Login:

Password:





Who's online? | Login | Leaderboard | Anagrams

Solving Double Definition Cryptic Clues

One of the main types of cryptic crossword clue is called the double definition.

With this clue type, as the name suggests, you will be presented with two different clues that both lead to the same answer.

Unlike many cryptic clues, both of the clues are typically straight clues, although they may of course be slightly misleading in terms of using definitions that might usually lead to another word (not the main meaning of a word, essentially).

In a standard cryptic crossword you will often get two to three clues of this type. The best way to spot them is by length - usually, although of course not always, these clues are a lot shorter than the rest. Often they are simply two words long. An example of a double definition clue would be the following:

Foreign or outlandish bird

This is a double definition clue where there is the slight added challenge of working out the delineation of the two clues, as it is not just a two-word clue. Here the two clues are 'foreign or outlandish' and 'bird'. In this case the answer is 'peregrine' which is a bird of prey (also called a peregrine falcon). You are less likely to know the other definition, 'foreign or outlandish' for this word, which the OED informs us of with a sample sentence "peregrine species of grass".

So - to spot a double definition look for a succinct clue. Then try to work out what the two definitions are (if it is a two-word clue, this is trivial).

If the answer does not jump out at you, look at each of the words individually and think around the meanings. As with the example here, they could be quite obscure. Remember with cryptics, the words are often misleading too. Thus when you see the word 'bird' here you are sure to think of just creatures with wings and feathers, as in this instance is the case, but of course there are other meanings of the word 'bird' too - such as time in prison (from Cockney rhyming slang - bird lime - (jail) time).
Date written: 15 Apr 2015



Comment on this post

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

Other Blog Posts You Might Find Interesting...

Introduction To Points And Awards
Welcome to this introduction to the points and awards system here at Wordy Puzzle. When you complete a puzzle, you'll get more than just the satisfaction of completing the puzzle! As long as you don't use the 'show solution' button to reveal the...
Added: 14 Mar 2015


Novelty Crosswords: Anagram Puzzles
An anagram crossword is a novelty type of crossword puzzle, in that it is a crossword variant that is both rare and is fundamentally different to a normal crossword puzzle. As you may have guessed, in an anagram crossword the clues are replaced with...
Added: 28 Mar 2015


Introduction To Wordwheel Puzzles
Word wheel puzzles are one of the simplest of all word puzzles, and belong to the set of word puzzles that are, essentially, anagrams. If you have ever played the game Countdown, then you will know the aim is to find the single longest word you can...
Added: 25 Mar 2015


Skeleton Crossword Solving Tips
Solving skeleton crosswords can be quite tricky, and experience helps. For those new to solving this puzzle type, what tips can we offer you to help you crack the Wordy Puzzles skeletons and thus gain the many points available for solving this tricky...
Added: 31 Mar 2015


Cryptic Crossword Anagram Indicators
When solving a cryptic crossword one thing you can be sure of is that there will be some anagram clues, or partial anagram clues, in the solving mix. Some cryptic crosswords have over 50% of the clues containing anagrams in some form, whilst even the...
Added: 16 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