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The history of cryptic crosswords started in the UK.The first British crossword puzzles appeared around 1923 and were purely definitional, but from the mid-1920s they began to include cryptic material: not cryptic clues in the modern sense, but anagrams, classical allusions, incomplete quotations, and other references and wordplay.The Australian puzzle publishers "Lovatts" regularly puts out cryptic crossword puzzle books.In essence, a cryptic clue leads to its answer as long as it is read in the right way.Crosswords were gradually taken up by other newspapers, appearing in the Daily Telegraph from 1925, The Manchester Guardian from 1929 and The Times from 1930.These newspaper puzzles were almost entirely non-cryptic at first and gradually used more cryptic clues, until the fully cryptic puzzle as known today became widespread. Puzzles appeared in The Listener from 1930, but this was a weekly magazine rather than a newspaper, and the puzzles were much harder than the newspaper ones, though again they took a while to become entirely cryptic.

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Easier puzzles often have more relaxed standards, permitting a wider array of clue types, and allowing a little flexibility.Here the composer intends the answer to be "derby", with "hat" the definition, "could be" the anagram indicator, and "be dry" the anagram fodder.But "be" is doing double duty, and this means that any attempt to read the clue cryptically in the form "[definition] [anagram indicator] [fodder]" fails: if "be" is part of the anagram indicator, then the fodder is too short, but if it is part of the fodder, there is no anagram indicator; to be a correct clue it would have to be "Hat could be be dry (5)", which is ungrammatical.The other part (the subsidiary indication, or wordplay) provides an alternative route to the answer (this part would be a second definition in the case of double definition clues).One of the tasks of the solver is to find the boundary between definition and wordplay and insert a mental pause there when reading the clue cryptically.

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