Right … So we’re solving crosswords now. The next step?? Why, making clues of course. How many times have we seen the solutions in the paper the next day and felt “Oh! come on now …. That was a sad clue. Even I could have framed a better one.” So whats stopping you then? Go ahead.. You’ll soon find that you’ll quite enjoy cluing and soon enough, you’ll start cracking more crosswords simply because you will now be tuned to the mind of a cruciverbalist and will be looking at clues from the point of view of a crossword setter.
Now, creating a clue is simple enough. All you have to do is to break down a word, give its meaning and then somehow, cryptically, clue it. Sound simple enough, and it is. But the real catch is creating clues that are of an acceptable standard.
Here are a few basic ground rules :
1. Every clue, MUST have an indicator to the meaning of the solution.
2. Do NOT over complicate the clues, keep ’em simple.
3. Shorter the double definition clues, the more elegant they are.
4. Use standard abbreviations and annotations while cluing.
5. Try to keep the clues as short as possible.
6. Take care of the tense. ( If the clue indicates the past tense, the solution must be in the past tense as well.)
7. Do not use too many connector words. Use only those that are absolutely necessary. (Connector words are those that do not have any role to play in the solution but are necessary to maintain the grammar of the clue.)
8. Clearly give indicator word for anagrams.
9. Homophones must be indicated as best as possibly by placing the indicator words such as “loudly” or “overheard” close to the homophone, and not the solution. (For eg. Put a lid on the loud rooster(4) means ‘cork’ and not ‘cock’. )
10. Avoid ambiguity. Make your clues as precise as possible.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN !!!