The Cryptic Christmas Crossword Answers (With Explanations)

Bryant and May



1 Strange Tide
4 Seventy Seven Clocks
5 Off the Rails
7 The Memory of Blood
10 The Invisible Code
12 Ten Second Staircase
13 The Lonely Hour
14 Wild Chamber
15 Londons Glory

2 The Victoria Vanishes
3 White Corridor
5 On the Loose
6 The Bleeding Heart
8 The Water Room
9 Full Dark House
10 The Burning Man
11 Hall of Mirrors

And now, Snowy guides you through the reasoning;

1 Across

An odd edit returns

Appears to make sense as a sentence, but will not give you the answer.
The word ‘returns’ is the key, it means spell the previous word backwards.
So when we reverse ‘edit’ we get ‘tide’
Re-reading the clue knowing that gives us ‘odd’ a synonym for ‘strange’
Hence “Strange Tide”

5 Across

A stiffer halo, might have kept you on track

A very strangely worded sentence! ‘a stiffer halo’? Very suspect.
The next word is ‘might’ is a convoluted hint that those words can be
manipulated to produce an answer.
Just to complicate this illustration, ‘might’ also does double duty in
‘might have kept you on track’. The clue is that you are no longer on
track. Rearranging ‘a stiffer halo’ gives: “Off the rails”

7 Across

He recalled feeling quite sanguine about the whole affair

A clue based on a double meaning.
Sanguine has two distinct meanings in English, it can mean ‘cool
headed’ but it can also mean ‘bloody’. Recalled is a a synonym for
memory. This gives us that this is some form of “a bloody memory”

“The Memory of Blood”

12 Across

A flight of less than a minute

Flight almost always is a cryptic clue for ‘stair’ but it can also
mean the more formal ‘staircase’, having hit on the latter, ‘less than
a minute’ gives 59 possible answers, but only ‘ten second’ will help
us here.

15 Across

Lucifer, “Lordly Song No!”

Lucifer, various meanings, the one we need is ‘match’, rearrange the
letters of the rest gives, “London’s Glory’.

2 Down

Albert’s laundry receives special treatment from the missus

Bit naughty this one, relying on the brand name of a soap product. But
hopefully Albert gives people an alternative way-in.

“The Victoria Vanishes”

3 Down

Bleached your passage? Itch or Worried?

This a both a literal clue and and an anagram. First three words have multiple interpretations, one of which could be eyewatering and not medically advised. What they need to work round to is:
Bleached as in sun-faded / Passage as used to describe a long circulating space in a building
Which gives: “White Corridor”
[This can be confirmed by rearranging ‘Itch or Worried’]

6 Down

“What’s the seat of passion?”, according to Sir Lancelot?

Because I’m setting the clues there are inevitably some clues that
draw on films. The Lancelot referred to isn’t the one swanking about in a tin
twinset picking up stray queens, but the more portly example from St.
Swithins. Strictly speaking this does slightly break the rules of cluing, but as
people can get to ‘heart’ through ‘seat of passion’, I thought I’d get
away with it. “What’s the seat of passion?”  “The Bleeding Heart”

10 Down

Police Sergeant Howie’s lot is not a happy one

I struggled with this for ages. For a long time it was ‘Police officer has encounter with swedish
nymphette, no happy ending’. But basing a clue around a slang term for a ‘hand-shandy’, could give
rise to socially awkward situations around the dinner table, and was a little too obscure.

2 comments on “The Cryptic Christmas Crossword Answers (With Explanations)”

  1. SimonB says:

    For more explanation of cryptic crosswords there is a podcast on the radio 4 website that may help. Search for “David Baddiel tries to understand” and it should pop up.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    I had half answers but was too stupid to realise it was book titles we were after. I’m sure I’ll think of an excuse eventually.

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