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slartibartfast

Cryptic crosswords..

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Cryptic crosswords have always eluded most of the populace, and seeing someone solve the cryptic was always met with feelings of awe and 'how do they even manage to do it'..

i thought that way.. until i started doing them.. and found out that they werent really that difficult. not that easy. but doable.

i used to read the deccan herald crossword in india, and they used to have clues explained the following day. Not completely. but like so -

Joseph. Top man? You must be kidding!

and i'd get a lil frisson of joy when i found it in the newspaper confirming jo-king

there are a few basic types of clues..

here are a few.. these are straight off wikipedia.. and ill get more later from elsewhere..

hopefully we'll get some of you guys up to the stage where you can solve almost or even a full cryptic crossword. Im aiming to get you guys to do the deccan herald crossword as its online. and its clues are straightforward enough. I think other cryptic crossword users cheat a lil bit (or maybe im just not good enough.. which is more likely) - while these are straightforward (by cryptic standards at least)..

just like how well the maths puzzle thread is doing right now.. solving cryptic clues gives your brain a buzz like few other things..

like i felt when i first solved the jo-king clue..

but moving on.... types of clues

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Double definitions

two definition parts make up the clue

Not seeing window covering (5)

Eastern European buff (6)

Let in or let on (5)

Burn milk making hot drink for clergyman (6)

ANSWERS:

Blind

Polish

Admit

Bishop (triple definition of BISHOP ('mulled red wine flavoured with bitter oranges' or 'to burn milk in cooking' as well as the usual meaning)

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Hidden words

When the answer appears in the clue but is contained within one or more words, it is hidden. For example:

Found ermine, deer hides damaged (10)

gives UNDERMINED, which means (cryptically at least) 'damaged' and can be found as part of 'Found ermine deer'. The word 'hides' is used to mean 'contains,' but in the surface sense suggests 'pelts'.

Possible indicators of a hidden clue are 'in part', 'partially', 'in', 'within', 'hides', 'conceals', 'some', and 'held by'.

Another example:

Introduction to do-gooder canine (3)

gives DOG, which is the first part of, or 'introduction to', the word 'do-gooder', and means 'canine'.

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Reversals

A word that gets turned around to make another is a reversal. For example:

Returned beer fit for a king (5)

The answer is REGAL. 'Lager' (i.e., 'beer') is 'returned' to make regal.

Other indicator words include 'receding', 'in the mirror', 'going the wrong way', 'returns', 'reverses' 'to the left' or 'left' (for across clues), and 'rising', 'overturned' or 'mounted' or 'comes up' (for down clues).

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Hidden backwards

Sometimes the above two clue types are combined. A word may be hidden backwards, such as in the clue:

Cruel to turn part of internet torrid (6)

The answer to this clue is ROTTEN. The phrase 'to turn' indicates 'to reverse,' and 'part of' suggests a piece of 'internet torrid'.

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'Charade' clues

Here the answer is formed by joining individually clued words to make a larger word (namely, the answer).

For example:

Outlaw leader managing money (7)

The answer is BANKING formed by BAN for 'outlaw' and KING for 'leader'. The definition is 'managing money'. With this example, the words go next to each other in the clue as they do in the answer--it isn't specifically indicated. However, where the parts go in relation to others is sometimes indicated with words such as 'against', 'after', 'on', 'with' or (in a down clue) 'above'.

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Containers

A container clue puts one set of letters inside another. So:

Apostle's friend outside of university (4)

gives PAUL ('apostle'), by placing 'pal' ('friend') outside of 'U' ('university').

Other container indicators are 'inside', 'over', 'around', 'clutching', 'enters', and the like.

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Anagrams

An anagram is a rearrangement of a certain section of the clue to form the answer. This is usually indicated by words such as 'strange', 'bizarre', 'muddled', 'wild', 'drunk', or any other term indicating change. One example:

Chaperone shredded corset (6)

gives ESCORT, which means chaperone and is an anagram of corset, indicated by the word shredded.

Anagram clues are characterized by an indicator word adjacent to a phrase that has the same number of letters as the answer. The indicator tells the solver that there is an anagram they need to solve in order to work out the answer. Indicators come either before or after the letters to be anagrammed. In an American cryptic, only the words given in the clue may be anagrammed; in some older puzzles, the words to be anagrammed may be clued and then anagrammed. So in this clue:

Chew honeydew fruit (5)

Chew is the anagram indicator; honeydew clues melon, which is to be anagrammed; and fruit is the definition for the answer, LEMON. This kind of clue is called an indirect anagram, which in the vast majority of cryptic crosswords are not used, ever since they were criticised by 'Ximenes' in his 1966 book 'On the Art of the Crossword'. Minor exception: Simple abbreviations may be used to spice up the process, e.g., 'Husband, a most eccentric fellow' (6) for THOMAS, where the anagram is made from A, MOST, and H = husband.

Anagram indicators, among the thousands possible, include: abstract, absurd, alien, alternative, at sea, awkward, bad, barmy, blend, blow, break, careless, chaotic, clumsy, contrived, convert, corrupt, develop, doctor, eccentric, engineer, fabricate, fake, fix, foolish, fudge, ground, hammer, hybrid, jostle, knead, loose, maybe, messy, mix, mutant, new, novel, odd, order, out, outrageous, peculiar, poor, questionable, remodel, resort, rough, sort, strange, style, tricky, troubled, twist, unconventional, unsound, vary.

It is common for the setter to use a juxtaposition of anagram indicator and anagram that form a common phrase in order to make the clue appear as much like a 'normal' sentence or phrase as possible. For example:

Lap dancing friend (3)

uses dancing as the indicator as it fits cohesively with lap to give the solution, PAL.

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Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings, such as 'night' and 'knight'. Homophone clues always have an indicator word or phrase that has to do with phonetics, such as 'reportedly', 'they say', 'utterly', 'vocal', 'to the audience', 'by the sound of it', and 'is heard'.

An example of a homophone clue is

We hear twins shave (4)

which is a clue for PARE, which means 'shave' and is a homophone of pair, or 'twins'. The homophone is indicated by 'we hear'.

If the two words are the same length, the clue should be phrased in such a way that only one of them can be the answer. This is usually done by having the homophone indicator adjacent to the word that is not the answer; therefore, in the previous example, 'we hear' was adjacent to 'twins' and the answer was pare rather than pair. The indicator could come between the words if they were of different lengths and the enumeration was given, such as in the case of 'right' and 'rite'.

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Initialisms

In an initialism clue, the first letters of part of the clue are put together to give the answer.

An example of an initialism:

Initially amiable person eats monkey (3)

The answer would be APE, which is a type of monkey. 'Initially' signals that you must take the first letters of 'amiable person eats'--'ape'.

Another example would be:

At first, actor needing new identity emulates orphan in musical theatre (5)

The answer would be ANNIE, the name of the most famous orphan in musical theatre. This is obtained from the first letters of 'actor needing new identity emulates'.

Words that indicate initialisms also include 'firstly' and 'to start'.

It is possible to have initialisms just for certain parts of the clue. It is also possible to employ the same technique to the end of words. For example:

Old country lady went round Head Office initially before end of day (7)

The answer would be DAHOMEY, which used to be a kingdom in Africa (an 'old country'). Here, we take the first letters of only the words 'Head Office' (ho) and we take the 'end' of the word 'day' (y). The letters of the word 'dame', meaning 'lady', are then made to go around the letters 'ho' to form Dahomey

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Initialisms

In an initialism clue, the first letters of part of the clue are put together to give the answer.

An example of an initialism:

Initially amiable person eats monkey (3)

The answer would be APE, which is a type of monkey. 'Initially' signals that you must take the first letters of 'amiable person eats'--'ape'.

Another example would be:

At first, actor needing new identity emulates orphan in musical theatre (5)

The answer would be ANNIE, the name of the most famous orphan in musical theatre. This is obtained from the first letters of 'actor needing new identity emulates'.

Words that indicate initialisms also include 'firstly' and 'to start'.

It is possible to have initialisms just for certain parts of the clue. It is also possible to employ the same technique to the end of words. For example:

Old country lady went round Head Office initially before end of day (7)

The answer would be DAHOMEY, which used to be a kingdom in Africa (an 'old country'). Here, we take the first letters of only the words 'Head Office' (ho) and we take the 'end' of the word 'day' (y). The letters of the word 'dame', meaning 'lady', are then made to go around the letters 'ho' to form Dahomey

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Deletions

Deletions consist of beheadments, curtailments, and internal deletions. In beheadments, a word loses its first letter. In curtailments, it loses its last letter, and internal deletions remove an inner letter, such as the middle one.

An example of a beheadment:

Beheaded celebrity is sailor (3)

The answer would be TAR, another word for 'sailor', which is a 'celebrity', or star, without the first letter.

Other indicator words of beheadment include 'don't start', 'topless', and 'after the first'.

An example of curtailment:

Shout, 'Read!' endlessly (3)

The answer is BOO. If you ignore the punctuation, a book is a 'read', and book 'endlessly' is boo, a 'shout'.

Other indicators include 'nearly' and 'unfinished'.

An example of internal deletion:

Challenging sweetheart heartlessly (6)

The answer is DARING, which means 'challenging', and is darling without its middle letter, or 'heartlessly'.

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Combination clues

A clue may employ more than one method of wordplay. For example:

Illustrious baron returns in pit (9)

The answer is HONORABLE. 'Baron' 'returns', or is reversed, and put inside 'pit' or hole, to make honorable, or 'illustrious'.

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'& lit.'

A rare clue type is the '& lit.' clue, standing for 'and literally so'. In this case, the entire clue is both a definition and a cryptic clue. In some publications this is always indicated by an exclamation mark at the end of the clue. For example:

God incarnate, essentially! (4)

The answer is ODIN. The Norse god Odin is hidden in 'god incarnate', as clued by 'essentially', but the definition of Odin is also the whole clue, as Odin is essentially a God incarnate.

This satisfies the '& lit.' clue definition but as read is clearly a cryptic clue. Another example:

Spoil vote! (4)

would give the answer VETO; in the cryptic sense, spoil works as an anagram indicator for vote, while the whole clue is, with a certain amount of license allowed to crossword setters, a definition.

Another example:

e.g. Origin of goose (3)

gives the answer EGG. Geese find their origins in eggs, so the whole clue gives 'egg', but the clue can also be broken down: e.g. loses its full stops to give eg, followed by the first letter (i.e. the 'origin') of the word goose--g--to make egg.

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Cryptic Definition

Here the clue appears to say one thing, but with a slight shift of viewpoint it says another. For example:

A word of praise? (8)

would give the answer ALLELUIA, a word used by Christians to praise God, but not what first springs to mind on reading the clue. Notice the question mark - this is often (though by no means always) used by compilers to indicate this sort of clue is one where you need to interpret the words in a different fashion. The way that a clue reads as an ordinary sentence is called its surface reading and is often used to disguise the need for a different interpretation of the clue's component words.

Another one might be:

The flower of London? (6)

which gives THAMES, a flow-er of London. Here, the surface reading suggests a flower, which disguises the fact that the name of a river is required.

This type of clue rarely appears in American cryptics but is common in British and Canadian cryptics. It's almost certainly the oldest kind of cryptic clue: cryptic definitions appeared in the UK newspaper puzzles in the late '20s and early '30s that mixed cryptic and plain definition clues and evolved into fully cryptic crosswords

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-Eu posted a link tothis deccan herald crossword.

so maybe this could be a good start

some of these i wont be able to translate as im not really that good.. but if theres anyone who can help.. id be very grateful..

ACROSS

3 Be loyal or there?ll be punishment! (5)

STICK - means be loyal and also to get the stick

8 Italian name for Mr Abramovich (5)

Easy enough - ROMAN

10 Correct girth! (5)

RIGHT - The word correct means the word has to be altered or 'corrected' - i.e. girth altered/corrected gives RIGHT and right also means correct .. such a nice clue and gives you a lil quaver of joy when you get it right..

11 Uncle back from Massachusetts (3)

SAM - i.e. Uncle Sam and back from means reverse the letters i.e. reverse the first three of Massachussets (you know its the first three because the clue says its a 3 letter word)

12 Fear of a deity, I see (5)

PAN-IC - Fear means panic, PAN is a roman deity, I see is IC so PAN-IC

13 In Spain, a sportsman, but a cad at heart (7)

PI-CAD-OR - Spanish word for bullfighter. At heart, means you insert the word cad exactly in the centre

15 Does it taste like steak mince? (5)

SKATE - SKATE is a type of fish. And mince is another clue (like correct was before to alter / rearrange the word i.e. steak) the taste clue is towards an edible item too

18 Hole in a cooking apple (3)

GAP - easy one this. the word in or inside means look for the clue in the two words.. usually adjoining them both in this case cookinG APple

19 Shorten a letter to the city (6)

L-Essen - Lessen means shorten. L is a letter. Essen is a city.

21 We all have places to worship (7)

TEMPLES - places to worship

22 Soup-stirring music? (4)

OPUS - musical OPUS . stirring is another clue (like correct and mince) to rearrange soup

23 Drink better in the absence of a teetotaler (4)

BE-ER - Better minus TT (which is short for teetotaler. there are a few short forms that need to be memorised i.e. roman numerals, other acronyms like royal artillery being RA etc etc)

24 Be judged and reprimanded (7)

BE-RATED - be rated and berated

26 Not quite the best place in antiquity? (6)

THEBES - Ancient place. not quite / almost THEBESt

29 French born (3)

NEE - french word for born

31 Having heard amiss, rushed like mad! (5)

HARED - amiss another clue to rearrange, correct, mince, stir heard. hared also means rushed like a mad march hare

32 The ?F? word in dancing (7)

FOXTROT - straightforward

34 Poplar is like an enclosed area (5)

AS-PEN - (aspen - close relative of poplars. almost alike) like an AS enclosed area PEN ergo AS-PEN

35 Drink up doggedly? (3)

LAP - Hows a dog drinks

36 Language of the Chindits (5)

HINDI - Included in the word

37 Such charges can be very damaging (5)

DEPTH - depth charges are a type of explosive. if my commando comics serves me wright its what ships used to drop into the sea to kill submarines

38 In the market, possibly one?s last pound? (5)

STAL-L - stalls are found in a market. Possibly is a clue to rearrange last (STAL) L i.e. £ is short for pound

ACROSS: 3, Stick 8, Roman 10, Right 11, Sam 12, Pan-ic 13, Pi-cad-or 15, Skate 18, Cap 19, L-Essen 21, Temples 22, Opus 23, Be-er 24, Be-rated 26, Thebes 29, Nee 31, Hared 32, Foxtrot 34, As-pen 35, Lap 36, Hindi 37, Depth 38, StaI-L.

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1 It?s used in varnishes, etc., and making irons (5)

ROSIN - Type of varnish and rearrange irons

2 When a mare gets old, there are compensations (7)

DAM-AGES - DAM type of mare AGES gets old DAMAGES = compensations

4 Charge a new rate (a rip-off?) (4)

TEAR - new means rearrange rate.. tear means to rip off.. and the new rate is a ripe off

5 Dire moments when a tragic end crops up (6)

C-RISES - Tragic end is C (last letter) and Crops up is rises and CRISES are dire moments

6 The excitements of soccer? (5)

KICKS - From 'just for kicks'

7 Why we?re told half the team is Caucasian (5)

WHI-TE - told or heard means sounds like why sounds like WHI, half the team is TE and caucasian means white

9 Protective cover for a machine part (3)

MAC - is a raincoat (macintosh) and mac is part of machine

12 Flowers forming food for father! (7)

POP-PIES poppies is flowers and POP means father and PIES mean food

14 Engineering work to beaver away at (3)

DAM- dam is an engineering work and beavers build dams

16 Required some pasta half cooked! (5)

AS-KED some of pasta is AS, and half cooked is KED

17 Perhaps double the work in bookkeeping (5)

ENTRY double entry, double means double meaning and entry is a term in accounting

19 Asian country the French have an exclusion on? (7)

LE-BAN-ON lebanon is an asian country french means LE exclusion is a BAN on means ON

20 Is down and out in the Scottish borders(5)

S-OUT-H scottish borders are the two extreme letters in the word i.e. S and H, and out in means insert it in between the scottish borders and down means south

21 Could you plant it in a tub with a bit of water? (5)

TUB-ER tuber is a plant and TUB with a bit of ER from water

23 Vegetable name applied to insects (7)

BEET-LES beet is a vegetable and beatles are insects

24 Accommodation a chap?s occupying in part (6)

B-ED'S-IT bedsit is an accomodation ED is short for edward (chap) and the S is added as a plural, and they all (EDS) fit into part (BIT)

25 Stately nickname for an American! (3)

TEX short for texas

27 A half portion; only a bit left, as is customary (5)

HA-BIT a portion of half is HA and add BIT and habits are customary

28 They?re pretty strung up! (5)

BEADS - are strung up when theyre worn

30 A letter to post, perhaps, for the old people (5)

C-OPTS perhaps means rearrange post. letter is C and COPTS are an ancient christian race

32 Evil thing to do to a tree? (4)

FELL of course its an evil thing to do to a tree

33 Rhythmic performance by an artist at the piano (3)

RA-P Short forms usually used rhythmic is R, artist is A and piano is usually P.

DOWN: 1, Rosin 2, Dam-ages 4, Tear 5, C-rises 6, Kicks 7, Whi-te 9, Mac 12, Pop-pies 14, Dam 16, As-ked 17, Entry 19, Le-ban-on 20, S-out-h 21, Tub-er 23, Beet-Les 24, B-Ed?s-it 25, Tex 27, Ha-bit 28, Beads 30, C-opts 32, Fell 33, RA-p.

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There, thats all explained. Hope it gives you guys a decent enough explanation and background so's now you know what dem cryptic crossoword solvers are getting up to.

Id really recommend doing the deccan herald cryptic everyday.

its one of the easiest around. and you can actually complete it fully with just a few days practice.

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There, thats all explained. Hope it gives you guys a decent enough explanation and background so's now you know what dem cryptic crossoword solvers are getting up to.

Id really recommend doing the deccan herald cryptic everyday.

its one of the easiest around. and you can actually complete it fully with just a few days practice.

You have brought back fond memories from bygone days.I used to buy Deccan Herald just for the cross word. Its been ages now since I have looked at one but will do so today itself. Thanks eternally

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I am giving a try

1. Accross -Spade 4. Down - End

Am very poor at this.

Is this right.

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I do the Guardian, or the Scotsman ones when I have an idle moment (or many).

My favorite was 'headless rats elope northwards, with this as their guide?'

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How many letters, Chris?

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okie

ACROSS

1 Foam coming forth unexpectedly (5)

6 Of money, cheat with a cry of distaste (5)

9 Polish up a picture of the river (7)

10 Strong enough to take the short way out (5)

11 Very apparent to many a listener (5)

12 Highest possible rank or status (5)

13 Interrupts someone giving his address (7)

15 Angry maybe, but akin to being kind (3)

17 Shows humanity (4)

18 Possibly buries discoloured tissue (6)

19 Men involved in the noble art? (5)

20 Club motorist? (6)

22 A letter from Greece (4)

24 Some newsagents look tired (3)

25 It's faster with a motor (7)

26 Dump by the wayside (5)

27 Runner with a name for being highly smashed ! (5)

28 Beast with a waterside joint (5)

29 Say no men can possibly hold it back! (7)

30 Stayed sound and sober (5)

31 The price of thoughts? (5)

2 Sooner than bring Romeo heartbreak (6)

3 Big boxes containing very personal possessions? (6)

4 So, moving from the south, one finds shelter (3)

5 Does he keep his distance? (5)

6 Their orders are patiently obeyed (7)

7 Commonly ending up in solitary (4)

8 Wine one is mad about at middle-age? (6)

12 Hesitate to be awfully rude about a military leader (5)

13 The bosses are a shade different (5)

14 Rugged Scot, possibly stony? (5)

15 Being the fixer, I have to be in the right (5)

16 Don't allow a deb to be hard-hearted (5)

18 A nice place to be stranded! (5)

19 Detectives are indeed very positive! (7)

21 Too much noise on court? (6)

22 Ox-like, bigheaded and sheepish (6)

23 Sort of bowling one can figure to fix? (6)

25 They can cope with costs cannily (5)

26 Not a girl's full name (4)

28 Hot work at the dance (3)

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18 across [highlight]BRUISE[/highlight] (rearrange buries because the possibly hints at a rearrangement that means the rest of the clue i.e. discoloured tissue)

last word of bruise is e which is the second letter in 16 down

i.e. Don't allow a deb to be hard-hearted - deb (hard hearted would mean the heart/center of

hard which is ar i.e. the middle two letters) and you get [highlight]DEBAR[/highlight] which means Dont allow

second last letter in 16 down DEBAR is A.. which is the last letter in 22 across - a letter from Greece which probably is a four letter word from the greek alphabet that ends in A and we have [highlight]BETA, ZETA or IOTA..[/highlight]

that means 23 down starts with a T and is -23 Sort of bowling one can figure to fix? (6) figure is ten pin can mean fix and [highlight]TENPIN[/highlight] is a sort of bowling (not too sure of this but reasonably confident)

13 down The bosses are a shade different (5) would be make shade different (i.e. rearrange shade to get the clue) i.e. [highlight]HEADS[/highlight] are bosses

fourth letter in HEADS is D which is the beginning letter of 20 across Club motorist? (6)

a motorist is a [highlight]DRIVER[/highlight].. and a driver is also a type of club (in golf) (nice lil pun there)

the fifth letter in HEADS is S which is the beginning letter of 24 across Some newsagents look tired (3) i.e. some part of newsagents means tired which would be [highlight]SAG[/highlight] i.e. new-sag-ents

21 down Too much noise on court? (6) and from the above two clues we know that the first two letters are R and A.. and too much noise is a [highlight]RACKET[/highlight] which is also used on court

30 across Stayed sound and sober (5) would mean from racket above.. the second letter is T.. the clue seems to point to a word that sounds like stayed and means sober i.e. [highlight]STAID[/highlight]

14 Rugged Scot, possibly stony? (5) we have the last two letters as IG.. so its a five letter word meaning rugged, stony and with possibly scottish connotations.. what about [highlight]CRAIG[/highlight].. and that seems right.. sure a google search would set me right.. but im reasonably sure that a craig is some sort of rock formation..

13 across Interrupts someone giving his address (7) first letter H third letter C.. which gives H _ C _ _ _ _ which would probably be [highlight]HECKLES[/highlight] but not sure how it fits into the clue.. its seems too straight forward..

17 across Shows humanity (4) nice one here.. we have E _ R _ and to err is human so its [highlight]ERRS[/highlight]

1 across Foam coming forth unexpectedly (5) unexpectedly looks like a clue to rearrange forth to give [highlight]FROTH[/highlight] which means foam

3 down Big boxes containing very personal possessions? (6) and we have T _ _ _ K S and that would be [highlight]TRUNKS[/highlight] (which again looks too straightforward.. unless a trunk is a personal posession for an elephant)(well at least it means heckles is right)

11 across Very apparent to many a listener (5) many is usually a reference to a number and usually the roman numerals and theres not too many i think theres C, M, X, L, V and I.. in this case very apparent means [highlight]CLEAR[/highlight] and C and L are many and a listener is a ear

gotta split.. but will get back with solving the rest.. if any of you guys can fill the rest of the boxes and give a brief explanation.. 'twould be much appreciated..

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