Have you ever tried to complete a cryptic crossword, only to find they were too hard and give up?
This week The Daily Advertiser sourced some hot tips straight from the experts when the Cryptic Crossword Club met at the Wagga City Library on Thursday.
Library programs officer Peter Casey, who led the session, became an expert at work after his fellow librarians pinched all the quick crosswords.
"Everybody was doing those ones, so I started having a daily crack at the cryptic crosswords," Mr Casey said.
"Then my colleague Jeannie started doing them as well, and we found out we were better doing them together," he said.
"So my number one tip to newcomers is don't try them alone.
"Do them with someone else, whether that be your partner, a good work colleague or someone you get along with.
"You might even try doing them with someone you like to try and impress them. I highly recommend nerdy flirting through cryptic crosswords."
Mr Casey said clues tend to come in a few different forms:
Offering a few classic examples, Mr Casey said the clue 'London flower' translates to the six-letter word 'Thames' because flower doesn't mean the plant but something that flows.
Or take the clue 'GEGS (8,4)', which is an anagram for eggs and translates to 'scrambled eggs.'
Ladysmith's Lyn Wendelin has been doing cryptic crosswords for years and loves them because they make her think differently.
Completing between three and four puzzles per week, she will do as many as 200 puzzles every year.
But experience has taught her not all cryptic crosswords are created equal.
"It really depends what publication the puzzle is in. The Woman's Weekly ones are definitely the easiest," she said.
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Wagga local Alix Hopgood has just retired and is new to the puzzles, but said they are great because they keep her mind active.
"They are good for the brain, so if you want to ensure you don't get dementia, this is a great way," Ms Hopgood said.
"Many years ago I would tackle the simple crosswords, but I didn't have a clue how to start the cryptic ones until now."
For Ms Wendelin, the most interesting thing about these puzzles is figuring out what the clues mean.
Offering some advice to newcomers, she said it's important to join a club or find someone else who already does them.
The Cryptic Crossword Club is a four-week schedule being run by the Wagga Library as part of council's Fresh program this month. Fresh is a combination of programs being held in April to mark both Seniors and Youth Week.
"The group is keen for the event to continue after that, and I'd love to if we can spare the staff and the time," Mr Casey said.
Cryptic crosswords took off in the UK during the 1920s and have since developed a strong following both in Australia and other Commonwealth nations.
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