Cranium-Cracking Cryptic Crosswords, Volume 2
Volume 1 also for sale

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Wordplay devices


Like the party game, a charade breaks down a solution into smaller parts and clues each one individually. The example I provide on the main page happens to be a charade:

Overlooking rival coalition (7)

The solution is composed of two parts: VIE (“rival” as a verb) and WING (“coalition”). These two words put together give us VIEWING (“overlooking”).

Sometimes, the order of the charade parts is reversed, but the switch is always marked with an appropriate indicator:

It may be shaggy dog or cat following vehicle (6)

This has quite a few unusual components! We’re looking for a word meaning “dog or cat” placed after a word meaning “vehicle.” These are, respectively, PET and CAR. Placing the first after the second gives us CARPET, something that may be shaggy. Note how cryptic writers often allude to words by example, just as many straight crossword writers do.

Charades often use connector words to glue their parts together.