Sunday Times Crossword

16:30 Thu 31st Oct 2013 |
Cryptic crosswords can be difficult even when you are used to the setter’s way of thinking. We’ve compiled a list of tips and examples from the Sunday Times crossword to help you on your way to completion and another Sunday morning well spent.
Wordplay in the Sunday Times often involves using the first or last letter of one part of the clue, and adding it to the beginning or end of the solution to the second part of the clue. For example:
Clue: It's rumoured tango dance has authority (4,3)
Answer: They say
Explanation: “They say” means “it’s rumoured”. The T comes from the first letter of tango, “hey” as in dance, and finally “say” refers to the authority part of the clue.
Clue: Caught try by forward in the end (5)
Answer: Heard
Explanation: Heard refers to a conversation being caught. Hear is try, and the D at the end comes from the end of “forward”.
Clue: Siemens staff, but not the number one, all there (4)
A cane is a staff. The first letter is removed (“not the number one”), and the S comes from Siemens, which replaces the first letter C to make sane, as in “all there”.
Clue: Pick up trousers? No, just shell suit (6)
Answer: Hearts
Explanation: Hearts is a suit in playing cards. “Hear” comes from pick up, and TS on the end comes from trousers.
Sometimes each word or phrase in the clue will be its own individual puzzle to solve, and the letters within the answers are put together to give you the solution:
Clue:Son's offence, stealing glossy handbags (9)
Answer: Scrimmage
Explanation: The S comes from son, “crim” and the e on the end come from crime, as in stealing, and glossy refers to magazines, giving you “mag”.
The answer to the given clue may sound like one word or phrase, but be spelled differently:
Clue: As they say, dice completely white? (3,4)
Answer: Cue ball
Sounds like “cube all” – cube as in dice, and all as in completely.
Clue: Sounds like ecstasy reduced for a tenant (6)
Answer: Lessee
Explanation: Sounds like “less E”, as in ecstasy, and a lessee is someone who holds the lease of a property.
Often, the answer to the clue is hidden within the clue itself:
Clue: Beautiful lady to a certain extent proves the rule (6)
Answer: Esther
Explanation: Answer is hidden in the clue – proves the rule.
Clue: Runner bean obscures little tomato at front (4) 
Answer: Bolt
Explanation: Bolt is made up of the first letters of “bean obscures little tomato”, and refers to runner Usain Bolt.
Clue: A bit repeated by property expert (3)
Answer: Per
Explanation: Per appears in two words in the clue - property expert.
Sometimes the answer to the clue will be a word with multiple meanings which covers all aspects of the clue:
Clue: The talent present (4)
Answer: Gift
Explanation: Gift means both talent and present.
Clue: Wild cuckoo cracked nuts (6)
Answer: Insane
Explanation: All four words in the clue can mean insane.
Anagrams are also a commonly-used device:
Clue: Model did many a service? She would, wouldn't she! (5,4-6)
Answer: Mandy Rice-Davies
Explanation: Model, anagram of “did many a service”.
Clue: This may be the norm in a slum (14)
Answer: Malnourishment
Explanation: Anagram for “the norm in a slum”.
Other clues are more straightforward:
Clue: How might I describe old railwaymen in sport? (3,6)
Answer: Run around
Explanation: NUR is the National Union of Railwaymen, and “around” refers to NUR being run backwards.
Clue: The Sun is said to be what Manchester United fans buy (3,3)
Answer: Red top
Explanation: The Sun is referred to as a red top newspaper.
Clue: Fruit to give on leaving (4)
Answer: Date
Explanation: To give is to donate, remove “on” to get date.
Clue: Criticism over dress that's not automatic (5,5)
Answer: Stick shift
Explanation: Stick means criticism, shift refers to a shift dress, and a car with stick shift is manual, not automatic.
Clue: Go round singular French city (4)
Answer: Tour
Explanation: Tours is a city in France.
Clue: Like eggs in New York? Too Simple (4,4)
Answer: Over easy
Explanation: Over easy is a way to fry eggs.
The following clues have appeared in the Sunday Times more than once, and so may be useful to know:
Clue: No yen for the other in the corner (4)
Answer: Nook
Explanation: A bit of the other is nooky, and then you take off the Y in yen to get nook.
Clue: Condiment well spoken of (5)
Answer: Sauce
Explanation: Sauce sounds like source, as in a well.
We hope this cryptic crossword puzzle help is useful for you, and offers some insight into the way clues are set. For more crossword help, take a look at our crosswords section.

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