Cryptic Crossword Clues

(feel free to come up with a better title)

Anyway, inspired by finally trying (and completing, with only a little cheating) a cryptic crossword for the first time in ages, I figured it might make for a fun game here.

Compose puzzles here, or list favourites, maybe have a different thread for answers.

For starters, one from the Private Eye crossword I did earlier that I liked:

Princess-to-be stocks sulphur instead of carbon for pharmacist (9)

I hate those, well maybe not hate, just get very frustrated with them to not stick with them enough to get good.

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I guess I should add something like this if I’m hoping people will try it.

I suck at them, but I used to work with a few people who were interested and we’d do the Times ones at lunchtime, and my mum’s good at the Telegraph one.

As far as I can tell, you need to learn the quirks of the person that compiles them, the phrases they like to use.

Oh MrsTobinL loves them. I got a NYT puzzle subscription at xmas as I have come to love a regular crossword. But the cryptic ones not so much.

Okay, I think the “sulphur instead of carbon” means I need to replace a “C” with an “S” somewhere… and I’m lost from there.

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Something to do with Cinderella or another fairytale prince’s bride? Cinders contain a lot of carbon and “Cinderella” starts with “C”, but I may be barking up the wrong tree there. I don’t think I’ve ever fully completed a cryptic crossword.

The Nation crossword is a favorite in my household.


DISPENSER. I assume the clue is an old one?


Nah, it was from the most recent one.

Now you have to come up with a clue. :smile:

I can solve them, but setting them is almost beyond me.

yeah, the only thing that comes to mind

bloody battle against southern friend.



Just finished Harper’s September 2016 puzzle “Foursomes”!


December 2016 Harper’s puzzle is hurting my brain, so that makes three ailing organs I have now. The theme is “replacements” so eight answers need altering before they can be entered in the diagram. I have most of the “straightforward” (i.e. no need to be altered) ones. Some I’m feeble-minded at, or don’t have a satisfactory lexicon for.

“Make like a Middle Eastern country, providing stickier development around university.” (9)
Thinking STICKIER+U.
Pattern: ?U??I???E
This is found only in the Oxford English Dictionary. I have the Concise one.


“Scriptural experts in mistranslation get axe–it’s true!” (10)
Thinking: Anagram AXE+ITS+TRUE
Pattern: TEXT???IES (Textuaries?)
SOLVED! – thanks @daneel for confirmation

“There’s a lot of interest in these upper-class British–sure is sad” (7)
This entry’s initial is the fifth letter of the immediately above ten-letter clue
Pattern: U???IE?


“Kitchen cleaner, pal, sick at heart” (6)
Thinking: BONAMI anagram
Pattern: ?/I???
first character probably a consonant. Fourth letter a consonant.

ETA 17 Nov: SOLVED! Sick at heart: ??ILL? Pal: BRO

I’d say so.

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There’s a lot of interest - Usuries?

Upper-Class British is U (vs non-U?)

“Sure is” mixed up?

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Ta. Sometimes the initials run beyond one word. USURIES (U+“sad” SUREIS) gives me PRAOGUENOSIS for “Forecast: prisons go wild” (9) so this is a help for figuring out what the replacements are. I was trying to work out UB or UK.

This is completely solved now. I never solve these in one go. Themed puzzles that sacrifice cohesion with intersecting entries make me feel slow-witted.

If I win a subscription I will deliver an issue with clean crossword grid to you after I read it.
If I win and move out of the country, I offer you enjoyment of the remainder of my subscription via change of address.


Another month, another puzzle:

This one has a novel grid format. I could, and may, scan and present what I have so far. It’s not across and down.


  1. Sets off to eat anything on board–it’s hardly fast food! (9)
    Pattern: ?S?A???S [ETA]ESCARGOTS - thanks @jerwin!

  2. It goes over the neck and another part of the face, but there’s nothing in it (5)
    (I want to put down ‘NOOSE’: over the neck; NO+(O)+SE; nothing in another part of the face. I don’t know what letters to put where because of how the grid is. Answer to #5 is going to help me loads)
    Answer: NOOSE. ESCARGOTS placed helped me direct NOOSE.

  3. “I’m fit to be tied!” (Sentence delivered just before getting applause)(7)
    [ETA]: BOWLINE Bow just before getting applause; Line, sentence delivered. Bowline is fit to be tied, because it’s a line that is knotted.

  4. Some Olympians (six hundred) reaching peaks (7)
    Pattern: VICTORS
    [ETA]: ESCARGOTS intersects. Six = VI, Hundred = C. I kept thinking DC for 600. Derp.

  5. Rest left behind? That’s very funny online (4)
    Pattern: L???