& Lit Clues

The term & lit. is a contraction of "and literally so". It refers to a special type of cryptic clue - one which consists of a cryptic indication of the solution but which contains no definition part. Instead, the clue as a whole functions as the definition.

If this is not immediately clear, an example may elucidate. Consider the following clue for VILE:

Terribly evil (4)

Here we have a a simple cryptic indication: anagram indicator (terribly) and anagram fodder (evil). But the whole clue also functions as a straightforward definition of the solution.

Many cryptic crossword devotees regard the & lit clue with particular veneration. Such clues are not encountered every day, because devising a good original & lit clue is no easy task. Here are a few more examples:

Angered? Awfully! (7)

Some insane Roman (4)

Some careless language (5)

An eccentric without a bit of decorum is seen (6)

One's cold to walk over (6)

Exercising charity's in it (12)

Next: Conclusion

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