# Cryptic crossnumber (including hints)

Looking for a challenge? Try our cryptic crossnumber—with hints and tips so anyone can have a go!

Cryptic clues can sometimes be a little intimidating, especially if you are not familiar with how they work. However, they all share the same basic structure, and have to follow certain rules. Most clues come in two parts: the definition and the word-play. The definition is a word or phrase which simply means the same thing as the answer to the clue, and it can be found almost invariably at the start or end of the clue. The rest of the clue forms the word-play which constructs the answer in some non-literal way. This could be as an anagram, say, or built out of other unrelated words and initialisms.

Some key things to bear in mind: the clue has to be fair, the setter cannot add in irrelevant words to trick you, and once you know the answer it should make sense how the whole clue points to that answer. What the setter is allowed to do is to write the clue so that it’s meaning at face value distracts from it’s cryptic meaning, and this includes the punctuation, so it is usually best to try to ignore these as much as possible. That said, occasionally punctuation can have a cryptic meaning too, for example “?” can indicate that a clue requires lateral thinking, or that the definition does not literally mean the same thing as the answer.

Consider the following example:

American uncle turned over about Thursday’s calculations. [5]

The answer is MATHS. One must be careful not to be distracted by images of avuncular displeasure about forgetting to carry the one, and focus on the cryptic meaning. The definition is calculations—pretty simple. The phrases “turned over” and “about” are worth noting because they indicate how the word-play works. The “American uncle” refers to uncle SAM, and turning this over we get MAS. “Thursday” is commonly abbreviated to TH, and “about” shows that MAS needs to contain (or be about) TH, which yields the answer.

Below are some sequential hints to help with the cryptic crossnumber in issue 13. You can download a printable version of the crossnumber here.

#### Cryptic crossnumber

Each clue points to a word or phrase whose length is in square brackets [ ], which in turn points to a number whose length is in round brackets ( ). All clues have a unique answer and, as usual, no numbers begin with 0. Use of the internet is recommended for some clues. Set by Em—Dasher:

#### Across clues (click on a clue to view hints)

1 Breadmaker’s act mindful! [6,5] (2)
Hint 1

The “!” indicates that this might be an &lit clue, ie that the whole clue is both the definition and the word play.

Hint 2

What mindful act might someone who makes bread famously do in case there is a problem with one of the loaves?

Hint 3

Can you find synonyms for “breadmaker’s”, “act”, and “mindful” which fit together to form a well-known phrase?

3 Muddled cue in French from exclamation! [5] (1)
Hint 1

Here it is very important to ignore the surface meaning of the clue. The “!” is unlikely to indicate an \&lit clue in this case—it could just tie-in with “exclamation”, or it could indicate that every word has been chosen with great care.

Hint 2

The word “muddled” could be the definition in this clue, or it could indicate that part of the clue should be anagrammed.

Hint 3

It is possible that “French” indicates that part of the clue should be translated into French before proceeding, however knowing that the French for “cue” is “queue” wont help you here.

4 Heartless noble learner’s offspring is a Lord? [6] (3)
Hint 1

The definition in this clue is “Lord”, this could mean the word clued is a synonym like “peer” for example, or it could be the name of a famous lord because the “?” suggests that the definition may not be literal.

Hint 2

The word “heartless” in cryptic clues can often indicate that you should remove the middle letter(s) of a word.

Hint 3

In this case it may not be immediately obvious how to turn the word answer into a three-digit number. As a general rule, sports and games are a common source of unusual names for numbers; “Lord” here acts as a subtle hint for where to look.

6 Magazine formation. [4,4,3] (3)
Hint 1

“Formation” could in theory indicate an anagram, however “magazine” doesn’t have enough letters so it’s more likely that this clue is a double definition.

Hint 2

As a general rule, sports and games are a common source of unusual names for numbers; what might the word “formation” mean in such a context?

Hint 3

Are there an well-known magazines whose name takes after a type of formation?

9 Roman god’s first saint replaced by church tie. [5] (2)
Hint 1

If we assume that the definition is “tie”, a plausible way to interpret the clue is: a word meaning “Roman god” will have letters coming from “first saint” replaced by letters coming from “church”.

Hint 2

Looking up a list of the names of Roman gods is a tempting route, but unlikely to yield results.

Hint 3

“Church” is commonly abbreviated in cryptic clues to C, CH, or CE (for Church of England).

#### Down clues (click on a clue to view hints)

1 Batting team adds energy to sindarin. [6] (2)
Hint 1

The word “sindarin” is perhaps a little unfair, it comes from JRR Tolkein’s invented language of the Elves in Middle Earth, and means “relating to or concerning Elves”.

Hint 2

“Adds energy” might suggest that we need to add an abbreviation for “energy” to a word coming from another part of the clue.

Hint 3

In this clue, the definition is “batting team”.

2 Enumerate, on reflection, a sleuth’s base for a tart. [3] (3)
Hint 1

This clue comes in two parts: the second half is the actual cryptic clue, and the first half provides instructions on how to turn the answer into a three-digit number.

Hint 2

The word “base” can often clue the letter “e” because this is the base of the natural logarithm.

Hint 3

To get a number from your three-letter word, first reflect that word in a mirror, and then turn the reflected characters into numbers. From context, there will be an obviously correct way to do this, eg:

5 Gain height without width requires, apparently, German Bee repellent? [5] (3)
Hint 1

This clue requires a little lateral thinking as indicated by the “?”. Ignore the other punctuation and think about how “apparently” might indicate you should think about “German Bee”.

Hint 2

What is another word meaning “gain height”?

Hint 3

The surface meaning suggests width might refer to whatever is gaining height—ignoring this, width might indicate an abbreviation perhaps.

7 Introduction of sphere’s central goal. [5] (2)
Hint 1

“Introduction” might be the definition here, but it could also indicate how to use “sphere” as part of the clue.

Hint 2

As with “introduction”, “central” could be directly a part of the clue, suggesting a synonym, or it could meant to take the middle letter(s) of another word in the clue. It seems unlikely to be pointing to the centre of “goal”, “oa”, say.

Hint 3

Although not directly part of the word play, what name is given to the central part of a sphere, like a planet for example?

8 Caesar’s parade lacks acidity and meets very angry power-share. [11] (1)
Hint 1

This is perhaps the most obscure clue in the puzzle. What name is given to the type of parade thrown to celebrate the victories of Roman generals like Caesar?

Hint 2

To interpret the meaning of “acidity” in this clue, think about how a chemist might measure the level of acidity of a substance.

Hint 3

The definition in this clue is “power-share”, again the reference to Caesar may help in working out which word is being clued here.

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