Can you solve our holiday Cryptic Clues Quiz?

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If you’re familiar with cryptic crosswords, you’re in for a treat. Even if you’re not familiar, see if you can guess the following 20 writing-related clues. Each clue typically has a ‘straight’ clue and a ‘cryptic clue’ – with the latter using things like anagrams, hidden words and other tricks to conjure up the answer. (Here’s a quick guide to solving them.)

Answers will be published in next week’s 10 January AWC e-newsletter – if you’re not already subscribed, you can do so now. It’s free and is packed with fun stuff each week.


EXAMPLE CLUE: Disney costume is poorly organised. (6,5,6)
(Note the answer has two ways to solve it. That’s how most cryptic clues work.)


1 . Famous playwright sounds like a warrior action. (11)

2. Golden Norse god has written a book? (6)

3. Children’s word doctor inside a grandiose US submarine. (5)

4. The parrotry confused for famous character. (5, 6)

5. Reverse nets follow gold for this prideful author. (6)

6. Dracula author is useful for a fire. (6)

7. He wrote it. (7,4)

8. Root Pi is very good at solving things. (6)

9. Mid 20th century poet reveals toilets. (1,1,5)

10. Handmaid creator’s forested location? (6)

11. Holmes villain tells big, little lies… (8)

12. Dine backwards before looking within ably tones for famous, secret storyteller… (4,6)

13. Headless growling author and pottery expert. (7)

14. August star sign with distressed lost toy for Anna creator. (3,7)

15. Look inside with grandma til dad reveals this Dahl classic. (7)

16. She wasn’t very short, but I always think of her when I think of little women. (6,3,6)

17. Nil rest is assured when his books give you Goosebumps. (1,1,5)

18. Insert 51 into token for this fantasy author. (7)

19. First book in an epic series is also a fearsome thong confused. (1,4,2,7)

20. Tonic if mixed with a variety of stories. (7)