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Prompted by this question:

I wonder if we really should have both tags and . It is confusing to the user searching for examples.

If we want to keep both, then we should enforce the use of only for questions which really combine mulitple clues into a crossword puzzle.

However, I think, overall, we should discourage posting of individual cryptic-clues as separate puzzles to avoid a spam-flood of such posts.

Instead, several such clues should be combined into a real crossword puzzle (or some other 'combination' of the solutions) to form a bigger, better puzzle.

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I think the two are distinct. One refers to puzzles using cryptic-crossword-style clues, (some puzzles use several of them, and may have other elements as well), while the other refers to actual cryptic crosswords, where there is a grid of words to fill in.

If they are being used incorrectly, it is up to the community to edit the tags. I just removed from the example you presented, because it doesn't belong there.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, but that is nonsense nevertheless, because we also have a crossword tag on its own, so one can always search/filter for cryptic-clues AND crossword. On second thought I d say we should merge the cryptic-crossword tag into cryptic-clues and potentially edit some tagging to have crossword as a tag on cryptic-crossword puzzles. Also makes sense as users will find those puzzles when filtering crossword only, which would be natural starting point for many... $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Jul 15 '16 at 6:18
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I think the three tags , , and refer to distinct things and each is useful. I think it's reasonable that a user might want to do an actual complete cryptic crossword puzzle, and use that tag to search for any that have been submitted. At the same time, a puzzle like this would be an odd result for a user expecting a cryptic crossword, but heavily relies on cryptic clues nonetheless.

I think it's clear that there are fans of cryptic clues around here, whether or not they're used in a standard crossword format, and so they may want to find any puzzle that has a cryptic-clue component.

I think the best way forward is your suggestion to more rigorously apply the tags. I suggested a couple changes to the tag wikis that might help and will re-tag some myself.

An added issue here is that "cryptic" is similar to "mysterious" or "enigmatic", and so the tag cryptic-clues seems to have been applied to a lot of questions that aren't crossword-style cryptic-clues, but are "mysterious", which further confounds things...

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