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Online Guide to the Engima

Preface to the Guide
History of the NPL
Membership Information
Sharing the Puzzles
      Sharing the fun
      Combining Talents
Composing
Editorial Verses
Flats
      Acrostical Enigma
      Alternade
      Ambigram
      Anagram
      Antigram
      Apt. . .
      Backswitch
      Baltimore Deletion
      Baltimore Transdeletion
      Beheadment
      Bigram. . .
      Brookline Letter-Change
      Change of Heart
      Changeover
      Charade
      Combination Padlock
      Consonantcy
      Curtailment
      Deletion
      Diastichal Enigma
      Double-Cross
      Dropout
      Enigma
      Enigmatic Rebus
      False derivative
      FWNFR
      Group flat
      Head-to-Tail Shift
      Heart Transplant
      Heteronym
      Homoantonym
      Homoconcominym
      Homonym
      Homosynonym
      Interlock
      Letter Bank
      Letter Change
      Letter Shift
      Linkade
      Literatim
      Metathesis
      Mutation
      Mynoreteh
      Order Takeout
      Overloaded. . .
      Padlock
      Palindrome
      Phonetic. . .
      Phrase Shift
      Picture. . .
      Progressive. . .
      Rebade
      Rebus
      Redro takeout
      Repeated-Letter Change
      Repeated-Letter Deletion
      Reversal
      Reversed. . .
      Riddle
      Sound Change
      Sound Shift
      Spoonergram
      Subade
      Suber
      Switchback
      Telestichal Enigma
      Terminal Deletion
      Transaddition
      Transade
      Trans-Cross
      Transdeletion
      Transpogram
      Transposal
      Trigram. . .
      Welded. . .
      Word Deletion
      Word Substitution
      Solving the Rebus
      Browse the Flat Pages
Introduction to Forms
      From A to O
      From P to Z
      Form Modifiers
Cryptograms
      Constructing Medium Crypts
      Solving Cryptograms
      Other Solving Approaches
Extras
      Solving Cryptics
      Composing Cryptics
      Observations
Reference Books
Constitution
      Bylaws
Glossary
Supplements
      Non-Guide Flats
      Non-Guide Forms
      Non-Guide Extras
      Where to Find It
      Form Notation
      Italian Picture Puzzles
      Abbreviated Guide to Flats
      Mobile Guide to Flats
      Submissions
Errata


© Copyright 2013 by
the National Puzzlers' League
 Guidelines for Composing Cryptic Crosswords 
By Sibyl

These are some brief additions to and repetitions from the solving article, which covers almost everything you need. I hope that Enigma cryptic crosswords will continue to be adventurous, taking risks and pushing boundaries not necessarily taken or pushed elsewhere.

Diagrams are generally symmetrical, as in regular crossword puzzles; they don’t necessarily have black spaces.

Diagram entries (lights) should be approximately fifty percent checked -- approximately two-thirds checked in bar puzzles. (A checked letter is one that appears in more than one word.)

Avoid extraneous words: according to British cryptic composer Azed (Jonathan Crowther), a good cryptic clue has three parts:

  1. the definition,
  2. the subsidiary indication-wordplay-and
  3. nothing else.

An occasional word beyond that -- almost always between the two parts -- may be acceptable on behalf of surface sense. Common linking words include and and with. There may be no indicator, just an implied colon.

Some puzzlers object to one-word clues with two parts (halfwits for WI, figurehead for F). However, this kind of clue appears regularly in British cryptics and occasionally in U.S. puzzles.

Indirect anagrams aren’t allowed. In the example given in the solving article, Inebriated freebooters travel about would be an indirect anagram: the solver must find the right synonym for freebooters (pirates) and then anagram that word. This construction is considered too difficult.

These guidelines may be superseded by the themes or gimmicks in puzzles with themes or gimmicks.

See The Enigma masthead for the name and address of the current cryptic checker. Be sure to send the clues with their enumerations; a blank, numbered grid; and a separate page (or a separate e-mail message) of answers and their explanations. If the diagram entries are different from the answers, send the filled-in diagram as well. Note if any answers are capitalized, not in 11C, or not MW at all.

Some easy cryptic forms have been published as forms in recent years, to encourage solvers to learn cryptic techniques. But in general, forms with cryptic clues are presented as extras.

These symbols are commonly used to explain the clues:

* anagram: traipse*
+ charade: must + ache
( ) container: re(veal)ed
(R) reversal: snoops (R)
“ ” homophone: “barred”
[ ] deletion: re[a]ctor
(2) double definition: bellow (2)
(H) hidden words: roquefort (H)
{ } additional comments

Note that several types may be involved in a single answer: for example, must* + ache for a transposal of smut or tums plus charade.

[Webmaster's note: For specific information on how to compose a cryptic to make our cryptic editors at The Enigma happy, read what they have to say. -- djr]