The M&G's cryptic crossword

Welcome to the Mail & Guardian’s new cryptic crossword. Compiled by Professor George Euvrard of Rhodes University, it has been piloted in Grocotts Mail for the past 18 months as the first South Africanised cryptic crossword. The perspective is proudly South African, decolonised, and full of local references and words.

Although it’s still in the classic English cryptic crossword tradition, forget “artist” being “RA” (Royal Academy) or a “river” being “Exe”.

Here you will need to delve into your Dictionary of South African English (free online at to confirm bhuti and windgat, and to take out your South African atlas to check the spelling of Nossob!

The solutions will appear in the next M&G, but in the meantime you can also come here to see explanations of each solution (at the right time), as well as engage with other solvers and the compiler on particular clues, solutions and related crossword matters.

JDE 177


1 BEAR HUGS Live primarily austerely and shrug off big squeezes (4,4)

BE + A + shrug anag

5 FITFUL Appropriate and almost complete, but irregular (6)


10 INCOGNITO Home carbon monoxide good trip into unknown (9)

IN + CO + G + into anag

11 TENET Principle of X - energy + temperature (5)

TEN + E + T

12 AMEN A new cloak for myself? Let it be so (4)

A (ME) N

13 STEENBRAS Small adolescent supports fish (9)


15 SPLASHY FEN Back-mountains and vlei surrounds reserved for musical festival (7,3)

(ALPS backwards + FEN) around SHY

17 PLEA Leap about, let the peal out, turn pale, quietly hand out ale - just get the lawsuit! (4)

leap anag, peal anag, pale anag, P + ale anag

19 EAST When in outskirts of Elliot, orient (4)

E (AS) T

20 AGGRANDISE A good relative unfortunately dies to exaggerate (10)

A + G + GRAN + dies anag

22 DAMP SQUIB Quips abound after mother had book flop (4,5)

(quips anag, after DAM) + B

24 LEER Eye bounce of pitch (4)

REEL backwards

26 NANNA “Never again! No, never again …!” starts granny (5)

N + A + N + N + A

27 TRANSITED Unsure, I’d sent back craft first which had passed through (9)

(id sent anag) after (ART backwards)

28 YES-MEN Lackeys are males on the tails of lively female bosses (3-3)

MEN after (Y + E + S)

29 WAYMARKS Signs for far targets (8)



1 BAIT Degree in computer use is an attraction (4)


2 ACCOMPLISHMENTS Account has congratulations about quiet deeds (15)


3 HUGENESS Enormity of circling sun - geesh! (8)

sun geesh anag

4 GRINS Rings around beams (5)

rings anag

6 INTENT Engrossed in snare coming up on time (6)

IN + NET backwards + T

7 FUNERAL DIRECTOR She undertakes to play Lear unorthodoxly and is supported by manager (7,8)

FUN + lear anag + DIRECTOR

8 LOTUS-EATER Dreamer gets fortune to employ at any rate (5-5)

LOT + USE + rate anag

9 FORESEER Prophet gives warning on heartless tailor (8)


14 ASCENDANCY Edge a lawyer to destroy party at beginning of year (10)

A + SC + END + ANC + Y

16 YOGHURTS Young ‘un disappears with pains from dairy products (8)


18 UNCLE SAM Nam’s clue about America (5,3)

nams clue anag

21 ESCAPE Even seasick monkey gets bunk (6)

sEaSiCk + APE

23 BHALA Write inside, ‘Lamb halaal’ (5)

lamB HALAl containment

25 ODES No-frills CODESA produced some creative works (4)



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