cryptic crossword tnOn 25th April, Mr Smyth, Deputy Head Academic, gave a presentation in Chapel to the school on how to solve cryptic crosswords.

Following this introduction he then set the challenge of trying to solve a St Mary’s Calne themed cryptic crossword that he created especially for the occasion. Throughout the day teachers and pupils alike tried their hand at trying to solve the puzzle.

Special mention goes to the following who sent their correct entries in before the end of the day:

• Norah (LV)
• Anna, Charlotte, Saskia, Jemima, Georgie and Sacha (UVI)
• Bea, Ruby, Akiko, Lara, Clemmie and many more of the girls in Gibbins House (LV)
• Plus Mrs Bolton and Mrs Willcox!

On Tuesday, pupils across all Houses triumphantly informed Mr Smyth that they had completed the cryptic crossword and were eager for the opportunity to do another one. Parents who are interested can also try their hand at the crossword here.

Mr Smyth said: 'I hope the puzzle was an interesting gateway into the world of cryptic crosswords. It is modelled on The Times newspaper’s Quick Cryptic Crossword found in the T2 supplement. The level of challenge is about right for beginners, but an element of institutional knowledge of St Mary’s is also required. I was delighted with the response from pupils… In fact I think you could say that there has not been a cross word said about it!'
To help any beginners, Mr Smyth’s top tip from the Chapel presentation was that each clue can be divided into two:
1. A simple definition of the answer (this will always be at the start or end of the clue)
2. Either a cryptic element which allows another way of solving it, or a second (and sometimes third!) definition.

Photo Credit: Clive Gee / PA Archive / Press Association Images / Universal Images Group
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