‘When are personal names not personal …?’
LESSON 16 in ‘How to solve cryptic crosswords’
Cryptic crossword compilers will often use personal names or start a word with a capital to suggest it is a proper noun - just to throw you off the scent.
Many personal names are also common nouns or verbs e.g. bill, daisy, frank, herb, pearl, sally, smith and thatcher … so don't let a capital letter mislead you.
On the other hand, the clue may indeed refer to a particular person, place or event in history!
The gods of Greek and Roman mythology seem to be favourites of many compilers and you will often find allusions to film stars, as well as historical, literary and biblical characters in various cryptic clues.
A good general knowledge helps, but so does the Chandler Cryptic Clue Solver. It contains hundreds of names and proper noun references on subjects as diverse as gangsters, graces, authors and actors. It will be available very soon.
If it's still all Greek to you, wait-there's more ...
Lesson 17: Foreign language
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