1) Angel takes away her part in a fruit, alternatively (2)
2) Down-to-ground option to HOH (5)
3) Excerpt of argument onwards is high-class matter (5)
4) Failure in audio hack is gonna be seen in honeycombs (7)
5) Greek letter found in percussion (8)
6) Hearing of king’s descendent made public (3)
7) Lead fox to lair with eager Rand’alThor first (5) [Side note: No offence to Rand, sorry]
8) -lit+! (3)
9) Misleading hair is dismissed with a constant log (4)
10) Mixed in tailless random is material emitting radiation (5)
11) None in two, one or a half of Scandinavian country (3)
12) One N twisted is stuff that shines brightly (4)
13) Partial weakness of hero is hidden nobility (7)
14) Scare from radio is straight and direct (6)
15) Small prefix with an upright tail! (4)
16) Writing a hash onto paper is D.C. building (8)

Partial answers are welcome!


  1. Solve the cryptic clues
  2. Group them into groups of four

P.S.: This is my first time making cryptic clues, constructive suggestions are welcome. Thanks!


1 Answer 1


I think I have most of the clues and the connect-wall categories. I'm not quite sure about some of the wordplay. Thankfully, the categories were rather obvious, so I could work backwards. I've marked things I'm not sure about with question marks:

  1. OR (alternatively) — OR(ange) with part of ANGE(l) removed (?)

  2. WATER (H-O-H) — no idea

  3. ARGON (high-class matter) — ARG(ument) ON(wards)

  4. HEXAGON (honeycombs) — homophone (?) of "hack's gon(na)"

  5. TRIANGLE (percussion) — I guess a capital delta looks like a triangle

  6. AIR (made public) — homophone of heir

  7. EARTH (lead fox to lair) — EA(ger) R(and'al) TH(or)

  8. XOR / NOT / AND (?) — Xor and not turn minus to plus? Plus is literally and?

  9. FIRE (?) - no idea

  10. RADON (material emitting radiation) — anagram of RANDO(m)

  11. NOR ("none in two, one") — NOR(way)

  12. NEON (stuff that shines brightly) — (ONE N)*

  13. KRYPTON ("hidden nobility") — KRYPTON(ite)

  14. SQUARE (straight and direct) — homophone (?) of "scare"

  15. NAND ("small prefix"?) — AN< upright + (e)ND?

  16. PENTAGON (D.C. building) — PEN + TAG + ON

The connect-wall categories are:

Neon Radon Argon Krypton — noble gases
Water Air Earth Fire — classic elements
Pentagon Triangle Hexagon Square — polygons
Nor Or Nand (Xor/Not/And?) — logic gates

Comments on the clues:

Cryptic clues are quite popular here, but they are also hard to get right, because they follow a rather strict set of rules. You have tried to use the typical devices – anagram,s homophones, parts of words – but not always "correctly". Let me propose some areas of improvement:

First, make sure that the grammatical forms of the clue and the answer agree. "Honeycombs" is plural, so it means "hexagons", hot singular "hexagon". "Writing" cannot mean "pen", only "penning". "Pen" could be clued as "write" (verb) or "writer" (noun, the thing that one can write with). "Air" cannot mean "made public"; it must be either "aired" or "make public". Of course, correcting these might mean that you must rearrange or reword the clue.

Homophones are tricky, for me at least. If you use them, try to make them exact homophones. I don't think that "square" and "scare" sound the same and the "hack is gonna" homophone is very loose, too. (Or was the "failure" intended to signal that?) And there's always the tomayto / tomahto issue, where words have several different valid pronunciations. (I usually go to a dictionary / wiktionary and check the IPA.)

The "head" or "heads" or "initially" indicators refer to the first letter of each word only. Answers like Earth, where you take as much letters from the "fodder" (the words whose heads should be taken) as suits the answer. You can always break the rule if you indicate how much one should take: "first pairs" or "first halves".

"Excerpt" usually indicates a hidden answer, not letters from the beginning, so Argon could be "excerpts from 'Gunnar, Go North'" where the answer is contained as contiguous block. (Yes, that was a silly example.)

Many of your clues have the form "{wordplay} is {answer}", which makes them very easy. #10 and #12 are write-ins and an easy entry into the connect wall. And there are some superflous words. For example, what is the "paper" doing in the last clue?

Finally, cryptic clues are about stylish surface readings and misdirection: The clue should read like a sensible sentence. It will often read like a newspaper headline, because the articles are left out. "Hearing of king’s descendent made public" sounds good, but what does "Greek letter found in percussion" mean? Or "Misleading hair is dismissed with a constant log"? The misdirection comes from choosing words that have several meanings. Ideally, these are different kinds of words, for example a verb that clues a noun.

All this takes practice so good on you for trying. (But I think most of the practice will come from solving many cryptics first. The blog Fifteen Squared publishes annotated solutions of the professional crosswords published in some major English newspapers. (The crosswords can be solved online and are free.) These explanations and the following discussions are a good source of inspiration.)

  • $\begingroup$ thanks for your constructive feedback! they are very useful. back to the puzzle, 8 is r13[naq: -"yvg"+"naq yvg"="naq"] $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 2:15
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean: "AND = -lit+ ANDlit" $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 9:47

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