Came up with some cryptic clues and I thought I'd put them in a crossword. There isn't a theme, all answers are in English, and this is my first time, so any criticism would be welcomed!

cryptic clues board

4. For real, I am in paradise with this fruit drink (9) 1. Point up from a pit (3)
6. Compare to a Leviathan tail (4) 2. An app to listen to music, sometimes on the spot, if you want (7)
8. A game for a fresh digit? (3,3,3) 3. Can a tail be made into a salad dressing? (8)
10. Mess up a chocolate treat (5) 5. A combination of the area under a graph (11)
11. A sour liquid came from a plant and left a rag (7) 7. Sounds like a vegetable is burned (7)
12. Want to make money after yesterday? (5) 9. A programming language for snakes (6)
13. A pastry made by a chef, in essence (6)
14. It's seen harm and been jumbled; is it not cursed? (11)
15. A game franchise's jab at some money (7)

A (big) hint for 14A:

The words "It's", "seen", "and", "been", and "is" are there for the surface, not the actual clue

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There are a lot of unchecked letters here - usually no more than two in a row without a crossing is recommended. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 0:46
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble Yeah fair, I came up with the clues first, so this could have just as easily have gone in cryptic-clues, but (a) ROT13: V jnagrq gb hfr pyhr jbeqf yvxr yrsg naq hc, naq gur pebffjbeq sbezng znqr gubfr zber boivbhf and (b) I figured why not throw it in a crossword - I'll try to watch this next time though! $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ samm82, we have a policy that puzzles should not be changed significantly after they are solved, in order to prevent existing answers being invalidated. Changing the clues makes Deusovi's answer invalid, as it now solves/comments on clues that no longer exist. Therefore I've rolled back your edits to the clues. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble Oh sorry, I was just trying to implement suggestions to help others that came across this puzzle, I didn't realize I deleted a clue lol $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


(Partial answer: have all but 14A)

A lot of these clues seem to me to not work -- at least according to Ximenian standards. The two main issues I see here are:

  • extra words that don't do anything in the cryptic reading
  • definitions that don't actually define the word, usually because they don't match in part of speech

Both of these are strictly disallowed by all but the most libertarian setters. (At least, in my experience -- I'm admittedly not too familiar with too many libertarian setters or publications.)

(Mostly) filled grid:

enter image description here


FR + U(I)TOPIA. I think the word "this" is extraneous.


...THAN. "Compare to" doesn't work as a definition - you would need something along the lines of "as compared to" for the definition to be the same part of speech.


TIC TAC TOE (punny ddef). Defining "TICTAC TOE" as a single phrase seems a bit questionable to me -- I would've at least added a question mark to this one.


FUDGE (ddef). I like this clue!


VINE + GAR<. The second word "a" is extraneous.


Y+EARN. I'm not convinced that "yesterday" is abbreviated with just a Y? It's something I'm not familiar with, at least.


COOK + I.E.. This was a nice clue! No complaints here.




POKE + MON(-ey). I'm not quite sure it's fair to use "some" to indicate "any substring


TIP<. "from a" are extraneous.


_SPOTIFY_. There seems to be nothing indicating that it's a hidden word, and a bunch of extra words.


CATALINA*. Not convinced that "be made [into]" is a good anagram indicator.


INTEGRATION (ddef-ish). The second definition doesn't work - "integration" is the process that lets you find the area under a graph, not the area itself (which is the [definite] integral).


CHARRED ("chard"). This one seems fine to me.


PYTHON (ddef-ish). "for snakes" doesn't work for a definition of PYTHON, and neither does "snakes" by itself -- either way, there's a mismatch.

  • $\begingroup$ I think 14a is "coronavirus", It's 11 characters long and it seems to fit the clue $\endgroup$
    – Amy
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 1:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Amy I don't see how the wordplay would work; also, the first letter needs to be D, and the third-to-last letter needs to be I. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ I agree I used a lot of "padding" words to try and make the clues more grammatically correct (eg. I'm not sure that "Point up pit" makes sense as a clue; maybe you meant "Point up from pit"?). For 2D my intent was (ROT13: gb hfr gur "fbzr" va "fbzrgvzrf" nf gur vaqvpngbe, nygubhtu V xabj vg jnf n ovg bs n fgergpu), although you're definitely right about 6A, 12A, and 5D. Thanks for the feedback! I'll accept this for now as mostly correct ;) $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 2:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @samm82 "Point up from pit" has a correct surface, but not a workable cryptic reading, because "up" cannot grammatically be a modifier for "pit" in that phrase. The cryptic reading being parseable correctly is what makes a clue valid; the surface reading being parseable as a relatively normal phrase (and ideally, a misleading one) is what makes a clue good. (Removing "up from" would make the cryptic reading work but not the surface - you'd have to do some more fiddling with word order / indicators to make the clue read smoothly.) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 2:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the OP's intention for the last one is rot13(QRFGEHPGVBA [unez] - na nantenz (whzoyr) bs VGABGPHEFRQ) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 7:11

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