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Cryptic Crosswords

as a hobby

Cryptic crosswords are a challenge that can be both frustrating and rewarding. They require patience, persistence, and logic, but also intuition, imagination, and humor.

Cryptic crosswords are puzzles that use clues that have two meanings: one literal and one hidden. They are a great hobby for anyone who loves words and wordplay, as they can improve your vocabulary, logic and creativity. To get started, you can find cryptic crosswords in newspapers, magazines, websites and apps, and learn the basic rules and techniques for solving them. You will soon discover the joy and satisfaction of cracking the code.

Helpful content to start cryptic crosswords as a hobby

We aim to provide accurate information, but errors might be found. Always exercise judgment and discretion.


Short visual inspiration.

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YouTube | How to Solve Cryptic Crossword Puzzles | The New Yorker
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YouTube | How To Solve Crossword Puzzles
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YouTube Playlist | Cryptic crossword: Beginner guides
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YouTube | How to win at… cryptic crosswords | Episode 4 | BBC Ideas


Play an episode while exploring the page.

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Spotify | Cryptic Crosswords
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Spotify | Bonus Episode: Let's do a Cryptic Crossword!
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Spotify | Fill Me In #201: American crosswords : cryptic crosswords :: baseball : cricket

Cryptic crosswords are a bit like life: you can’t get anywhere without taking a few risks.


Basic lingo for orientation.

  • Anagrams: A word or phrase that is formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase.
  • Containers: A word or phrase that contains another word or phrase.
  • Hidden words: A word or phrase that is hidden within another word or phrase.
  • Reversals: A word or phrase that is formed by reversing the letters of another word or phrase.
  • Deletions: A word or phrase that is formed by deleting one or more letters from another word or phrase.
  • Homophones: Words that sound the same but have different meanings.
  • Double definition: Clues that have two different meanings for the same solution.
  • Charade clues: Clues that are made up of two or more words that combine to form the solution.
  • Cryptic definition: Clues that are a play on words and often have a humorous twist.
  • Indicator: A word or phrase in a clue that signals the use of a particular type of wordplay.
  • Setter: A person who creates cryptic crossword puzzles.

How to start cryptic crosswords as a hobby

First moves for getting acquainted and breaking the ice.


Get read(y).

Cryptic crosswords are a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, anytime. They are not only fun and stimulating, but also relaxing and therapeutic.


Step-by-step tutorials.


Further reading.


Go-tos for information.

Cryptic crosswords are an art form that can be enjoyed by anyone who likes words and wordplay. They are not elitist or obscure, but playful and clever.


Nothing like a film for inspiration.


Get a clue.


Smart assistance.


Essentials to have.


Get smart.

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Get together.

Cryptic crosswords are a way of training your brain to think laterally and creatively. They also expand your vocabulary and general knowledge.


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Additional advice for beginners.

  • Don’t panic! Cryptic crosswords may seem daunting at first, but they are not impossible to solve. They are based on a set of rules and conventions that you can learn and apply. You don’t need to be a genius or have a huge vocabulary to enjoy them.
  • Start with the easy ones. There are different levels of difficulty and styles of cryptic crosswords, depending on the setter and the publication. Some are more beginner-friendly than others, such as the Quiptic crossword from The Guardian or the Quick Cryptic crossword from The Times. You can also look for clues that have short answers or familiar words.
  • Look for the definition. Every cryptic clue has two parts: a definition and a wordplay. The definition is usually either the first or the last word or phrase of the clue, and it gives a synonym or description of the answer. Try to identify the definition and work out what it means.
  • Learn the clue types and indicators. The wordplay part of the clue can use various devices to indicate how to form the answer, such as anagrams, containers, hidden words, reversals, deletions, homophones, initial letters, spoonerisms and more. Each device has its own indicators, which are words or phrases that signal what kind of manipulation is required. For example, “broken” can indicate an anagram, “in” can indicate a container, “back” can indicate a reversal, etc. You can find lists of common clue types and indicators online or in books.