART and I’d is simply
ID, so APART and ID “take” HE (which is, in cryptic crossword usage, a perfectly good synonym for “him”).
In most forms of the puzzle, the first letters of each correct clue answer, read in order from clue A on down the list, will spell out the author of the quote and the title
of the work it is taken from; this can be used as an additional solving aid.
Backwards words can be indicated by words like “climbing”, “retreating”, or “ascending” (depending on whether it is an across clue or a down clue) or by directional indicators
such as “going North” (meaning upwards) or “West” (right-to-left); letters can be replaced or removed with indicators such as “nothing rather than excellence” (meaning replace E in a word with O); the letter I can be indicated by “me” or “one;”
the letter O can be indicated by “nought”, “nothing”, “zero”, or “a ring” (since it visually resembles one); the letter X might be clued as “a cross”, or “ten” (as in the Roman numeral), or “an illiterate’s signature”, or “sounds like your
old flame” (homophone for “ex”).
is part of both an “across” word and a “down” word) and usually each answer must contain at least three letters.
The grid often has one or more photos replacing a block of squares as a clue to one or several answers, for example, the name of a pop star, or some kind of rhyme or phrase
that can be associated with the photo.
Fill-in crosswords Main article: Fill-In (puzzle) A fill-in crossword (also known as crusadex or cruzadex) features a grid and the full list of words to be entered in
that grid, but does not give explicit clues for where each word goes.
For example, a puzzle with theme entries that begin with PAPER, BALL, and WATER and elsewhere in the puzzle, the word BOY clued as “Word that can follow the start of [theme
“ The crossword solution includes the entries “BROUGHT TO NAUGHT”, “MIGHT MAKES RIGHT”, “CAUGHT A STRAIGHT”, and “HEIGHT AND WEIGHT”, which are all three-word phrases
with two words ending in -ght.
Often, a straight clue is not in itself sufficient to distinguish between several possible answers, either because multiple synonymous answers may fit or because the clue
itself is a homonym (e.g., “Lead” as in to be ahead in a contest or “Lead” as in the element), so the solver must make use of checks to establish the correct answer with certainty.
Double clue lists Sometimes newspapers publish one grid that can be filled by solving either of two lists of clues—usually a straight and a cryptic.
 Crossnumbers A crossnumber (also known as a cross-figure) is the numerical analogy of a crossword, in which the solutions to the clues are numbers instead of words.
For instance, the puzzle Eight Isn’t Enough by Matt Gaffney gives the clue “This week’s contest answer is a three-word phrase whose second word is ‘or’.
The solutions given by the two lists may be different, in which case the solver must decide at the outset which list they are going to follow, or the solutions may be identical,
in which case the straight clues offer additional help for a solver having difficulty with the cryptic clues.
This clue also takes advantage of the fact that in American-style crosswords, the initial letter of a clue is always capitalized, whether or not it is a proper noun.
Here, “significant” is the straight definition (appearing here at the end of the clue), “to bring worker into the country” is the wordplay definition, and “may prove” serves
to link the two.
An example of a multiple-letter addition (and one that does not occur at the end of the entry) might be “Crazy about kitchen storage?”
The second part is a long series of numbered blanks and spaces, representing a quotation or other text, into which the answers for the clues fit.
As a result, the following ways to clue abbreviations and other non-words, although they can be found in “straight” British crosswords, are much more common in American ones:
• Abbreviations, the use of a foreign language, variant spellings, or other unusual word tricks are indicated in the clue.
For example, the answer to the clue “PC key” for a three-letter answer could be ESC, ALT, TAB, DEL, or INS, so until a check is filled in, giving at least one of the letters,
the correct answer cannot be determined.
• In addition, partial answers are allowed in American-style crosswords, where the answer represents part of a longer phrase.
The design of Japanese crossword grids often follows two additional rules: that shaded cells may not share a side (i.e.
Themes Many American crossword puzzles feature a “theme” consisting of a number of long entries (generally three to five in a standard 15×15-square “weekday-size” puzzle)
that share some relationship, type of pun, or other element in common.
Abbreviations The constraints of the American-style grid (in which every letter is checked) often require a fair number of answers not to be dictionary words.
Note that in a cryptic clue, there is almost always only one answer that fits both the definition and the wordplay, so that when one sees the answer, one knows that it is
the right answer—although it can sometimes be a challenge to figure out why it is the right answer.
In most American-style crosswords, the majority of the clues in the puzzle are straight clues, with the remainder being one of the other types described below.
Every issue of Games magazine contains a large crossword with a double clue list, under the title The World’s Most Ornery Crossword; both lists are straight and arrive at
the same solution, but one list is significantly more challenging than the other.
The New York Times puzzles also set a common pattern for American crosswords by increasing in difficulty throughout the week: their Monday puzzles are the easiest and the
puzzles get harder each day until Saturday.
• “Before and after” clues feature one word that is part of two phrases, often designated with parentheses and brackets, e.g., (Doing [____) keeper] = TIME.
• Rebus themes, where multiple letters or even symbols occupy a single square in the puzzle (e.g., BERMUDAΔ) • Addition themes, where theme entries are created by adding a
letter, letters, or word(s) to an existing word or phrase.
With the different types of wordplay and definition possibilities, the composer of a cryptic puzzle is presented with many different possible ways to clue a given answer.
Cryptics usually give the length of their answers in parentheses after the clue, which is especially useful with multi-word answers.
For example, in one puzzle by Mel Taub, the answer IMPORTANT is given the clue “To bring worker into the country may prove significant”.
When an answer is composed of multiple or hyphenated words, some crosswords (especially in Britain) indicate the structure of the answer.
A variant of the double-clue list is commonly called Siamese Twins: two matching grids are provided, and the two clue lists are merged such that the two clues for each entry
are displayed together in random order.
All the theme entries in a given puzzle must be formed by the same process (so another entry might be “Greco-Roman buddy?”
 The surface reading is the basic reading of the clue to look for key words and how those words are constructed in the clue.
For example, “(3,5)” after a clue indicates that the answer is composed of a three-letter word followed by a five-letter word.
A typical clue contains both a definition at the beginning or end of the clue and wordplay, which provides a way to manufacture the word indicated by the definition, and which
may not parse logically.
They can be clued as simply “Compass point”, where the desired answer is determined by a combination of logic—since the third letter can be only E or W, and the second letter
can be only N or S—and a process of elimination using checks.
Depending on the puzzle creator or the editor, this might be represented either with a question mark at the end of the clue or with a modifier such as “maybe” or “perhaps”.
Usually, at least one number’s letter is given at the outset.
 • Compound themes, where the starts or ends of the theme entries can all precede or follow another word, which is given elsewhere in the puzzle.
Another unusual theme requires the solver to use the answer to a clue as another clue.
 • Subtraction themes, the reverse of the above, where letters are removed to make a new word or phrase.
One is a surface reading and one a hidden meaning.
Some clue examples: • Fill-in-the-blank clues are often the easiest in a puzzle and a good place to start solving, e.g., “_____ Boleyn” = ANNE.
Fitting together several long words is easier than fitting together several short words because there are fewer possibilities for how the long words intersect together.
indicates the answer is a variant spelling (e.g., EMEER instead of EMIR), while the use of foreign language or a foreign place name within the clue indicates that the answer
is also in a foreign language.
Fill-in crosswords may often have longer word length than regular crosswords to make the crossword easier to solve, and symmetry is often disregarded.
 On September 1, 2016, the daily New York Times puzzle by Ben Tausig had four squares which led to correct answers reading both across and down if solvers entered either
“M” or “F”.
A person works on a crossword puzzle in the subway, New York City, 2008 Clues: conventions and types Capitalization Capitalization of answer letters is conventionally ignored;
crossword puzzles are typically filled in, and their answer sheets are published in all caps.
Embedded words are another common trick in cryptics.
In languages that are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right (“across”) and from top to bottom (“down”).
Clues are usually arithmetical expressions, but can also be general knowledge clues to which the answer is a number or year.
This generally aids solvers in that if they have one of the words then they can attempt to guess the phrase.
The challenge is figuring out how to integrate the list of words together within the grid so that all intersections of words are valid.
• A question mark at the end of clue usually signals that the clue/answer combination involves some sort of pun or wordplay, e.g., “Grateful?”
“ The first entries In the ‘Quick’ crossword in The Daily Telegraph newspaper (Sunday and Daily, UK), it has become a convention also to make the first few words (usually
two or three, but can be more) into a phrase.
Typically clues appear outside the grid, divided into an across list and a down list; the first cell of each entry contains a number referenced by the clue lists.
A man phones his doctor in the middle of the night, asking for “the name of a bodily disorder of seven letters, of which the second letter must be ‘N'”.
For example, if the top row has an answer running all the way across, there will often be no across answers in the second row.
The objective, as any other crossword, is to determine the proper letter for each cell; in a cipher crossword, the 26 numbers serve as a cipher for those letters: cells that
share matching numbers are filled with matching letters, and no two numbers stand for the same letter.
• If taken literally, “Start of spring” could clue MAR (for March), but it could also clue ESS, the spelled-out form of the starting letter S. • “Nice summer?”
The second way is the hidden meaning.
 History Recreation of Arthur Wynne’s original crossword puzzle from December 21, 1913 Finalists competing in a crossword competition in New York City in 2019 The
phrase “cross word puzzle” was first written in 1862 by Our Young Folks in the United States.
 Crosswords in England during the 19th century were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike
vertically and horizontally, and printed in children’s puzzle books and various periodicals.
“ In The New Yorker’s first issue, released in 1925, the “Jottings About Town” section wrote, “Judging from the number of solvers in the subway and ‘L’ trains, the crossword
puzzle bids fair to become a fad with New Yorkers.
Usually the straight clue matches the straight part of the cryptic clue, but this is not necessarily the case.
One is straightforward definition substitution using parts of a word.
For instance, clues and their solutions should always agree in tense, number, and degree.
Puzzles are often one of several standard sizes.
Similarly, a clue such as “Right on the map” means EAST.
These puzzles usually have no symmetry in the grid but instead often have a common theme (literature, music, nature, geography, events of a special year, etc.)
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