I have a couple of books of cryptic crosswords from the Times (of London) that I've been working through. Unfortunately, I'm not terribly good at them, and I don't know a lot of UK-specific references, so I often have to resort to looking at the answers in the back. But all that's provided in the back of the book are the answers, and not the cluing, which often leaves me none the wiser as to how the answer was clued.

Would it be appropriate for me to regularly post a batch of several cryptic clues that have confused me, with the answers in spoilers, and ask for explanations of them? I'd probably want to make such a post once a month or so. The idea occurred to me after seeing this question, which is a one-off version of the sort of post I'm talking about.


2 Answers 2


Asking for an explanation of a cryptic clue is on-topic. This may be deduced from the existence of the tags and :)

Asking about a bunch in one question is... less good. There is a close reason for having multiple disconnected questions within a single question. Reasons behind this include:

  • Some people may only know a single clue's explanation. They would be more likely to answer if that clue was by itself, as then their answer would be able to address the whole question.
  • But then why can't people just post answers to the ones they know? This runs into the problem of having a single accepted answer. You could only ever reward one answer for being the "right" one, even if multiple have right answers!
  • If a compound answer is posted, part of it could be right while the rest is wrong. How are others supposed to vote on this answer? Voting it up would reward incorrectness, and voting it down would punish correctness. A vote one way or the other might be for part of the answer or all of it, and there would be no way to tell.

There is a main-meta question addressing when you have multiple questions to ask at once.

(Someone may ask why cryptic crosswords are allowed, then, since they have a lot of cryptic clues contained within one question. The answer is that, due to the crossing of words, the answers are interrelated.)

How about simply posting a new question whenever a difficult clue comes up? As long as the number of questions is limited (e.g. 1-2 a week seems fair) and they're not of poor quality, it shouldn't bother most people. Think of it as providing more quality content for the site!


Bobble's answer covers the on-topicness of cryptic crossword clues to PSE, but I would also point out that for the Times specifically, you can get annotated solutions to (almost) every puzzle at Times for The Times.

  • $\begingroup$ Unfortuantely, the books of puzzles I'm working from don't provide the original publication dates of the puzzles. So it would be hard to find the post in the archives that talks about a particular puzzle. $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2022 at 11:48
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelSeifert The search function on that site seems to work for words within the cryptic clue, including using quotes to get exact matches of phrases. $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2022 at 14:50

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