The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

Taking part in Clue-Writing Competitions

The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition is open to all members of The Crossword Centre mailing list on Google Groups. For more information about joining the competition, visit the Login and Registration Help page.

The current competition organiser is Robert Teuton (). Robert sets and regulates the competition each month, but the outcome is decided by your votes.

On this page:

How the competition works
Entering a clue
Checks on clues and comments
Special text in clues and comments
Staying logged in

How the competition works [top]

Each month the organiser chooses a word or phrase, and competitors are invited to write a cryptic clue for it. Competitors are notified by email through the Google Groups mailing list, and the information is also posted on this site. Check the right hand column on the Home page for details of the current competition.

Most months a standard cryptic clue is required, but a few times a year the competition is a ‘special’ involving a different type of clue, such as Printer’s Devilry or Misprints. Instructions are included in the email notification, and can also be found by following the More Information links on this site.

Competition entry closes on a specified date, and a countdown to the closing date is shown on the Home page.

When all the clues are in, the organiser checks them and then opens the voting. All members of CCCWC can vote, whether or not they have entered a clue. Voting also closes on a specified date, and once all the votes are checked, the results are announced.

A prize is awarded for the winning clue each month, and the top ten clues are awarded Annual Honours points, which go towards the Annual results, announced in January.

Entering a clue [top]

To enter a clue, go to the Entry form for the current competition (you will need to log in to open it). Here you enter your clue, and a short explanation of how it works. You can also include comments or information for the competition organisers.

Clues can include certain special characters and italics.

To submit your clue, select the Submit this Clue option and click the Go button. If you’re not ready to submit the clue just yet, you can save it with the Save but don’t submit option. Until you have submitted your clue, the organisers cannot see it, or your comments. You must submit your clue for it to be included in the voting.

Even after the clue is submitted you can change it as many times as you like up to the entry closing date. The clue that is entered for voting is the one that is submitted at the time entry closes.

If you want to withdraw a clue you have submitted, select Save but don’t submit. Your clue will not be included in the voting unless you select Submit this clue again. You can withdraw a clue at any time before the competition entry closes.

If you don’t want to submit a clue but would like to send a note to the organisers (e.g. to explain why you’re not entering this month), write your note in the comments box and submit it, leaving the clue and explanation boxes empty.

The entry form also has a space for you to keep your own notes while working on clues. The notes are saved between competitions, and are not seen by the organisers.

Voting [top]

Once voting is opened for the competition, you can go to the Voting form (you will need to log in to open it). Here you will see a list of all the clues entered for the competition with their explanations, and by each clue ‘rating’ buttons and drop-down list of points you can award it.

Ratings Use the ‘Rate’ column to make a quick assessment of a clue by rating it high or low . This highlights the clue (yellow for high, blue for low). Then use the ‘sort’ link at the top of the column to sort the clues by their rating. Ratings are purely for your use in the judging process and don’t affect points or results. If you don’t want to use ratings, click the link in the adjacent column to hide them.

Points The normal voting pattern is 5 points for the best clue, 4 for the next best, and so on down to 1 point for the fifth best. However, you may award any number of points or half points to any clue, up to a maximum of 15 points in total and a maximum of 5 points for any one clue. You cannot vote for your own clue if you have entered one. Your individual votes are not published in the results.

Merits If you like a clue but it doesn’t quite earn a share of your points you can award it a ‘merit’. This doesn’t confer any points or affect its position in the results, but lets the writer know that their clue was appreciated (if you’re familiar with the Azed competition think of it as an HC award). In the Results page you’ll see the number of merits as well as points awarded to each clue.

Comments You can include comments on individual clues or the competition in general with your votes. The comments are a valuable part of the competition as they give competitors an idea of what sort of clue is and isn’t popular with voters. Your comments will be posted anonymously along with the results. If you refer to a clue in your comments, put the clue number in square brackets (e.g. ‘I like clue [5]’), as this creates a cross-reference between the competition results and comments pages.

To submit your votes, select the Submit these votes option and click the Go button. If you’re not ready to submit your votes just yet you can save them with the Save but don’t submit option. Until you have submitted your votes, the organisers cannot see them, or your comments. You must submit your votes for them to be included in the results.

Even after the votes are submitted you can change them as many times as you like up to the vote closing date. If you select Save but don’t submit after submitting your votes, this effectively withdraws your votes until you select Submit these votes again. The votes that are used in the results are the ones that are submitted at the time voting closes.

Results [top]

As soon as voting has closed and the votes have been checked, the results are published on the Results page. The first prizewinner’s name and clue are published on the Home page with a link to the full results.

On the results page you can see the total points awarded for each clue. The clue-writer’s name is shown if the clue is in the top ten. The results page also has the organiser’s comments and a link to comments from the voters.

Checks on clues and comments [top]

The organisers will review all the clues, comments and votes submitted before they are published. The organisers may disqualify or choose not to publish a clue, comment or vote that does not meet the terms of the competition.

Normally a clue will be disqualified only if it is clearly not intended for publication (e.g. the clue is blank), or if it doesn’t meet the requirements of a ‘special’ competition (e.g. a normal clue is submitted for a Printer’s Devilry competition). The organisers will not make any other judgement on the quality of a clue.

If appropriate and if time allows, the organisers will email the writer of a clue or comment that is being considered for disqualification to give them the opportunity to amend or withdraw it.

Special text in clues and comments [top]

Italics and text formats You can put italic text into your clues and comments. To create italics, use these codes: [i] at the start of the italics and [/i] at the end. So the text ‘this is [i]very[/i] important’ will appear as ‘this is very important’ when the clue or comment is published. Similarly you can write superscripted numbers with the codes [sup] and [/sup] (e.g. ‘word[sup]2[/sup], etc.’ gives ‘word2, etc.’). Other text formats, such as bold and underlined, are not supported.

Special characters You can include accented characters as in ‘déjà vu’, symbols such as ‘€’ and ‘½’, and emoji in your clues and comments. You can include any printable character from the Unicode (UTF-8) character set.

Special punctuation Most punctuation can be typed into your clue, but there are special provisions for dashes and missing-word blanks. The following transformations are made automatically when you submit or save a clue or comment:

Quote the clue This feature is available when you write comments on the voting form. Write a clue number in square brackets in your comments (e.g. ‘I gave 5 points to clue [11]’), and on publication the number will pop up the text of the clue when the reader moves their mouse pointer over it. See the voters’ comments pages for examples.

HTML tags and entities You should not include HTML tags such as <a href="">Visit my site!</a> or <b>bold text</b>, or entities such as &#032; in clues or comments. If you do they will be published literally and not as active HTML elements.

Staying logged in [top]

When you log in to enter a clue or vote, a ‘session’ is generated on the website. This keeps you logged in as you move between pages and submit clues and votes.

If your session appears inactive for a long period (the exact timing can’t be predicted, but at least 20 minutes), the website may log you out. This can happen if e.g. you spend a long time on the voting page composing comments before you submit them.

You can avoid a forced logout by regularly submitting or saving as you vote or compose (a ‘sort’ of the voting page also works).

If you are logged out, instead of the entry or voting page reappearing when you click ‘Go’, you will see the login form. As long as you log in straightaway using this form, any changes you made on the entry or voting page are preserved. But if you navigate away from the login form without logging in, e.g. to the home page, the changes will be lost.



Printer's Devilry

Enter now  |  More information

32 clues entered so far.
4 days to go. Entry closes on
Sunday 29th May.



See the full results

Winner Sanket Anurag Shrivastava

A station manager for the Tube?