Login:

Password:





Not yet joined our word puzzle community? Then REGISTER NOW >>>
Who's online? | Login | Leaderboard | Anagrams

Cryptic Crosswords: Know Your Setter

When you solve cryptic crosswords, one of the best things to do is to follow those in a particular newspaper or major publication. That's because this will enable you to see who sets each puzzle, and over time you will get used to the style of each solver. In most major publications, the author of each puzzle is stated above that puzzle, and they usually have slightly strange names: rarely just a name!

Although that might sound odd, with something as personal and hand-written as a cryptic crossword, unlike a quick crossword, you will definitely find certain themes, topics and styles that are popular with certain setters, and over time you can use this knowledge to help solve the puzzles.

For instance, some setters have particular anagram indicators that they use a lot more frequently than they occur in general (perhaps they tend to use the word 'broadcast' a lot to indicate an anagram, for instance), and others tend to have a particular phraseology to their clues that you will pick up on over time. It's hard to explain that in words, but you'll know it once you've solved enough puzzles by a given setter. It is not uncommon when people solve puzzles for them to say that this "sounds like an X sort of answer" or "I've seen Y clue an answer like this before".

Indeed, most cryptic crossword solvers have their favourite setters, and particularly enjoy and look forward to those puzzles. Some setters are a lot fairer in following the strict rules in writing a cryptic crossword than others (eg they follow Ximenean clueing) whilst others don't do this.

A good cryptic crossword setter, familiar to you or otherwise, will set you a challenging puzzle but one that you will ultimately be able to solve. When you become an experienced solver, therefore, you should have a good chance of solving any puzzle even if by an author that you've not heard of before, but you do have an even better chance if you know their style well: even simple things like knowing how often a setter tends to use obscure words that you probably haven't come across before can be useful, or what their favourite subjects are.

Other authors often have a hidden theme in their puzzles, so again if you know an author tends to do this then you can look out for it (for instance they might hide five answers that also happen to be the names of famous opera characters or similar).

Do you have a favourite cryptic setter - and if so, why? Is is the style you like, the humour of their clues, or something else? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!
Date written: 18 Apr 2015



Comment on this post

You must be logged in to comment - please Register or Login

Other Blog Posts You Might Find Interesting...

Crossword Solvers Tend To Be Good At Scrabble
People who are good at solving crosswords also tend to be good at playing scrabble, which is interesting, as they are very different games. So why is this? Well, the most likely reason is that they both involve words and a good vocabulary. Obviously...
Added: 29 Apr 2015


Does Brain Training Work?
Does brain training work? This is a big question, and there have been several tests and surveys carried out - some more scientific than others - to try and establish the truth. Anecdotally at least, several people say that they have experienced...
Added: 23 Apr 2015


All About Word Ladder Puzzles
The word ladder puzzle comes in two main versions. The first version of the puzzle lists clues alongside it, whilst the second version is open-ended with no clues alongside each rung of the ladder, and therefore is both more difficult to solve and may...
Added: 16 Mar 2015


Wordwheel Player Update
We hope you are all enjoying playing the great range of puzzles we have available online here at Wordy Puzzle. We just wanted to let you know that we have implemented the most common piece of feedback we have received, which is to do with the...
Added: 28 Jul 2015


Skeleton Crosswords And Symmetry
Skeleton crosswords are one of the hardest puzzles there are, and certainly one of the hardest crossword variants - probably alongside the cryptic crossword with the specialist solving skills that puzzle requires. Like the cryptic crossword, one's...
Added: 01 Apr 2015




Back to Puzzle Blog


Puzzle Types:
Arrow word Puzzles
Pangram Puzzles
General Knowledge Crosswords
Quick Crosswords
Wordwheels
Word Ladders
Word Fit
Skeleton Crosswords
A to Z Puzzles
Codewords
Cryprograms Online
Every Letter Counts