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Solving Cryptic Crossword Clues

Double Definitions

The simplest kind of additional hint in a cryptic clue is a second definition.

For example, BASE can mean "ignoble" or "foundation" So a cryptic clue for BASE might read: Ignoble foundation (4). See if you can solve these "double definition" clues:

Cricketers use these flying mammals (4)

Yearn for quite a while (4)

Yearn for a tree (4)

For this type of clue to be valid, the two definitions must relate to distinct meanings of the solution. Two synonyms would not be acceptable. For example, as a clue for the word KIND, "Sort variety" would be a bad clue, but "Benevolent type" would be acceptable.

Also, just like other types of clue, the surface meaning must make sense. What this means is that, if we forget for the moment that this is a crossword clue and just read it as a phrase or sentence we might encounter in a passage of prose, it should be coherent.

So, for example, Trees cricket trophy (5) would be a terrible clue for ASHES. Although it consists of a double definition, there is no way that it can be read so as to make sense, or even amusing nonsense.

If you would like practice with this type of clue, here are some additional examples<.

Spoil a short month (3)

Nothing for romance (4)

Put up with an animal (4)

Leave out a container for rubbish (4)

Expensive honey (4)

Armour in the post (4)

Instant credit (4)

Go over ice for fish (5)

Sound warning for a temptress (5)

Run away from infertile area (6)

A fast train, say (7)

Normal sort of flag (7)

Car plant (5)

Fish detected by its odour? (5)

Next: Cryptic Definitions

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