Cranium-Cracking Cryptic Crosswords
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Welcome!

Thank you for visiting! My name is Tony Chesterley and for over 20 years I’ve enjoyed cryptic crosswords, the fiendishly addictive form of crossword invented in the United Kingdom. I draw inspiration from the many creative crossword writers who have imported the cryptic into the United States, and look to follow in their venerable footsteps. I began authoring my own cryptic crosswords in 2009, dissatisfied by the lack of American-friendly cryptics on our side of the Atlantic. My first book, Cranium-Cracking Cryptic Crosswords, was published in April 2012. I am in the final stages of editing Volume 2 and look forward to publishing it soon!

What are cryptic crosswords?

In a cryptic crossword, every clue is a puzzle unto itself, an innocent looking phrase (the surface reading) that offers two roads to its answer: a straight definition and a wordplay equation. The wordplay indication may involve charades, anagrams, word reversals, words within words, or other tricks. For example:

Least organized schedule (5)

The answer is SLATE, defined as “schedule.” The wordplay indication is “least organized,” which tells you the answer is an anagram (an arranged or “organized” version) of the letters in LEAST.

Visit my how-to page to learn more about the MacGyveresque beauty that is the cryptic crossword, and be sure to check out the free online crosswords on my puzzles page. Happy solving!