Solving & Lit Clues In Cryptic Crosswords
When you are solving cryptic crosswords, most of the clue types that you come across are fairly intuitive: for instance a double definition clue fairly obviously involves two definitions that lead to the same answer. And an anagram clue, sure enough, contains an anagram of the answer word in the clue, if only you can work out what is the anagram indicator and what is the anagram fodder, then finally work out the anagram answer.
But what about this rather mysterious clue called an 'and lit' clue or perhaps an '& Lit' clue.
Well, it may help you understand what this is if you are informed that & Lit simply stands for "and literally so". Does this help you?
If not, it is a type of clue where - very unusually - indeed almost uniquely - there is NO SEPARATE STRAIGHT DEFINITION part at all - it is simply a cryptic indication of the answer that can also be interpreted as a straight clue, in a way. Indeed, the whole clue itself serves as both the definition and the cryptic clue, and as such does double duty. These clues are often quite short, and are also seen fairly rarely, as they are tricky to write and come up with, and also hard to pull off. And you will find that if there is a word that readily lends itself to this type of clue, another setter has got there first, so some of these clues get reinvented.
As such, a good & Lit clue is often the source of much admiration from solvers and other setters alike.
As with most things in life, an example or two can make it clear. Here are a couple of the examples of this type of clue given on the wikipedia page for cryptic crossword clue types:
1) God incarnate, essentially!
The answer here is ODIN, which is part of 'God incarnate' (eg essentially), whilst Odin is also straightforwardly God incarnate, essentially.
2) e.g., Origin of goose.
Can you work that one out yourself? It is simply e and g then origin of goose is the letter 'G', so eg + g = EGG and of course the origin of a goose is quite literally an egg.
So these two examples should show you how the & Lit clue does double duty as both a cryptic and straight definition all in one, unlike other clue types that have a separate part of the clue to perform each role.
Have a favourite & Lit cryptic crossword clue yourself? We'd love to hear all about it below, and why you like it so much. Or perhaps you've written your own and would like to share it with us?Date written: 11 Apr 2015
Comment on this post
You must be logged in to comment - please Register or Login
Other Blog Posts You Might Find Interesting...
Back to Puzzle Blog
The Benefits Of Solving Word Puzzles
There are many benefits to solving word puzzles. First and foremost, doing so is a very inexpensive hobby, puzzles are fun and satisfying to solve, and word puzzles provide a very effective form of 'brain training'.
As opposed to solving logic puzzles...
Added: 26 Apr 2015
Computers And Cryptic Crosswords
One of the debates that pops up from time to time is around cryptic crosswords and computers - and specifically whether a computer program can be written to create a good cryptic crossword.
Now, in this debate it is generally assumed that what is...
Added: 19 Mar 2015
Cryptic Crossword Solving: General Tips
In the series of articles on cryptic crossword solving, we've covered a huge range of different clues, with articles that look at each type of clue. So by now you should be familiar with the types of clue that might be thrown at you, if you've been...
Added: 10 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
What Is A Pangram?
Most commonly people have not heard of the word pangram. If they have, then they often get it confused with tangram. Although they share the first letter, that is all that there is common between them.
A tangram is something lots of kids do at school...
Added: 06 Apr 2015