Play with Words

Focus: How to solve Cryptic Clues in Crossword Puzzles

Can you solve this Cryptic Clue: A pair of artworks (3)

What’s this? No clue right?
Does anyone amongst us know how many of us solve Crossword puzzles?
Neither you nor I. So let’s say 50%.
How many amongst this 50% solve “Easy Clues” in them?  Lot many
How many amongst this 50% solve “Cryptic Clues” in them?  Hardly any, right? Why?
Simply because Cryptic Clues don’t make any sense to many. They are tough to solve and therefore boring.
What if there is a way that steers us to the solutions?  Hmmm…interesting, tempting to attempt, nah?

Introducing a section in my blog called “Play with Words” that revolves around a topic that is so close to my heart: “How to solve Cryptic Clues in Crossword Puzzles”.  Is this topic a cup of tea handpicked only by outliers, or a game created only for gamechangers… I remain puzzled! Hence the temptation to attempt to solve this old found puzzle by creating this section!

As I embark on this journey, taking the road less travelled, into the wonderworld of words through my own creation of Cryptic Clues, you…the readers are most welcome to trek the trail along with me, crossing swords with a wide web of words n ha… “no squares attached”* unlike the standard crossword puzzles published in newspapers. Also, unlike daily newspapers wherein Cryptic Clues are published as a mix of many types with solutions sans explanations, in my blog, you will find them clearly classified under different types. Detailed explanations are also provided for each Cluetype.

Focus here is about “Understanding  Cryptic  Clues and their types”, all explained with examples in conversational style thus orienting readers towards possible approaches for solving them. Clues of any one type are posted every weekend. Solutions to these clues with hints and/or explanations are posted the following week.

During this journey, we experience the joy of digging those hidden words within words, racking our brains for homonyms, scanning them for synonyms, very frequently anagramming many to form new words, decoding many a word to search for codes as their replacement, all these acrobatics ascending towards our destination….that singlemost answer:  Just. One. Word.

As we advance our trek to explore tougher terrains in future phases, answer can even progress to a phrase! *When the section scales up to mountain size , you will also have the choice of solving these clues in association with a Crossword Structure.
Get cracking! Follow me….Together, we can soon change, these “Hardly any” fans for Cryptic Clues to “A Lot many”.
Stay clued, stay inspired
Warm Regards

Mangala Madhuchand

Ps; Fresh set of Cryptic Clues are generally posted during weekends. By all means, refer to solutions with explanations for the older posts....phew!

Thank you for visiting this section "Play with Words" in this blog.
For more reading related to this section, click on 
"Understanding Cryptic Clues"
You can then proceed to read the following:
Understanding Cryptic Clues Type "B"
Understanding Cryptic Clues Type "C"

Few other sections that I've created in this blog include "Nostalgia" "Mangala's Potluck" "My Paintings"  "My Poems", Creative Writing etc.

To read my first post in this blog, click "My First Post"

Feel free to read a bit about me at "Hey....Meet Me!"

Have you read my article Lazing around with English ? If not, please read.


  1. This is really interesting. My mind goes back to the earlier days when we were trying to solve the CURIO-cryptic Crossword puzzle which would appear in Times of India Sunday issues.This is a good mental exercise which sharpens thinking and enriches vocabulary.Please continue sending more of these.

  2. Thanks a ton. Ha...out comes the secret of how octagenarians stay young n healthy in mind n body. Hearty Welcome Mama to the "Cryptic Clues Fan Clan"