Ravenshead

Cryptic Crossword

Group Leader Frances Gilbert Tel.01623 616615
Meetings On 1st & 3rd Thursday's each month
At Room 1 the Centre at St Peter's
Status Active Not full

The group had a successful Inaugural meeting on 21st September with 10 members attending. Everyone had an opportunity to get to know each other and following organisation and housekeeping issues, Sue Butler, our Facilitator introduced us to cryptic crosswords.

We are using the Workbook ‘Learn How To Solve Cryptic Crosswords. A Course for Beginners’, written by Henry Howarth, U3A National Subject Advisor on Cryptic Crosswords. The cost of this workbook is £10 to U3A members.

You might surprise yourself by how much of a devious mind you have when you get chatting to others! There is plenty of time to practice in a friendly environment.
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Week 1

To see the exercise we worked on, please click on the link to ‘Week 1 Cryptic Crossword Questions
This is a sample exercise. The ‘questions’ consist of two clues, one straightforward and one cryptic which both have the same answer. The idea is to try to work out how the cryptic clue leads to the answer.

Do try these for yourself! If you wish to check your answers, please open attachment ‘Week 1, Answers’.

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Week 2: Thursday 5th October 2017

We started this week by working through the last session’s homework, identifying definitions, indicators etc. and discussing the answers.

Using the Workbooks, we moved on to ‘Hidden Words’ and how to find them, and following the break, we worked on the ‘hidden words’ exercises.

Homework: members were encouraged to get a copy of the Ravenshead monthly newsletter, and attempt as many clues as possible. At the next meeting on 19th October, we will compare notes and see how far we get!

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Week 3: Thursday 19th October

This week we started by working our way through the answers to the cryptic crossword, page 17 in the October edition of the Ravenshead Newsletter. This was quite a challenge so it will be some time before we attempt another one!

After the break we started on the anagram exercises in the Workbook – working our way through pages 13 to 18, and then we made a start on Practice Puzzle 1 on page 19.

Homework: This week the aim is to:

(1) try to finish Practice Puzzle 1

(2) have a go at the attached anagram exercises – click onto the links A, B, C and D. If you wish to check your answers, click onto the ‘Answers’ links.

A anagrams B anagrams C anagrams D anagrams
A answers B answers C answers D answers

We will be meeting again on Thursday 2nd November.

New beginners are still very welcome; there is plenty of time to catch up.
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Week 4: Thursday 2nd November

This week we started work on Chapter 2: Essential Building Blocks: Charades and abbreviations (pages 25 – 31). We learnt that the Charade clue is the most common type of clue in cryptic crosswords, and generally does not have an Indicator, but does have a definition of the answer and wordplay. Since words with a small number of letters often form part of the answer to a Charade clue, we looked at common short words. After coffee, we looked at the role of abbreviations (pages 32 – 38).

Homework (optional, of course!):
1. Revise the work done in the session.
2. Complete the exercises on page 39.

Our next session is on Thursday 16th November.

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Week 5: Thursday 16th November

We busied ourselves this morning with working through our homework exercises (charades and abbreviations); identifying the ‘definition’ and the ‘word play’ to work out the answer.

After coffee, we worked through the ‘Solving Compass’ (pages 40 – 43) and then attempted the exercise on page 44, questions 1 to 10.

Our homework this week is to:

1. Complete Practice Puzzle 2 on page 45
2. Read through pages 55 – 61 in preparation for our next meeting on Thursday 30th November.

The Group have decided to change the pattern of our Thursday meetings. Starting in the New Year, we will be meeting on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month. Our first meeting will be on Thursday 4th January 2018 at 9 am.

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Week 6 Thursday 30th November

We started work on Chapter 3 today: taking clue structure further. We worked through pages 55 to 65 covering different ways to present definitions, ‘connectors’, punctuation, the use of the apostrophe and ‘sandwiches’. We are making progress but the work is getting harder!

Homework (optional, of course, but it helps!) this week is:

1. to revise what we have already covered
2. to complete the sandwich exercises on page 65
3. to continue reading up to page 71
4. and maybe have a look at Practice Puzzle 3 if time permits.

Our next meeting (the last one of the year) is on Thursday 14th December, Room 1,The Centre at 9.00 am

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Week 7: Thursday 14th December

Our last meeting of the year had a lower attendance than usual, probably due to the cold and still somewhat icy weather.

In the first half, we went over last session’s ‘homework’. After the break we worked in pairs on a crossword and our homework is to try and complete it.

We will meet again on Thursday 4th January 2018

Season’s Greetings!

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Week 8 Thursday 4th January 2018:

We started off our New Year by reviewing our progress to date by working through the exercises on pages 44, 66 and 71.

Our ‘homework’ this time is to try and complete Practice Puzzle 3 on page 72.

Sue has suggested that we all try to obtain a copy of The Sun Two-Speed Crossword, Collection 3 (2016). ISBN 978-0-00-819013-2. Cost £6.99 but probably available more cheaply. We intend to use this both in our sessions and for extra practice at home.

We hope to start Chapter 4, page 81 at our next meeting on Thursday 18th January 2018.

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Week 9: Thursday 18th January 2018

We had a full group today. After a recap on previous work, we moved on to Chapter 4, page 81. It’s getting more challenging!

We looked at:
Letter Sequence clues
Moving letter clues
Letter substitution clues
Spoonerisms
and Homophones.

We worked through the Homophones practice clues on page 85.

Our homework this time is to try and complete Crosswords 1 and 2 from The Sun two-speed Crossword, Collection 3.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 1st February, am, Room 1, The Centre.
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Week 10: Thursday 1st February 2018

Today we worked through Crosswords 1 & 2 from The SUN two-Speed Crossword book, Collection 3.

For homework we will try to complete Crossword 3 and possibly start on Crossword 4. We are encouraged to re-read pages 81 – 88 from the Workbook to help us with the occasional ‘Double Definition’ and ‘Cryptic Definition’ clues found in the SUN crosswords we are now attempting.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 15th February 2018, Room 1, The Centre, at 9am.
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Week 11 Thursday 15th February 2018

Today we worked through pages 86 – 93 of the Workbook and spent the last part of our session discussing issues relating to Crossword 3 (SUN Two – Speed Crossword Book 3).

The homework is to read pages 94 – 97 from the Workbook and attempt Practice Puzzle 4, page 97. If more practice is desired we can make a start on the SUN crossword 4!

Our next meeting is on Thursday 1st March at 9 am in Room 1, The Centre.

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More Group Pages
Angling Birders
Book Reading Group 1 Book Reading Group 2
Bridge for Beginners Canasta
Chess and backgammon Computing
Country and Folk Dancing Craft Workshops
Creative Writing Cryptic Crossword
Current Affairs Family History
French Conversation French Conversation 2
Gallery and Museum Visits Garden Group
Guitar Hikers (5 - 8 miles)
Knitting and Crochet Latin
Local History Luncheon Group
Mahjong Music Appreciation Groups
Occasional activities Painting
Pastels Photography
Play Reading Science and Technology
Scrabble Cribbage Spanish
Table Tennis The Weekenders
Thursday Walking Group Trips and visits
Wine Group Yoga (Improvers)