The 'normal' cryptic clue usually consists of a definition and a subsidiary clue to the word, either element coming first. The subsidiary element could be another definition, component parts, an anagram, a hidden word, a reversal etc. or any combination. Chambers Crossword Manual by Don Manley is currently the best guide to solving and creating cryptic clues. In his book he lists 8 types of cryptic clue with examples.
The clue types are :
Each PD clue is a passage from which the printer has removed a hidden answer, closing the gap, taking liberties with punctuation and spacing, but not disturbing the order of the other letters. Each passage, when complete, makes sense. Thus the clue 'Ximenes once had a solver in hobo, I'm told!' gives the answer ARTS. The original passage is 'Ximenes once had a solver in Hobart, so I'm told'
Definition and Letter-Mixture
In each DLM clue there is a definition (one word or more) and a mixture of the letters of the required answer. Although Ximenes often did not follow this rule, it is nowadays common to find the letter-mixture beginning with the beginning or ending of word in the clue. Thus the clue 'An old champion is questioned about solving a word puzzle' gives the answer 'wardog' defined by the words ' an old champion'.
In a PF code square, of 5 by 5 cells, letters of a key-word, in which no letter recurs, precede the rest of the alphabet in order: I does duty for I and J.
To encode a word, split it into pairs of letters thus: EI NS TE IN. If letters of a pair occur in the same rank in the square, use letters to right of each (for last letter of rank use first letter). If in the same column, use letters below each ( for bottom letter of coumn use top letter); otherwise treat them as limits of a rectangle and use limits of opposite diagonals. Thus EI = DK, not KD, which = IE). Result: DK PL BT GQ. Then join them into one word DKPLBTGQ. Comparison of the encoded letters with those in their normal forms yields some code equations, from which the code-square used is to be deduced.
The Playfair code was invented by the Victorian scientist Charles Wheatstone, who famously designed the Wheatstone bridge for measuring resistance in electricity. His friend Lyon Playfair made it more popular and it was used by the British Army in the First World War.
To solve the code you may find using a set of 25 Scrabble tiles a help. As
an example, consider these coded words. STANDING=UQNFODGB, AIRWAY=ENIVSX,
SPRAYS=AQNMSG. As a general rule a letter will stand in the same row or column
as its coded form. A pair such as AN=NF indicates that all three letters
are in the same column or row,in the order ANF. Similarly NG=GB. A pair such
as DI=OD may also show that the three letters are in the same tranche but
in the order IDO or with one letter at the end of its row or column. Compare
With pairs such as RW=IV or AY=SX it is often, but not always, good strategy to place the letters VWXYZ in the last row, as these letters are less commonly used in English words.
Another tactic is to consider any letter which is encoded by the following letter of the alphabet. In the pair SP=AQ this might indicate that as P and Q are a sequential pair, then A might precede S directly in the grid. After a process of trial and error it should be possible to enter all the pairings into the 5 by 5 grid and guess the key-word.
These examples are based on a Playfair code-square with MEASURING as the key-word.
A clue of this type can be read in two ways. One reading gives the subsidiary indication of how the answer is to be formed ( and possibly also a brief definition: a second reading provides a full definition of the answer. The clue ' I'm one involved with cost (9)' gives the solution ECONOMIST (anag I'm one and cost: whole clue is also a definition).
A clue in which the letters of the answer added to, or sometimes subtracted from, other specified letters, may be arranged to form part of the clue.
Example: 'Butchering these market animals could provide you with a _________ steak (12)'
Solution:SIMMENTHALER ('These market animals' can be arranged as 'a SIMMENTHALER steak')
From the answer to each such clue in a crossword one letter has to be removed, every time it occurs, before entry in the diagram. Definitions in clues refer to the full unmutilated answers; subsidiary indications to the mutilated forms which constitute the lights. Numbers in brackets refer to the full answers.
Example:'He takes letter and fiercely erases fifth one (9)'
Light: ARESSEE (anag. + E)
Latent Letter D
Often, but not always, the latent letters taken in clue order, spell out a message of some kind.
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