‘If it’s all Greek to you, look for quotations
or literary allusions ...’

LESSON 14 in ‘How to solve cryptic crosswords’

Some of the more literary-minded cryptic crossword compilers embed quotations and allusions within their clues and answers ... so to solve cryptic clues you need to be ready for anything!

A favourite, but difficult clue I have encountered is Belonging to the Lord (9). The answer is VENGEANCE (“'Vengeance is mine,' said the Lord”). This biblical quotation is quite well-known so a compiler would feel justified in using it. If, however, your knowledge of the Bible is somewhat patchy, don't worry, the soon-to-be-released Chandler Cryptic Clue Solver contains many of the more commonly-used biblical references and allusions.

Nursery rhymes are sometimes employed within cryptic clues and answers, for example Polly can refer to TEA GIRL (from the nursery rhyme, “Polly put the kettle on ...”).

Often cryptic crossword compilers will include classical references to Greek and Roman mythology. Unless your education has included a classical component (rare these days), you are unlikely to know that tragedy may refer to MELPOMENE, one of the Greek Muses, or that mythical twins may refer to CASTOR and POLLUX, the twin sons of Leda, who were transformed by Zeus into the constellation Gemini so they would not be separated.

Again, the Chandler Cryptic Clue Solver will help you and enable you to make sense of a clue even though your knowledge base may be different from the compiler's. It will be available soon.

Yes, punctuation does matter! Let's see why ...

Lesson 15: Punctuation

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