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 170


1. TAKEAWAYS: Grilled steak includes a custom slap-chips, for example (9)

steak anag, around (A + WAY)

6. COPED: Managed business before deputy returned (5)

CO + DEP backwards

9. POLYP: Growth of Post Office leads to lawfulness - yes, perfection (5)

PO + L + Y + P

10. PARTITION: Screen for role one time, then no-one has to come back (9)

PART + 1 + T + (NO 1 backwards)

11. COMMUNITY CENTRE: Group converge at City Hall, for instance (9,6)


13 . RUNNER-UP: Second athlete with beaker that doesn’t get cold (6-2)


14. TAHITI:  Island that I developed, one concludes (6)

that i anag + I

16. CLASSY: Cold year grips girl with elegance (6)


18. NIGERIAN: I follow river with an inhabitant of Ibadan (8)


21. SWORD OF DAMOCLES: Threat of cross words from same cold phoney (5,2,8)

words anag + OF + same cold anag

23. CARD SHARP: Joker and bright, but she cheats with hands (4,5)

CARD + SHARP 25 IBSEN Composer ends off in B# set? No (5)

IN + B# + SET + NO

26. SMOUS: Small rodent clipped hawker (5)


27. DIAGNOSIS: Revolutionary air to help one’s judgement (9)

(SONG + AID) backwards + 1’S


1. TOPIC: Point to image (5)


2. KILIMANJARO: Mount half a kilogram about one-person vessel (11)

KILOGRAM around (1 + MAN + JAR)

3. AMPOULE: Force a mole up container (7)

a mole up anag

4. APPLIQUE: Granny Smith harbours one question concerning handcraft (8)

APPL (1 + QU) E

5. STRAYS: Wanders but remains about right (6)


6. CHIMERA: Part cockroach, I’m eradicated by fire-breathing monster (7)

cockroaCH I’M ERAdicated contaiment

7. PHI: Starts to pen heartfelt, intimate letter (3)

P + H + I

8. DANDELION: Plant fine cat, reportedly (9)

sounds like dandy lion

12. TRIVIALISES: Belittles 3 X 6 crumpled sail (English, small) (11)

TRI + VI + (sail e s anag)

13. RUCKSACKS: Bags rifles after meeting of rugby players (9)


15. YIZA APHA: Come here and maybe zap A1 hay (4,4)

zap ai hay anag

17. SADISTS: They beat others but are miserable winners (7)

SAD + 1sts

19. EROSION: Wash over No 1’s ore (7)

(NO 1’S ORE) backwards

20. AFRAID: Scared of a tattered state (6)

A + sounds like frayed

22. SINUS: Cavity develops from fault over America (5)


24. ROO: Jumper for limited stable boy (3)