Recently I've been spending my spare time doing two things: solving cryptic crosswords and playing Pokémon Legends: Arceus. The next logical step, then, is to try my hand at compiling my own cryptic crossword themed after the game!
If you haven't tried one before, a cryptic crossword is a crossword puzzle in which each clue is itself a word puzzle. A cryptic clue is usually misleading if taken at face value, but conceals a definition and a secondary indication (usually wordplay) of the correct answer. For example:
A gym leader in Cinnabar was inflamed (5)
- RAGED, meaning "was inflamed"
- A G ("gym leader") in RED ("Cinnabar")
At first reading, it seems like this clue refers to the fiery Cinnabar Island Gym Leader Blaine from Pokémon Red and Blue, but the hidden real definition is only the last two words, "was inflamed". The remainder of the clue is wordplay that hints at the answer: "Cinnabar" means RED and "gym leader" can be interpreted as "the first letter of gym", so "A gym leader in Cinnabar" reduces to "A G in RED" — hence, RAGED.
Cryptic clues can be even more complicated and include anagrams, homophones, obscure abbreviations, and all sorts of other devices. Or they can be as simple as a bad pun.
Feet passed down through generations? (7)
- LEGENDS, which are "passed down through generations"
- LEG ENDS ("feet"). Get it?
You'll need to be a Pokémon fan to appreciate all of the surface readings in this puzzle, but don't worry if you aren't — none of the clues require any specific knowledge of Pokémon to solve. Once you're done, you can check the fully-explained solutions to see how you did. Enjoy!