Brian Edwards Media

1a. Indiscreetly release kitty. (3,3,3,3,2,3,3) Cryptic Crossword Nut Reveals All

If you, like me, are a cryptic crossword nut, the Weekend Herald will provide your most challenging and rewarding mental workout of the week.

You’ll also be aware that the common view that cryptic crosswords are more difficult than ‘ordinary’ crosswords is entirely incorrect. Once you’ve learnt the tricks of the trade and become familiar with the particular style of the compiler, the cryptic crossword is a walk in the park compared to its synonym-finding alternative.

Nonetheless, there are days when you will be stumped and face the demeaning (and costly) prospect of having to ring 0900XWORD to be told the answer/s. Those days are now over, my friend, for fans of the Weekend Herald’s  cryptic crossword at least.  That is because I am about to indiscreetly release kitty. (3,3,3,3,2,3,3.)

The Weekend Herald cryptic crossword is actually taken from the UK newspaper The Independent. And, if you go onto the Net, you can find a site which includes not only all the answers to The Independent’s cryptic crosswords, but also explanations by the compiler of how each clue was constructed and comments from nuts like myself on the more interesting clues. There are also solutions to cryptic crosswords in other British papers.

There are two  occasions to visit the site:

1.  When you’re totally stumped by a clue and are certain you’re never going to get the answer. 

To find your particular crossword: Go to the site; In the ‘site search’ box, type in the solution to any one  of the clues you did get and press ‘search’; The solutions to every Independent cryptic crossword in which that clue was used will then appear.  

2.  When you’ve successfully completed the crossword, but are uncertain how a  particular solution was arrived at or would like to read other people’s comments or make a comment yourself.

Cryptic crossword nuts in other centres may discover that their local rag also borrows from one of the UK papers, so it’s worth visiting the site to find out.

Spoiler Alert!

If you don’t want to learn the internet address for this site, DO NOT

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  1. Those new glasses take years off you.

  2. When really stumped for an answer to a cross word clue, I have used one of the many online crossword dictionaries. Type in the letters you have with blanks and you get a list of words from which to pick the most suitable answer. At least this still keeps you thinking and Alzheimers at bay.

    • When really stumped for an answer to a cross word clue, I have used one of the many online crossword dictionaries.

      Hmmm… that comes close to cheating (oneself) in my book. I don’t seek help other than from the dictionary or thesaurus, until I have either finished the crossword or given up.

  3. Rottweiler with schnausers initially attack braindead Irish blogger (5, 7)

  4. 4

    The cryptic crossword is too difficult for the majority of the Herald readers, so why waste time trying to make sense out of nonsense? Hardly anyone bothers with it. The Word Wheel and Word Builder are plenty challenging enough for the average person.

  5. Oh, I take it that occupying oneself with Word Wheel, and/or Word Builder is not “trying to makes sense out of nonsense”.
    The whole point of puzzles is trying to make sense out of nonsense.
    “If hardly anyone bothers with it’ I wonder why our media keep wasting space and time on airing it.
    As you are so knowledgeable about the “average reader” I am surprised you are not an editor.

    You stick to your puzzles and the rest of us will stick to ours.

    That way we can all “waste time” according to our whim.


  6. Thanks for the post. Now I can shamelessly cheat.
    I could be called a cryptic crossword slut.

    I have to know the answer (and figure out why). I have to know it now, not tomorrow, I am too busy doing that crossword.

    • Thanks for the post. Now I can shamelessly cheat.

      I also have to know the answer. But I don’t cheat. As I said, I only look up an answer when I’ve finally given up on the crossword as a whole. I don’t continue with other clues which may have been assisted thanks to letters from the looked-up answer. If you follow that reasoning!

  7. My mother-in-law showed me the techniques for solving cryptic crossword clues a few years ago, and I have never looked back. Each week I do the Listener cryptic (and regular) crossword with great enjoyment, and try to break my personal best speed record for solving the cryptic crossword (apx 20 minutes on a good week; on a bad week…don’t ask).

    When I was a child, my mother – a fan of the Dominion’s daily crossword – told me that looking up the answers was “cheating”, and thus (alas!) programmed me to feel guilty if I ever looked an answer up. As a result I, like BE, now only look up answers if I have totally given up on solving the crossword by myself.

    Recommended reading: David Sedaris’ amusing short essay on being a cryptic crossword addict: “21 Down”.

  8. Actually BE I do do the same. It is only when the entire crossword has been assaulted many times and there are a (hopefully very few)redoubts left resisting my frustrated ego that I resort to cheating.

    It is not about winning, it is about needing to know.

    I must be a frustrated journalist.

  9. Ah, my favourite part of the Herald. Not the standard cryptic (the Independent one), but the thing of malign and cruel beauty that is Kropotkin’s crossword. The enjoyment of my weekend depends almost entirely on – if not solving the whole thing – getting to within a couple of clues.
    For the rest of the week, I buy the DomPost, because on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday it has not only the Telegraph cryptic but also the Times cryptic. A great way to spend lunchtime…

  10. Dear Mystery
    I can usually wait until the next day if I can’t get a cryptic crossword out entirely. But do have to check.
    To be honest I find regular crosswords harder as they are really just thesaurus exercises whereas the cryptic actually spells it out for you, once you are on the setter’s frequency.
    I have issues with the new setter for The Christchurch Press’s cryptic, often clues seem inadequate, inaccurate or use some of the answer words in the clue, grrrr.
    I also feel for some of the younger, and less well read puzzle solvers, as many clues contain elements and references of almost antediluvian age.
    My favourite tricky clue was mentioned in a book (I can no longer remember the name of)
    clue: “e” (13)*

    obscurely yours
    Ian Dalziel

    PS: also I’m guessing a “sodmist”
    is – a cloud of invective… :- )

    *answer: senselessness

    • Dear Mystery I can usually wait until the next day if I can’t get a cryptic crossword out entirely. But do have to check.

      “e” (13) sense less ness = e Like it, but I would certainly have struggled on the day.

  11. Is it hubris if I say that I immediately knew the answer to Indiscreetly release kitty (3,3,3,3,2,3,3) ?