Saturday, 22 December 2012

15th Birthday Clue Writing Competition!

Today is the 15th birthday of my business, Sutherland Studios. And it's Chrissie time. So to celebrate, I'm giving you pressies — no other course of action else makes sense!

Here's the challenge, should you choose to accept it!

Write a cryptic clue of your very own, using an anagram, for the answer word CHRISTMAS. Write your clue, and an explanation of how it works, in a comment, below this post.

Don't be scared, you can do it. It's even fun (honest)! Your clue can be quirky, surreal, funny, serious, whatever you like. It needs to read well, like a mini phrase or sentence (not just a random assortment of words stuck together). Creativity and clue accuracy are what I'll be looking for.

Here are some tips to help you get started. Your cryptic clue will need:

1) A definition for CHRISTMAS — this can be as simple, as oblique, or as silly as you like. The definition needs to be at the start or end of the clue (not stuck in the middle).

2) An anagram — this needs to be an anagram of the word CHRISTMAS. Something like 'arch mists' — there are heaps of possibilities, and it can run over 2 or 3 words. This is called the anagram fodder.

3) An anagram indicator — this is a word that tells the reader to jumble up the letters of the fodder. This can be a word like cooked, confused, inebriated, or upset. There are thousands of possibilities! Look for a word (or two or three) that matches well, and makes sense, with your fodder.

More help:

That's it! You've got a fortnight, so entries close at midnight 5 January 2013, Australian Eastern Summer Time (+11 hours GMT).

I will choose my three favourite clues, and winners will be announced on 6 January 2013.

First Prize

 A signed copy of Solving Cryptic Crosswords For Dummies :D

Second Prize

A copy of Bradford's Crossword Solver's Dictionary, 7th edition, which has heaps of cryptic references, abbreviations, and other useful stuff. Extra good for solving cryptics!

Third Prize

A 1 Across crossword beanie, my original design, knitted by me, as featured on 100% pure wool. It's the actual beanie featured in the third photo on the Knitty page. Fits an adult.

ETA: I'm happy to take people's prize preferences into account when allocating the three prizes. So, if you're hankering for the beanie, but not the crossword dictionary, for example, let me know  :)

I look forward to reading your clues!


  1. How about: Noel has Mac's shirt mangled for a special day.
    My dad's name is Noel, so I was chuffed to think to use it. I have no idea if this is truly cryptic, but Noel means Christmas, and then 'Mac's shirt' is an anagram and 'mangled' is the anagram indicator and I put 'special day' for an extra clue.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours and the lovely pups!!!

    1. Thank you 2paw! Merry Chrissie to the labs and you as well :D

  2. I assume we put our clues here?

    March sits awkwardly as a time to celebrate (9)


    1. Yes, clues and explanations here, Des, thanks for your clue!

    2. Des, you have won third prize, please email me! Congratulations!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Art schism ruined solstice celebration.

  5. My Grandma would have sooo been good with this one and I nearly reached for the phone to call her- but alas she has passed away, on Easter Sunday this year, mind you.

    Excuse my daggy attempt at an anagram, hopefully it might make you laugh and realise that I really do need the Solving Crosswords For Dummies book probably more than anyone else hehehe :D

    A baby boy is born, as in Christ Mass... (9)

    Sorry again, so daggy :D

    Amanda from Amanda's Mummy Jeans xxx

    1. Thanks for your entry, not at all daggy - your Grandma would have been proud :)

  6. This is going to be really hard, because I want to win the third prize! If I don't try hard enough, I probly won't win anything; if I overshoot, I might win second, which would be very useful, but not as cool as a hand-knitted Xword beanie!
    will be back later with a Clue and Splanation :-)

    1. I can take people's preferences for gifts into account :)
      And I am thinking of starting an Etsy shop for my handknits ... which would include the crossword beanie! So fret not!

  7. Hey Denise - hopefully the explanations are superfluous, if we've done this right! Here are two clues, as there are two of us ;-)

    Carpenter's birthday animates shirt scam (9)
    (Explanation: Jesus was a carpenter and Christmas is his birthday + animates is the anagram indicator + shirt scam is the anagram fodder)

    Zany mist crash at tinsel time (9)
    (Explanation: Zany is the anagram indicator + mist crash is the anagram fodder + tinsel time suggests Christmas)

    Like greenspace (above) we really, really fancy the beanie. You may want to start a side business, knitting crossword-themed beanies ...

    Have a fab Christmas!

    Cheers, Karin and Andrew

    1. Thank you for your two clues, they are very nice (and you're quite right, good cryptic clues don't need explanations)!

      I'm thinking of starting an Etsy shop for the occasional products of my knitting needles, which would include crossword beanies :)

  8. A day of suicide

    1. I hear ya ... can be like that! We always have to entertain my vile father-in-law on Xmas, kill me now ...

  9. Really like "Art schism ruined solstice celebration."

    Sh*t crams stuffed turkey time.


  10. Can I do two?

    Mirth acts cast three wise men in supporting role.

  11. Clue: Peak of the festive season is its cooked charms (9)

    Christmas is the "Peak of the festive season".

    its charms = christmas - using "cooked" as the indicator

  12. Its charms are minced pies and mistletoe (9)

    Its charms = Christmas
    are minced = anagram indicator
    Definition = surface reading of entire clue

    Happy Xmas from England!

  13. Go number three...
    Charmist's charmed for holy day.

    (Had to look up what charmist meant! Is that getting too cryptic?)

  14. Replies
    1. Golem, you have won second prize, please email me! Congratulations!

  15. Who remembers the Usenet Newsgroups? (9)

  16. Island weaves its charms. (9)

    len ellott

    1. Len, you have won first prize, please email me! Congratulations!

  17. Holiday crash complicated by mist(9)

    Answer: Christmas
    Indicator: complicated by
    Fodder: crash mist
    Definition: Holiday

    I'd like the dictionary, as my old Merriam Webster Complete Crossword Puzzle Dictionary is in tatters!

    Mary Mannison

  18. Sis has charm addled with tea, I hear, that's festive!

    anagram of "sis" and "charm" with T (tea as heard)

    That was great fun! I do love a cryptic.

    1. all the prizes but the beautiful beanie would be wasted on me as I live in the tropics and it is never that cold!

  19. Clue: This season TRIMS CASH from your tight budget.
    Answer: Rearrange the letters in TRIMS CASH to get CHRISTMAS

  20. Ericka KronsteinerSaturday, January 05, 2013

    Match Sirs to light the Yule Log!

  21. "Hist, scram!" disrupted season of joy

    Keep up the fun puzzling, Denise, I love your work!

  22. darn it, I missed the deadline! my brain hasn't quite been up to composing clues while being Patient Transport Service for my sister (who is improving slowly but steadily).

    lots of fun reading all the entries, though - so many talented puzzlers out there :-)

    and I look forward to seeing what you put in your etsy shop, Denise.

    1. No worries, Deb ... you've had a lot on your plate these past few weeks. Glad your sister is improving.


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