Basic Rules for Cryptic Crossword Construction:
Detailed methods employed:
Any of the following methods can be used but always with a definition of the answer and no words are to be included unless they are part of the device or definition.
Anagrams: The letters of a word or phrase are recombined to create another word or phrase. There must be a tip word present such as “smashed”, “altered”, “re-organized”, “broken” etc.
Example:. “Crushed grapes – they arouse attention” (6) PAGERS is the anagram and tip word is “Crushed”
Homophones: Words sound the same as other words but have a different meaning: There must be a tip word or phrase present such as “heard”, “we hear”, “sounds”, etc.
Example:. “We hear church singers’ paper load is measured”(5) – QUIRE, which sounds like “choir”and has the tip phrase “we hear”.
Embedded words or phrases: The answer is part of the written sequence of a word or phrase within the clue plus a tip word or phrase such as “within”, “we see” etc.
Example:“Tariff is California’s business, we notice.” (6) – FISCAL is embedded; “we notice” is the tip.
Reversed embedded words and phrases: The answer is a reversed written sequence of a word or phrase within the clue plus a tip word or phrase such as “looking back now” or “going over this, we see” etc.
Example:“On review, we see severe roof catch” (4) – EVES is embedded in reverse
Containers: The answer contains one definition inside the other definition.
Example:“Immature bovine has everything” (6) – CALLOW [(C) + ALL + (OW)]
Reductions: The answer may be a reduction of the letters of the clue word by use of a tip word or phrase such as “diminishes”, “reduces”, “is lessened by”.
Example:. “Stove pot superabundance carries no burden” (8) – SAUCEPAN is formed from the removal of the word “burden” from the word “superabundance”; tip phrase is “carries no”
Letter designations: The letter required to fill out an answer is the first letter of a word or phrase or the last letter of a familiar word or phrase with a tip word or phrase such as “finishes with”, “winds up at” etc.
Example:“ viewed at end of July” (5) - READY is formed from (READ + Y).
The same is true for reductions by one letter at the beginning or end of a word or phrase.
Example: “Headless stray puppy companion” [W(HELP) + MATE]
Double definition: The answer may be two definitions of the same word ( and perhaps different parts of speech!)
Example:“Herd member to provide direction” (5) – STEER
Charades: The answer is a combination of two parts which have been connected in the same way as happens in the parlour game
Example:“In favour of dependent ahead” (6) – FORWARD