I want to use "Error" and "Warning" as anagram indicators, like this:

Run Time Error (4) --- EMIT
Error: Please get a rest (6) --- ASLEEP (not sure yet)
Error 106E: Something Wrong (4) --- VICE (not sure yet)

But I'm not sure.

Is it allowed to use "error" and "warning" in my clues?

EDIT: You can give another example using "error" or "warning".

  • $\begingroup$ how did you use 'warning'? $\endgroup$ – JMP Feb 10 '19 at 10:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JonMarkPerry , maybe as a homophone indicator. $\endgroup$ – Scratch---Cat Feb 10 '19 at 11:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm a bit appalled that this question should exist at all. I am strongly of the opinion that you should be able to do as you god damn well please, and as long as the result is a good puzzle, to heck with anyone claiming that your artistic creation was too original and didn't conform with §12 of the art union's acceptable art creation process document 12.4, section b-45. (Please ignore my rant, by the the way, I just happen to live in a country where this particular art embraces and encourages all kinds of creativity, the more novel and clever the cryptic clue, the better.) $\endgroup$ – Bass Feb 10 '19 at 17:30

I think "error" can be an anagram indicator, but there are some caveats.

Run Time Error (4)

I would be fine with this. "Error" is applicable to the previous word in the same way that "news organization" might give SEWN; it's an error of the word "time", so a "time error". (The strictest of Ximenians typically don't allow nouns as anagram indicators at all. I'm fairly strict, but even I'm fine with this.)

Error: Please get a rest (6)

This one doesn't work as well. I can't think of any analogous situations that I would accept -- I don't think "error: X" means "anagram of X". (Also, "get a rest" is not a synonym for ASLEEP; "getting rest" is.)

Error 106E: Something Wrong (4)

And your third has the same major problem as the second. Anagram indicators that are nouns typically can't go before the text they change; there's not really a feasible way for 'error' to modify the word coming after it with the correct meaning.

For example, "error message" means "message about an error [in some other program]", not "message that itself has an error". I don't think there's a way to finish the phrase "error ___" to mean "___ that has(/is) an error" - and that would be the required reading to get "error" to work as an anagram indicator.

In addition, your third clue is an indirect anagram, which many publishers and setters do not accept. A clue like

Grotesque monster is tough (5)

giving the answer HARDY (anagram of "hydra") is generally not fair, because there are way too many possible monsters. This type of construction -- where you take a synonym (or do some other wordplay) and then anagram -- is called an "indirect anagram". It's generally considered a Very Bad Thing™, because it's unfair to the solver. It's not as bad in this case as it could be, but "avoid indirect anagrams" is a good general rule.


Wikipedia doesn't list 'error' or 'warning' as anagram indicators for cryptic clues, but I personally can't see a problem - they both have 'disruption' as a synonym, which 'arguably' should be on the list as well.


I agree with @Deusovi. A lot of this is opinion, but I think 'error' is fine but 'warning' doesn't feel right. Error means something is wrong with the indicated word, but Warning doesn't indicate something broken or altered.

In a puzzle I'm currently creating, I have the the clue

User error scam (4)

so I've thought along the same lines...

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ looking forward to your high-quality puzzles :) $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Feb 14 '19 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ Answer is ruse. $\endgroup$ – Scratch---Cat Feb 15 '19 at 3:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.