David Tossman’s Crossword Webskite

See verso.net.nz for answers to current Listener puzzle clues (revealed individually, no spoilers). The site also has answers to the Kropotkin crosswords in the New Zealand Herald.



Numerous books, including a couple by yours truly no longer in print and one very much available , have been written on how to solve cryptic crosswords. Probably a greater number of websites now tackle the same subject. For novices I recommend particularly Theresa Cunninghan's and Peter Biddlecombe's efforts.


In addition:


AnaxCrosswords. Anax (aka Dean Mayer) is a setter for The Independent; he is Loroso in the Financial Times, Elkamere in the Telegraph Toughie series, and sets anonymously for The Times. He also sets the Sunday Times Concise Crossword and, under his real name, sets one in three of the Sunday Times cryptic crosswords


Australian Crosswords. David Stickley's site features a rich array of resources. See especially the Stickler Boxed sets of fresh puzzles, ideal as gifts for the cryptic crossword enthusiast (or treats for yourself, naturally).


Crossword Unclued has 300+ articles with solving tips, descriptions of clue types, analysis of clueing trends/patterns in publications and lots of crossword trivia. More links to more discussions, analysis, arguments and so on too.


Cryptic Crosswords from Big Dave

Help and advice on solving cryptic crosswords together with a large collection of puzzles. An excellent resource including ...


Cryptic Crosswords – the Rules by Anax

Dean Mayer (aka Anax) explore the rules which crossword setters use  in the hope that this will give solvers pointers towards some of the tell-tale signs of clue construction.


The Guardian Crossword Blog by Alan Connor is updated weekly with news, discussion and analysis of clues from the cryptic crosswords in all the English broadsheets: The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, plus Private Eye.


Guardian Crossword Trivia offers an interesting statistical analysis of words used and difficulty levels. Clever work, highly trivial as advertised.


Fifteen Squared is a multi-blogger site giving annotated answers to crosswords in the Financial Times, Guardian, the Independent, the Sunday Telegraph and Private Eye.  The Times has its own enthusiasts' blog.


The Crossword Man features a treasury of software and further links related to crosswords.


rec.puzzles.crosswords is a discussion group that has been running since 1992 mainly devoted to clue-writing competitions and discussions, sometimes heated, about various puzzles and clues. You might learn a lot from these discussions. I did.


Stephen Sondheim's paean to the cryptic crossword appeared in a 1968 issue of New York magazine. Aimed at Americans completely unfamiliar with the cryptic, it gives a good summary of clue types along with its enthusiastic description of the delights these puzzles can bring.


Theresa's Cryptic Crosswords offers a clear solving guide and a selection of good, approachable puzzles by Theresa Gies/Cunningham in Florida. A few of the clues have US references that may be too obscure for Non-USians. (But then my puzzles too sometimes have local references. I think they should.)


Thinks.com  is put together by Michael Curl, a British crossword writer and braingames enthusiast. His homepage has an good number of links and other material (including toys and other products) for crossword enthusiasts and brain-gamers. His puzzles tend to be at the harder end of the British scale.


Yet Another Guide to Cryptic Crosswords by Peter Biddlecombe is an excellent collection of information and thoughtful comment, and has a very useful book list. Were it not for the alphabetical scheme in this list, Peter Biddlecombe's site would be much nearer the top of this list. And yet another set of excellent links here too.

Derrick Somerset Macnutt (1902–1971) was a British crossword compiler (and isn't he the very image?) who provided crosswords for The Observer newspaper under the pseudonym Ximenes. He was one of the principal influences on the modern style of cryptic crossword.


His book, Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword, laid down what many regard as the essential "rules of the game".

The rare American

Cryptic crosswords are not much seen or done in the US.


Stephen Sondheim, the famous American composer and lyricist, is also a less famous cryptic crossword enthusiast and setter for New York magazine.


His 1968 article explaining and praising cryptics for Americans remains a classic.