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How To Solve Anagram Clues

Solving anagram clues is different for quick and cryptic crosswords. With quick crosswords, the anagram is always indicated, either by (anag) or (anagram) written after the clue.

In contrast, with cryptic crosswords, it is never quite clear what the anagram is of: that is, which letters form what is called the 'anagram fodder'. However with practice you can spot anagram indicators, and there are some quite common words often used to do so - see our blog article on anagram indicators in cryptic puzzles for more on this.

Assuming you know what the letters are, there are a few ways to solve the anagram:

1) Just look at the letters 'as is' until the answer comes to you

2) Use an online tool - enter the letters into an anagram solver and see what comes up

3) Solve it yourself, but by writing the letters in another order. Common options include:
a) Writing the letters in alphabetical order ;
b) Writing all the vowels, then all the consonants (or vice versa);
c) Not writing the letters of the anagram in linear format but rather something else, most popular seems to be in a circle, like a word wheel.

Solving anagrams definitely requires practice - the more you solve, the quicker you can spot them. Of course some people are naturally more adept at spotting anagrams than others, but anyone can get better with practice.

If you are struggling with an anagram, then it could contain unusual letter combinations, such as consonants that rarely go together. Or perhaps it is what many consider the hardest form of anagram to spot - a word that is a combination of words itself (eg stagecoach) - for whatever reason many people find these sorts of anagrams particularly tricky to solve.

Remember too that in a crossword it's possible the anagram answer will be a proper noun, such as a city, so don't think about just finding dictionary words.

When you do solve an anagram clue, you'll want to quickly check that you can't think of any other words that are also anagrams of the same letters, as it can be frustrating to place one anagram only to find another one later and have to change your answer.

If you have any particular methods you find help you solve anagram clues, then please do share them below - it would be interesting to know and also no doubt be of help to other Wordy Puzzle members.
Date written: 21 Mar 2015



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