Cryptic Crosswords

This class has passed
This class has passed

What’s it all about?

Glory in the English language by dipping your toe into the refreshingly joyous art of the cryptic crossword.

Cryptic crosswords work by playing with the multiple meanings of words and deftly recasting them to form cunning linguistic designs. Every nook and cranny of the English language and world culture is welcome fodder for a cryptic crossword’s twists and turns, especially when connections arise in unexpected places (Presbyterians and Britney Spears are anagrams of each other!).

The class aims to have you understand how cryptic crosswords are put together and why they’re so fun and addictive. And with that to get you going, you should be able to start solving clues on your own and look at words in a whole new light.

What will we cover?

All cryptic crossword clues are elaborations on a few core rules that come to form a kind of contract between the setter and the solver. In the class, we’ll cover these core rules and showcase what inventive means setters use so that they conceal the fact that they are indeed following the rules. And soon enough, you’ll be wending your way through unnoticed byways of language and have ideas intermingling that rarely do mingling to get to the answer.

We will look at at a few cryptic crosswords from The Age and The Big Issue, each made by a different setter. That way, you can see the importance of an individual setter’s style, come to appreciate a wider variety of clues and get a start on cracking out a cryptic when you open the paper of a morning.

Who will be teaching?

tonyMany moons ago, Antonios Sarhanis was intrigued by some friends who formed part of a gang of solvers that got together to smash out the paper’s cryptic crossword with good-natured gusto every Saturday morning. Although Antonios had no idea how the gang were solving the crossword, the fun they were having doing so piqued his interest, and over time he came to learn some of the tricks and even solve a clue or two.

From such humble beginnings, his appetite for cryptic legerdemain grew, so much so that he ended up created a blog at dedicated to the wickedly clever Friday cryptic in The Age. That’s the one DA sets, who you may now as David Astle, the dictionary guy on Words and Numbers. But the internet wasn’t enough: now he’s teaching a class or two to spread the good cryptic word in person.