The Daily Mail Prize Crossword appears in the newspaper every day, and has previously been compiled by setters such as Roger Squires and Chris Feetenby. It offers a £20 prize to three correct winners drawn out of a hat, and one £1,500 prize for the Mail on Sunday Prize Crossword. Below we have put together some cryptic crossword puzzle help, with examples from the Daily Mail Prize Crossword to help you complete this particular puzzle.
Frequently in the Daily Mail Prize Crossword, clues can be split into two halves, with both halves leading you to the same answer. For example:
Clue: Plug city (4)
Explanation: A cork can be used as a plug, and it is also a city.
Clue: Label exactly the right thing (6)
Explanation: A ticket is a label, and the saying “just the ticket” means something is exactly the right thing.
Clue: House in Isle of Man or Skye demolished (4)
Explanation: The House of Keys is parliament in the Isle of Man, and keys is an anagram of Skye.
Clue: Crudely lay down inferior wine (5)
Explanation: Plonk is wine, and to plonk something down is to lay it down.
Clue: Adjust these to admit more light for flowers (6)
Explanation: Irises are flowers, as well as a part of the eye that lets in light.
Clue: He criticises what’s used to announce entrance (7)
Explanation: To criticise something is to knock it, and knocker also refers to a door knocker.
The word hospital in the clue often means that the letter H will appear in the answer:
Clue: Hospital fruit has no power to produce pulse (7)
Explanation: Apricot, plus H.
Clue: Mop up hospital almost wrecked by this animal? (12)
Explanation: Animal beginning with H.
As with many cryptic crosswords, anagrams are often used:
Clue: How clocks vary in loyal NZ perhaps (7)
Explanation: Anagram of “loyal NZ”.
Clue: This cost shocked UK national (8)
Explanation: Anagram of “this cost”.
Clue: Extreme left-winger overturned legal infringement (4)
Explanation: Trot is tort “overturned”.
The word initially refers to the initials of certain words in the clue appearing in the answer:
Clue: Initially many unpleasant flies around horse (7)
Explanation: Answer uses initials of “many unpleasant”, and the word “gnats” for flies is reversed.
Sometimes each word or phrase in the clue gives you two or three letters which when put together create a one word answer:
Clue: County defeat American giant (8)
Explanation: Co comes from county, a defeat is a loss, and American giant refers to the US.
Clue: Wartime allies turned over houses to solve puzzle (6)
Explanation: Wartime allies US and UK have been reversed (“turned over”) and do is added between them to create the puzzle Sudoku.
Clue: Ring wife or daughter for some trendy jargon
Explanation: Buzz refers to ringing someone, the W comes from wife, and the D comes from daughter, with “or” in between them.
Other tactics include hiding the answer backwards within the clue, using words that sound like other words, and other more straightforward clues:
Clue: Section of code man resubmitted turns up as his ID (8)
Explanation: The answer is hidden backwards in the clue: “code man resubmitted”.
Clue: Stick one's nose in prize, say (6)
Explanation: Sounds like medal.
Clue: Real-life documentary killed by newspaper (3-2-3-4)
Answer: Fly on the wall
Explanation: Refers to a fly on the wall documentary.
Clue: Fool filling beakers with liquor (7)
Explanation: A muggins is a fool, and the liquor in this case is gin, the beakers being mugs.
Clue: Latin-American lost his feeling of terror (5)
Explanation: Answer can read Hispanic or his panic.
Clue: Comedy actor's no good as boxer (3)
Explanation: Refers to both boxer Muhammad Ali and comedian Ali G.
We hope this crossword puzzle help has provided some insight into what to look out for when working with cryptic clues. For more crossword help, take a look at our crosswords section