Crossword Clue Examples: 10 Types of Crossword Clues with Examples


Crossword puzzles have captivated minds for generations, offering both entertainment and cognitive exercise. Whether you’re a seasoned solver or a newcomer, understanding the different types of crossword clues can significantly enhance your solving experience.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into ten types of crossword clue examples, including cryptic crossword examples and cryptic clue examples, to help you become a crossword aficionado.

1. Simple Clues

What Are They?

Simple clues are straightforward. They offer a clear definition of the word you’re supposed to find.


    • Clue: ‘Feline pet’ (3)
    • Answer: CAT

The clue directly describes the word “CAT,” which is a feline pet. There’s no ambiguity or trickery involved.

Simple clues serve as the foundation for more complex clue types. They’re perfect for beginners and offer a quick win that boosts confidence.

2. Double Clues

What Are They?

Double clues combine two different ideas or definitions to hide the word you’re supposed to find.

Example and Explanation:

    • Clue: ‘Driving through a watery road’ (4)
    • Answer: FORD

Here, “Driving through” suggests the action, and “watery road” refers to a shallow place in a river or stream where one can cross. The answer “FORD” satisfies both conditions.

Double clues add a layer of complexity and are often used in American-style crosswords. They require solvers to think laterally, making the solving process more engaging.

3. Anagrams

What Are They?

Anagrams involve rearranging the letters in the clue to find the answer. These clues often include hint words like ‘confused,’ ‘broken,’ or ‘arranged.’

Example and Explanation:

    • Clue: ‘Arrange a trunk call to the panel’ (8)
    • Answer: ELEPHANT

The word “Arrange” signals that it’s an anagram clue. The letters in “a trunk call to the panel” can be rearranged to form the word “ELEPHANT.”

An anagram is an example of a crossword clue that adds a fun twist to crossword puzzles and is a staple in both American and British styles. They challenge your pattern recognition skills and are often used in cryptic crosswords.

4. Cryptic Clues

What Are They?

Cryptic clues are the hallmark of British-style crosswords and are designed to be challenging. They usually consist of a “straight” clue and a “cryptic” clue within the same clue.

Example and Explanation:

    • Clue: ‘Controversial novelist with a hurry to snuff it!’ (7)
    • Answer: RUSHDIE

The clue has two parts: “Controversial novelist” and “hurry to snuff it.” The word “RUSHDIE” satisfies both, as it refers to Salman Rushdie, a controversial novelist, and also sounds like “Rush Die,” which implies a hurry to snuff it.

Cryptic clues offer the highest level of challenge and engagement. They require a deep understanding of language and wordplay, making them the ultimate test for seasoned solvers.

5. Sound Clues

What Are They?

Sound clues, also known as homophones, involve finding a word that sounds like another word or phrase in the clue.

Example and Explanation:

    • Clue: ‘The king has no successor, we hear’ (4)
    • Answer: BALD

The clue plays on the words “heir” and “hair.” “No successor” implies “no heir,” which sounds like “no hair,” leading to the answer “BALD.”

Sound clues add an auditory element to the puzzle, requiring you to think about how words sound, not just how they are spelled. They often rely on puns, adding a layer of humor to the puzzle.

6. Hidden Words

What Are They?

Hidden word clues contain the answer hidden within the clue itself.

Example and Explanation:

  • Clue: ‘A long time in a dungeon’ (3)
  • Answer: EON

The answer “EON” is hidden within the word “dungeon.”

Hidden word clues add an element of surprise and require keen observation skills, making them a fun addition to any crossword puzzle.

7. Abbreviation Clues

What Are They?

Abbreviation clues use common or coded abbreviations to hint at the answer.

Example and Explanation:

  • Clue: ‘Doctor left the room’ (2)
  • Answer: DR

“Doctor” is commonly abbreviated as “DR,” which is the answer.

Abbreviation clues require a good knowledge of common abbreviations and acronyms, adding a layer of general knowledge to the puzzle.

8. Charade Clues

What Are They?

Charade clues break the answer into smaller words or syllables, which are then clued individually.

Example and Explanation:

  • Clue: ‘Animal home sounds painful’ (4)
  • Answer: LAIR

“Animal home” is “LAIR,” and it sounds like “lair,” which could be painful.

Charade clues require solvers to think of words in a fragmented manner, adding complexity and requiring a deeper understanding of language.

9. Reversal Clues

What Are They?

Reversal clues involve reversing the letters of a word to find the answer.

Example and Explanation:

  • Clue: ‘Desserts turned sour’ (5)
  • Answer: STRESSED

The word “desserts” is reversed to form the word “STRESSED.”

Reversal clues add a twist to the solving process and require spatial awareness, making them a unique challenge.

10. Deletion Clues

What Are They?

Deletion clues require removing a letter or letters from a word to find the answer.

Example and Explanation:

  • Clue: ‘Listen without an ear’ (4)
  • Answer: LIST

The word “Listen” without “en” (ear) becomes “LIST.”

Deletion clues require analytical thinking and a keen eye for detail, making them a challenging yet rewarding clue type.


Understanding the different types of crossword clues, including cryptic crossword examples and cryptic clue examples, can make your solving experience much more enjoyable and rewarding. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started or an experienced solver aiming to tackle more challenging puzzles, these crossword clue examples offer something for everyone.

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