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A significant portion of the puzzlers in The 7th Guest Board Game are true cryptic clues. Their surface meanings are designed to lead you astray . You must dig deeper, make associations, think of different meanings for clue words, read the clue with different punctuation, and/or look for words that indicate what sort of wordplay is afoot.

In almost all cases (pure cryptic and double definitions being exceptions), cryptic clues consist of 2 separate parts: the definition, and the wordplay. Both parts of the sentence point to the same answer, but in different ways. The definition is almost always a direct synonym of the solution, but the wordplay takes a more convoluted route to the same destination. In order to solve a cryptic clue, you must determine which part of the sentence is the definition and which is the wordplay, and what sort of wordplay is involved. Wordplay indicator words will help you in the latter regard.

(Note that in The 7th Guest board game Puzzler cards, the number of letters in the correct answer is given in parenthesis.)

Here are some common types of cryptic clues (thanks to Wikipedia and Trazom at the National Puzzler’s League for the clue samples):

Pure Cryptic Definition

This sort of clue is definition and wordplay in one and requires a reading of the sentence not obvious at first glance. For instance, the clue

“The flower of London?”

requires that you ignore the obvious meaning of the sentence and read “flower” as “flow-er”, something that flows, leading you to the answer: Thames.

Double Definitions

Here the two parts of the clue consist of two definitions rather than definition and wordplay. The solution to

“Eastern European buff”

depends on two possible readings of the word “polish”: “Polish” (Eastern European) or to polish (to buff).

Anagrams

Probably the most common variety of wordplay in cryptic clues, anagrams are words in which the letters have been rearranged. Anagrams are indicated by an adjacent word suggesting disorder, such as “crazy”, “disturbed”, “wild”, “fighting”, “shifty, “loose”, “faulty” etc. In

“Lap dancing friend”

the word “dancing” indicates an anagram (which must agree with the definition), so the solution is “pal”, meaning “friend”.

Charades

This type of clue must be solved in parts. Synonyms for individual clue words are strung together to make a new word that will match the definition.

“Outlaw leader managing money”

The solution, “banking”, is constructed by connecting synonyms for “outlaw” (ban) and “leader” (king), and is defined as “managing money”.

Containers

Here the answer is derived by containing one word within another. Indicator words might be “inside”, “holding”, “carrying”, etc.

“Discovered calf in grass”

The solution here is “revealed”, obtained by finding “veal” (calf) in “reed” (grass), meaning “discovered”.

Reversals

The solution to this type of clue is a word read backward. For instance,

“Returned beer fit for a king”

is solved by first recognizing that “returned” is a signal word for a reversal (these can also include terms like “in the mirror”, “backwards”, “wrong way” etc.), and then reversing “lager” (beer) to get “regal” (fit for a king).

Homophones

A homophone is a word that sounds the same as another word with a different spelling. Indicator words for homophone clues involve hearing in some way, like “they say”, “on the radio” “heard”, etc.

“We hear twins shave”

The answer, “pare”, is a homophone of “pair” (twins) and means “shave”.

Deletions

A deletion is a clue whose answer is obtained by the deletion of letters at the beginning, end or in the middle of a word. Indicator words include “beheaded” or “topless”, “unfinished” or “endlessly”, “heartlessly” or “internally”.

“Challenging sweetheart heartlessly”

is signaled as a deletion by “heartlessly”; “darling” (sweetheart) minus a middle letter is “daring”, which means “challenging”.

Hidden Words

In this type of clue, the answer is readily visible, but disguised inside part of the clue’s sentence.

“Cheese stored in baroque fortress”

The solution, “Roquefort”, is a cheese quite literally “stored in” (indicator) “baroque fortress”.

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