Thursday, February 22, 2024

Understanding Cunning Tactics in Crossword Clues


Crossword puzzles are an excellent way to spend your leisure time. They are not only a source of entertainment but also an excellent way to enhance your vocabulary and cognitive skills. Crossword puzzles are made up of various types of clues, including cryptic clues, which require some level of skill and knowledge to decipher. One of the common types of clues that you are likely to encounter is cunning tactics. In this article, we will explore what cunning tactics are and how to solve them in crossword puzzles.

What are Cunning Tactics?

Cunning tactics are wordplay tricks that crossword puzzle setters use to mislead or trick solvers. They are designed to challenge the solver’s problem-solving skills and vocabulary. Cunning tactics often require you to think outside the box and to consider multiple interpretations of a clue to get the correct answer. They can be frustrating and time-consuming, but they are also fun and satisfying to solve.

Types of Cunning Tactics in Crossword Puzzles

  1. Double Meaning: A double meaning clue is a type of cunning tactic that relies on a word having more than one meaning. The clue will usually give you a straightforward definition of the answer, but it will also have another meaning that is not so obvious.

Example: “Hit on the head” (4) – The answer is “knob,” which means a rounded protuberance, but can also mean to strike someone on the head.

  1. Homophones: Homophones are words that are pronounced the same way but have different meanings. Homophone clues are a common type of cunning tactic in crossword puzzles. The clue will usually give you a straightforward definition of the answer, but it will also contain a homophone that sounds the same as the answer.

Example: “Two-masted sailing vessel” (4) – The answer is “yawl,” which sounds like “y’all,” a Southern American slang for “you all.”

  1. Anagrams: An anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. Anagram clues are a type of cunning tactic that requires you to unscramble the letters to get the answer.

Example: “Dormitory” (5) – The answer is “roomy,” which is an anagram of “dormy.”

  1. Hidden Words: A hidden word clue is a type of cunning tactic where the answer is hidden within the clue. The answer may be hidden in a sentence or even across several words.

Example: “The cat is sleeping on the mat” (3) – The answer is “mat,” which is hidden in the sentence.

  1. Acrostic: An acrostic clue is a type of cunning tactic where the first letter of each word in the clue forms the answer.

Example: “Boldly going where no one has gone before” (6) – The answer is “space,” which is formed by the first letter of each word in the clue.

How to Solve Cunning Tactics Clues

Cunning tactics clues can be tricky to solve, but with the right approach, you can crack them. Here are some tips to help you solve cunning tactics clues.

  1. Read the Clue Carefully: The first step in solving a cunning tactic clue is to read the clue carefully. Pay attention to every word, and try to identify any possible wordplay.
  2. Look for Double Meanings: If the clue seems too easy, it may be a double meaning clue. Look for words that could have multiple meanings.
  3. Identify Homophones: If the clue contains words that sound the same, it may be a homophone clue. Look for words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings.


The crossword puzzle is a beloved pastime for many, providing entertainment, mental stimulation, and a sense of accomplishment when completed. While some clues may be challenging, the satisfaction of filling in the blanks and solving the puzzle is well worth the effort. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced puzzler, there are crosswords of all levels of difficulty available, with themes ranging from pop culture to scientific terminology. With the help of online resources and a bit of patience, anyone can become a crossword pro. So grab a pencil and get puzzling!

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