BEGINNER video: How to solve a cryptic crossword

Cracking The Cryptic
30 Dec 201732:42
32 Likes 10 Comments

TLDRThe video script is a comprehensive guide on solving cryptic crosswords, focusing on the basics. The speaker emphasizes that every clue has a definition at its core, which is crucial for solving the puzzle. They walk through a specific cryptic crossword from The Times, explaining various techniques such as anagrams, hidden words, and abbreviations. The video aims to demystify cryptic crosswords for beginners and encourage practice for improvement, highlighting that with patience and skill, anyone can master these puzzles.

  • πŸ“ The foundation of solving cryptic crosswords is identifying the definition within each clue, which is crucial for finding the answer.
  • πŸ” Clues often contain a mix of code and wordplay that, when deciphered, reveals how to construct the answer.
  • 🧩 Cryptic crosswords can be viewed as a quick crossword with extra information that needs to be ignored to find the answers.
  • 🎯 The beginning or end of a clue usually contains the definition needed to start solving the puzzle.
  • πŸ”€ Abbreviations are frequently used in crosswords and are supported by dictionaries, such as Chambers Dictionary.
  • πŸ’‘ Wordplay in clues can hint at anagrams, hidden words, or switches in letters to create the correct answer.
  • 🌐 Familiarity with common abbreviations and their meanings is key to solving many cryptic crossword puzzles.
  • πŸ”’ Letter manipulation, such as switching or removing letters, is a common technique used in clues to form the answer.
  • 🌍 Knowledge of geographical locations and their abbreviations can assist in solving crosswords that involve place names.
  • πŸ“– Understanding the structure of clues and the principles of wordplay is more important than knowing specific answers.
  • πŸš€ Practice improves proficiency in solving cryptic crosswords, making them an achievable challenge for anyone interested.
Q & A
  • What is the main focus of the video?

    -The main focus of the video is to provide a beginner's guide to solving cryptic crosswords, specifically using an example from The Times.

  • What is the first piece of advice given for solving cryptic crosswords?

    -The first piece of advice is that every single clue in a cryptic crossword has a definition which must always be at the beginning or the end of the clue.

  • How does the speaker describe the process of solving cryptic crosswords?

    -The speaker describes the process as treating every cryptic crossword as a quick crossword, where the extra information is essentially a code that explains how to create the answer.

  • What is the first example clue discussed in the video?

    -The first example clue discussed is 'Cheers, prior at the outset with a very odd spelling thereof prior', which is a cryptic way of saying the answer is 'tap', a recording device.

  • What is the significance of abbreviations in cryptic crosswords?

    -Abbreviations are significant in cryptic crosswords because they are liberally used and must be supported by the dictionary, such as 'T' standing for 'time' or 'tenor', 'Thailand', etc.

  • How does the speaker approach explaining the clues?

    -The speaker approaches explaining the clues by breaking down each part of the clue, identifying the definition, and then explaining the word play and how to use it to find the answer.

  • What is the strategy suggested for solving anagrams in cryptic crosswords?

    -The strategy suggested is to think about the ending of the word you're trying to find, especially when dealing with long anagrams, and to use the principles of the clues to guide you.

  • What is the purpose of the 'initially noted this high position in series' clue?

    -The purpose of the 'initially noted this high position in series' clue is to demonstrate a type of clue where the answer is hidden within the words of the clue itself.

  • How does the speaker encourage viewers to improve at cryptic crosswords?

    -The speaker encourages viewers to improve by practicing and using the principles discussed in the video, emphasizing that while not everyone may be able to solve them quickly, it is achievable with time and effort.

  • What is the final example clue discussed in the video?

    -The final example clue discussed is 'Find recording sad', which requires a five-letter word for 'recording' and a four-letter word for 'sad' to create the complete answer.

🧩 Introduction to Solving Cryptic Crosswords

The speaker begins by discussing feedback from friends about the channel's content and a request to revisit the basics of solving cryptic crosswords. They acknowledge a tendency to assume viewers are familiar with earlier content, which may not always be the case. The speaker decides to solve a recent cryptic crossword from The Times, focusing on fundamental principles. They emphasize that every clue in a cryptic crossword has a definition at the beginning or end, followed by a code that requires wordplay to decipher. The speaker aims to demonstrate that, with basic crossword skills, these puzzles can be solved by learning to read the clues properly.

πŸ“š Understanding Cryptic Clues and Abbreviations

The speaker delves into the specifics of cryptic clues, highlighting the importance of recognizing abbreviations and how they are supported by dictionaries. They use the example of the letter 'T' and its various meanings, such as 'time', to illustrate this point. The speaker also discusses how setters can mislead solvers with wordplay and definitions, but the clues must always be fair and accurate. They provide examples of how to identify and use abbreviations within clues to solve for words, such as 'Trent' for a river and 'prefect' for a senior pupil.

🌿 Wordplay and Common Abbreviations in Crosswords

The speaker continues to unravel the intricacies of cryptic crosswords by discussing common abbreviations and their use in wordplay. They explain how rivers are often represented by the letter 'R' and how this can be utilized in solving clues. The speaker also touches on how certain words, like 'conservative', can have multiple meanings in wordplay, including the letter 'C', the abbreviation 'con', or the word 'Tory'. They further illustrate this with examples, such as 'revert' for returning to an earlier position and 'printer' for a machine.

🎯 Hidden Answers and Clue Types in Cryptic Crosswords

The speaker focuses on different types of clues found in cryptic crosswords, including those that hide the answer within the clue itself. They provide an example where the word 'Brunei' contains the answer 'either'. The speaker also discusses a specific type of clue that appears in every Times crossword, which gives an answer without much effort. They explain how to identify and solve these clues, emphasizing the importance of practice and patience in improving crossword-solving skills.

πŸ” Solving Clues with Anagrams and Homophones

The speaker demonstrates how to tackle clues that require anagrams and homophones. They use the example of 'new leads on little battle' to explain how changing the first letters of 'little' and 'battle' can lead to the word 'gossip'. The speaker also covers clues that involve anagrams of phrases, such as 'permit not dear oddly' leading to 'printer'. They encourage viewers to practice these techniques and apply them to other clues in the crossword.

🌐 Applying Wordplay Principles to More Complex Clues

The speaker challenges viewers with more complex clues that involve anagrams and hidden words. They provide examples such as 'work stoppage fails to start transport the child produced' and 'somewhat grimy section of wheel', explaining how to extract and manipulate letters to find the correct answers. The speaker also touches on how to identify and use homophones and hidden clues within the crossword, encouraging viewers to apply the principles they've discussed to solve these more intricate puzzles.

πŸŽ“ Final Tips and Encouragement for Crossword Beginners

In the concluding paragraph, the speaker offers final tips and encouragement for beginners starting their journey with cryptic crosswords. They reiterate the importance of understanding the basics, such as definitions, wordplay, and abbreviations, and encourage viewers to practice regularly. The speaker expresses hope that the video has been helpful for beginners and assures long-time viewers that such foundational content will be provided periodically. They invite viewers to share their progress and end the video on a positive note, with a promise to continue exploring cryptic crosswords in future videos.

πŸ’‘Cryptic Crossword
A type of crossword puzzle that includes clues containing wordplay, such as anagrams, hidden words, or letters, and other forms of linguistic trickery. In the video, the host focuses on solving a cryptic crossword from The Times, emphasizing the importance of understanding the definition and code within each clue.
A puzzle statement or question that must be solved or answered in a crossword. In the context of the video, clues are integral to solving the cryptic crossword, with each containing a definition and a code that requires deciphering.
The part of a cryptic crossword clue that provides the answer's meaning or identity. It is crucial for solving the puzzle as it is the answer's starting or ending point.
A linguistic concept used in cryptic crosswords where words are manipulated or rearranged to form the answer. It includes anagrams, hidden words, homophones, and other word-based puzzles.
A word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase, often used in cryptic crosswords as a form of wordplay. It requires solvers to recognize the original word and then rearrange its letters according to the clue's instructions.
Concise forms of words or phrases that are commonly used in specific contexts, such as 'T' for 'time' or 'R' for 'river'. In cryptic crosswords, abbreviations are often hinted at through clues and must be recognized to solve the puzzle.
A method used in solving crosswords where solvers verify their answers by checking if they fit with the clues and the crossword grid. It's essential for ensuring accuracy and making progress in the puzzle.
πŸ’‘Cold Solving
A technique in solving crossword puzzles where solvers use the letters they have filled in to guess and fill in the remaining blanks without specific clues. It relies on pattern recognition and knowledge of common words or phrases.
πŸ’‘Hidden Words
A type of wordplay in which certain words or phrases are concealed within a string of text, and solvers must extract them to find the answer. This is a common feature in cryptic crosswords.
πŸ’‘Puzzle Solving Strategies
Systematic approaches or methods used to tackle and solve puzzles, such as cryptic crosswords. These strategies involve understanding the structure of clues, recognizing patterns, and applying knowledge of language and common abbreviations.
The act of repeatedly engaging in an activity to improve skills and gain proficiency. In the context of the video, practice is emphasized as a way to become better at solving cryptic crosswords over time.

The speaker discusses the basics of solving cryptic crosswords, emphasizing that every clue has a definition at the beginning or end.

The importance of understanding that the extra words in a clue are a code or wordplay that explains how to create the answer is stressed.

An example is given where 'Cheers' and 'prior at the outset' are used to deduce the recording device 'tap', highlighting the method of using word starts and definitions.

The use of abbreviations in cryptic crosswords is explained, with 'T' standing for 'time' being a common example.

The process of eliminating extra information to treat cryptic crosswords as quick crosswords is suggested as a strategy.

The speaker demonstrates how to solve a clue by explaining the meaning of 'senior pupil' and 'perfect after slight switch', leading to the answer 'prefect'.

The method of using common abbreviations, such as 'SE' for southeast, is illustrated in solving the clue for the vegetable name.

The concept of 'wordplay' is introduced, where the speaker uses the clue 'loud noise from River paddle' to explain how to construct the word 'wrong'.

The speaker advises on how to approach clues with multiple meanings, such as 'conservative', and how it can be used in wordplay.

The importance of recognizing hidden clues within the cryptic crossword is emphasized, with 'Brunei' being used as an example to find the answer 'either'.

The method of changing the first letters of words, as seen in the clue 'new leads on little battle', is explained to find the answer 'tattle'.

The speaker highlights the need to think about the purpose of every word in a clue, using 'machine permit not dear oddly' to solve 'printer'.

The process of anagramming is detailed, with the speaker showing how to use 'solo sit in' to find 'opposing partnership'.

The concept of removing letters as indicated by 'fails to start' in a clue is discussed, with the speaker guiding on how to solve 'work stoppage'.

The use of hidden words within clues is again highlighted, with the speaker mentioning 'somewhat grimy section of wheel' without revealing the answer.

The speaker explains how to use the final word of 'requirement' to solve a nine-letter word for 'proof', demonstrating the use of word endings in clues.

The method of anagramming letters from a word within a clue is shown, with 'hotels' being used to find the name of a country.

The speaker critiques a clue as 'dubious', showing an understanding of the quality and expectations of cryptic crossword clues.

The process of combining an abbreviation with an anagram is detailed, with 'Football Association' and 'site' being used to find a word for 'celebration'.

The concept of using cardinal points as abbreviations to form a word is explained, with the speaker guiding on how to solve 'put together using every cardinal point'.

The speaker guides on how to solve a clue by incorporating an article and a six-letter word meaning 'pay' within a US city name.

The final example involves finding a five-letter word for 'recording' and a four-letter word for 'sad' to complete the clue, demonstrating the complexity of cryptic crosswords.

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